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Friday, May 14, 2021

B-58 Hustler Supersonic Nuclear Bomber

 During the first years of the Cold War, the United States Air Force's Strategic Air Command had a simple defense strategy. If the conflict ever turned hot, they would have in their ranks fighter and nuclear bomber planes so fast that they would be uncatchable.

It was envisioned that these innovative aircraft would be able to dash into the Soviet Union and China territories at speeds and altitudes that enemy missiles wouldn't be able to reach. To achieve this, they needed an incredibly fast plane with a radical design that could give one hell of a show. As an answer to their needs, Convair gave them the world's first operational supersonic bomber, the B-58 "Hustler."

The Hustler was the model plane for a new era of fantastic aircraft. With its shiny, attention-grabbing armor, sleek delta-wing design, roaring takeoff, and notorious sonic boom, the B-58 was thought to be an ideal projection of American power and strength.

Numerous world records were set by B-58s, some of which still stand. But 22% of the built Hustlers were destroyed in unfortunate incidents. Even the most skilled pilots were terrified to fly it. And the Soviet Air Force threatened its future in combat before it even began. In the Hustlers' case, anti-aircraft technology improved faster than its supersonic speed.

VIDEO HERE  (13 minutes)

13 comments:

  1. If I recollect correct, they were considering renovating those in the bone yard as an alternative to the B-1

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  2. Best looking bomber ever. It’s fuel usage and the Cuban missile crisis did it in. We agreed not to stage nukes at it’s previous bases and with that, they’d of had to slow down and refuel over Soviet territory. Not a good plan if you want to make it back home. Still a bad ass plane, though! Eod1sg Ret

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  3. The B-58's only operational strategic flight was a Quick Check recon mission over northern Cuba during the Missile Crisis.

    Fucking magnificent aircraft, second only to the XB-70 in sheer beauty.

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  4. Knew a Hustler pilot. He loved being able to fly faster and farther than fighter pilots. He said nothing ever flew as nice.

    He wasn't scared or terrified. It took balls to fly it. Normal B-47, B-36 and B-52 pilots couldn't handle it. The plane was not a glorified trash hauler, but a high performance hot rod.

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  5. Read George Holt Jr. book, The B-58 Blunder. I worked on them in the late 60's, Bomb/Nav tech.

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  6. AKA the Vindicator if you like old movies. They were far ahead of their time. With the computers of today and fly by wire avionics, it would be one hell of a plane.
    What really did them in was ICBMs.

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  7. Until I understood (very basically) the idea of relativity, things like this kept me up at night: “ The forward muzzle velocity of the 20mm T171 cannon was lower than the forward velocity of the B-58 when it was flying at Mach 2. So relative to the ground, the cannon round would be moving backwards when leaving the muzzle!”

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  8. Nice video! I used to hear those suckers flying over Arlington, Texas in 1961 & 62. Often they were going supersonic. That was a thrill for a high-school kid! One thing they left out of the video was the storied rear gatling-gun. I don't remember a lot about it (I guess it's on the web, though) but I knew one of the engineers involved with it. -Joely

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  9. My dad was a navigator on one. From comments he dropped when I was an adult, if the balloon ever went up they weren't planning on refueling but a one way flight with E&E after dropping the bomb. "Can do" was their motto, not you have to come back.

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  10. Meanwhile all these decades later, we have squadrons of B-52's still flown by flight crews twice as young as the aircraft. But the Hustler was a hot rod. Iron Balls McGinty approved.

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  11. WR loadout on those B-58s with 2-component pod: 1XB53 (9MT) and 4XB43 (4MT total). Quite a punch.

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  12. Was the plane used in the movie "Fail Safe".

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  13. There is one at the Grissom Air Museum in Indiana. Gorgeous aircraft.

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