American Combat Planes of the 20th Century is an incredible reference for anyone who is interested in any American Combat Plane History.   There are 758 pages and 1700 b/w photos in this substantial labor of love by Ray Wagner, who has been passionately researching and writing about aircraft for over 50 years.   Whether you are already familiar with his past works, or just discovering this accomplished author for the first time... This is the book that you've been waiting for!

If you'd like to see the book's   Table of Contents ... Click here.   You can also browse the entire   Index Section   to get an idea of the extensive amount of information that is covered within this book.

Search our site for other combat planes.
A- 1 Eaton     A- 4 Skyhawk     A- 6 & A- 7     Air Weapons     AV- 8 to A- 10     A- 20 Havoc     A- 22 Martin Maryland     A- 23 Martin Baltimore     A- 24 Douglas     A- 26 Douglas Invader     Attack Planes     B- 2A, F-111, F-117 Stealth    B- 17 Flying Fortress     B- 24 Liberator     B- 25 North American     B- 26 Marauder     B- 29 Superfortress     B- 32 Dominator     B- 35 Flying Wing     B- 36     B- 47 Stratojet     B- 50 Boeing     B- 52 Stratofortress     B- 57 Canberra     B- 58 Hustler     Biplanes     Biplanes, Army Pursuits     Bombers, B- 70 to Stealth     Bombers, First Big     Curtiss Falcon     CO- 1     DH- 4 De Havilland     F3D- Douglas Skyknight    F3H- McDonnell Demon    F4D- 1 Skyray    F4F Grumman Wildcats    F- 4U Corsair    F6F Grumman    F7F Grumman    F7U Vought    F9F G. Cougar    F9F G. Panther    F- 16 Fighting Falcon    F- 84     F- 86 Sabre    F- 89 to F-94    F- 100 to F-108    First Fighters    Flying Boats    GAX    Iraq to Afghanistan    Martin Bombers    Missile Era Fighters    Navy Fighers    Navy Flying Boats    O- 2 Douglas     P- 35 Seversky     P- 36 to 42 Curtiss     P- 38 Lightning    P- 39 Airacobra    P- 40 Line    P- 47 Thunderbolt    P- 51 Mustang Fighter    P- 61 Black Widow    P- 63 Kingcobra    P- 79 to P-81    P- 82 Twin Mustang    SB2C Helldiver    TBF-TBM Avenger    Thomas-Morse    Torpedo Planes    V- 11 Vultee    XB -28    XP -48 / 77   

Bombers from B-70 to Stealth

XB-70, FB-111A

Page 1

The XB-70
SAC commander General Curtis LeMay recommended on ?October 14, 1954, that a supersonic replacement for the B-52 be designed, even before Boeing’s Stratofortress entered service. On November 8, 1955, both Boeing and North American received letter contracts to design a WS-110A strategic piloted weapons system. The resulting proposals seemed impractical until the appearance of the “compression-lift” theory, which stated that the aircraft shock waves would provide additional lift in supersonic flight. North American’s design was favored on December 23, 1957, and a contract for the XB-70 signed January 24, 1958. XB-70A Valkyrie taking off NORTH AMERICAN XB-70A

The XB-70 Valkyrie was designed to cruise at Mach 3 over 75,000 feet. Such a tremendous advance in performance required both an entirely new aircraft configuration and a radical change in construction. Since the temperatures of up to 600 degrees F encountered on these flights were too much for the usual aluminum alloys, about 69.5 percent of the airframe weight was of welded steel honeycomb sandwich and 9.5 percent was titanium for the forward structure.

Prominent features were the canard foreplane near the long nose, delta wing with tips folding down for stability in supersonic flight, and twin rudders. Six General Electric YJ93-GE-3s with continuous afterburning and two intakes with controlled air induction were mounted under the center section. Boron fuel had been considered, but was replaced by JP-6 in August 1959, and inflight refueling was provided.

Continuous review of future manned-aircraft requirements for the USAF caused many disturbances in the program. While SAC wanted a manned bomber, President Eisenhower and his Defense Department officials said that bomber-penetration chances had been reduced by surface-to-air missile progress, but no defense against our intercontinental and submarine-launched ballistic missiles was in sight. GENERAL DYNAMICS FB-111A with AGM-69A

Expensive bomber programs were becoming un­necessary to deter a nuclear attack. Eisenhower said that “speaking of bombers in the missile age was like talking about bows and arrows in the gunpowder era.”*

The conflict among the DoD, Air Force, and Congress swung back and forth. The first cancellation on December 1, 1959, cut back the program to one prototype, so that the next fiscal year’s budget could be balanced, but Congress restored funding for a 265 million dollar program in October 1960. GENERAL DYNAMICS FB-111A

However, on March 28, 1961, the new President, John F. Kennedy, also recommended that the program be limited to research prototypes and considered development as a weapons system unnecessary and economically ­unjustifiable. Three XB-70 prototypes authorized October 4, 1961, were to have no weapons provisions and only two – not four – crewmen in the pressurized nose with an ASQ-28 Bomb Navigation Subsystem.

Although bays for 25,000 pounds of munitions were provided, guns were no longer part of American bomber designs, as hostile air-to-air missiles were the main threat. But the Valkyrie would not become a bomber, but only an “air vehicle to demonstrate airworthiness in a sustained Mach 3 high altitude environment.”

An RS-70 (reconnaissance-strike) version was offered to introduce a capability not available in missiles, but the faster SR-71 Lockheed secret development reduced the RS-70’s appeal. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara disagreed with General LeMay’s advocacy of manned bomb­ers and the third prototype was canceled on February 15, 1964, along with rejection of an Air Force request for 60 RS-70s to be operational in 1969. Nearly four years behind the 1958 schedule, the first XB-70A rolled out of the Palmdale, California, factory with much ceremony on May 11, 1964, and was flown on September 21.

The refined second prototype flown July 17, 1965, was destroyed by a midair collision with an F-104N on June 8, 1966. The first XB-70A made its 83rd and last flight February 4, 1969, to the Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. Over $1.5 billion had been expended on the B-70 program.

[ B- 24 / Home ]   [Continue to next page]

Want information on other Combat Planes?   Search the rest of our site.


© Copyright 2010   AmericanCombatPlanes.com   All rights reserved.