Convair YB-60

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YB-60
The Convair YB-60.jpg
YB-60 prototype, Convair B-36F-5 is in the background.
RoleStrategic bomber
ManufacturerConvair
First flight18 April 1952
StatusCanceled 14 August 1952
Number built2
Program costUS$14.3 million for program[1]
Developed fromConvair B-36
 
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YB-60
The Convair YB-60.jpg
YB-60 prototype, Convair B-36F-5 is in the background.
RoleStrategic bomber
ManufacturerConvair
First flight18 April 1952
StatusCanceled 14 August 1952
Number built2
Program costUS$14.3 million for program[1]
Developed fromConvair B-36

The Convair YB-60 was an American experimental bomber prototype for the United States Air Force canceled on 14 August 1952.

Design and development[edit]

On 25 August 1950, Convair issued a formal proposal for a swept-winged version of the B-36 with all-jet propulsion. The United States Air Force was sufficiently interested that on 15 March 1951, the USAF authorized Convair to convert two B-36Fs (49-2676 and 49-2684) as B-36Gs. Since the aircraft was so radically different from the existing B-36, the designation was soon changed to YB-60.

The YB-60 had 72% parts commonality with its piston-engined predecessor. The fuselages of the two aircraft were largely identical, although the YB-60 had a longer, pointed nose with a needle-like instrument probe instead of the B-36's rounded nose; its tail surfaces were swept to match the wings and a wedge-shaped insert added at the wing root. The swept wings also used many B-36 parts.

The YB-60's unofficial competitor for an Air Force contract was Boeing's B-52 Stratofortress. Convair's proposal was substantially cheaper than Boeing's since it involved modifying an existing design rather than starting from scratch. Like the B-52, it was powered by eight Pratt & Whitney J57-P-3 turbojets mounted in pairs in four pods suspended below the wing.

Instead of the B-36's crew of 15, the YB-60's crew numbered only ten. Production B-60s were to have defensive armament similar to those of the B-36.

Convair YB-60 serial number 49-2676 made its maiden flight on 18 April 1952, piloted by Beryl Erickson. The Boeing YB-52 beat the Convair aircraft into the air by three days. The YB-60 was approximately 100 mph (160 km/h) slower than the YB-52 and also had severe handling problems. It carried a heavier bomb load—72,000 lb (33,000 kg) against 43,000 lb (20,000 kg) for the YB-52—but the Air Force did not see the need for the extra capacity given the YB-60's other drawbacks. Later "big belly" modifications increased the B-52's bomb load to 60,000 pounds (27,000 kg).

The flight test programs were canceled on 20 January 1953 with 66 flying hours accumulated, and a second prototype was never completed. The airframe was built, but it was not fitted with engines or much equipment. Since Convair completed their prototype contract satisfactorily, both YB-60s were formally accepted by the Air Force in 1954. The operational aircraft never flew again, and both airframes were scrapped by July.

Specifications (YB-60)[edit]

A YB-60 in flight.

General characteristics

Performance

Armament

See also[edit]

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists

References[edit]

  1. ^ Knaack, Marcelle Size (1988). Post-World War II bombers, 1945-1973. Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-16-002260-6. 

External links[edit]