Convair B-36 variants

Convair B-36 Variants

Convair B-36 variants

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Convair B-36 variants began in 1941 with the XB-36 to meet the strategic needs of the US Army Air Forces; then later becoming United States Air Force with its Strategic Air Command. In 1948, the B-36 immediately becoming a mainstay of the American nuclear deterrent. It underwent a number of design changes before being withdrawn from service in 1959. It was also well suited to high altitude very long range reconnaissance missions, and several alterations were made with this mission profile in mind.


In 1941, the fall of Britain to a German invasion seemed imminent. If the United States joined the war against the Axis Powers, the fall of Britain would leave no bases in Europe from which the United States Army Air Corps (AAC) could bomb Germany. This possibility led to AAC to seek a bomber of truly intercontinental range. On 1941 April 11, the AAC issued a design competition for an aircraft with a 275 mph (445 km/h) cruising speed, a service ceiling of 45,000 ft (14,000 m), capable of delivering 10,000 lb (4,500 kg) of bombs to targets 5,000 miles (8,000 km) away. At the time, these requirements far exceeded the best technology available.

On 1941 November, the United States Army Air Forces signed a contract for two experimental aircraft under the designation XB-36, based on design studies previously submitted by Consolidated Aircraft Corporation. A few days later, the Engineering Division at Wright Field decided that Consolidated's six-engine design, with all engines...
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