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    Boeing B-47 Stratojet Medium / Heavy Bomber Aircraft

    The Boeing B-47 scored many firsts in the realm of high-altitude jet-powered bomber aircraft - including a tricycle-style undercarriage configuration.

     Updated: 3/24/2017; Authored By Dan Alex; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    The swept-wing B-47 Stratojet produced by Boeing was a milestone in American bomber design in several ways. The system pioneered the now-traditional bomber layout found on many of today's bomber aircraft and offered up performance capabilities unheard of before then. As a post-war/Cold War aircraft design, the system was the epitome of what the American military sought in terms of high-level penetration systems capable of nuclear strikes deep within enemy territory.

    The XB-47 was proposed as early as 1945 - the final year of World War 2 - and beat out a notable flying wing design proposed by the Northrop aviation firm. Two XB-47 prototypes were constructed as SN 46-065 and 46-066. Each was initially powered by 6 x Allison J35-GE-7 turbojet engines slung under each swept-back wing with both prototypes eventually receiving General Electric J47-GE-3 turbojets. The engines were split into pairings and single mounts as individual nacelles. The aircraft was crewed by three personnel made up of two pilots and a bombardier. From there, the first XB-47 achieved first flight in 1947.

    With its immense size, the B-47 made use of no fewer than eighteen rocket-propelled boosters to help it achieve flight, resulting in a dazzling display of power and smoke upon take-off. To decrease runway landing distances, the Stratojet deployed a drag chute to significantly slow the airframe down upon landing - a practice utilized even today in modern aircraft types. An impressive inherent range meant that the B-47 was ideally suited to forward and rearward operating bases across Europe and the United States. In an age before accurate surface-to-air missile systems became the norm, the B-47 was really only threatened by the latest in the delta wing interceptors of the Soviet Union. As such, since the rear portion of any bomber was susceptible to attack from interceptors, the B-47 mounted two remote-controlled 12.7mm machine guns (later upgraded to 20mm cannons) in her tail. As far as her external design goes, the B-47 was conventional with a forward held cockpit (including glazed nosecone), a cylindrical fuselage and a conventional empennage mounting a single vertical tail fin and applicable horizontal planes. At rest, the aircraft took on a noticeable "nose up" position that required the use of a rolling ladder platform for the crew to gain entry. The undercarriage consisted of a pair of double-tired landing gear legs along the fuselage centerline with a pair of smaller single-tired legs under the inner pair of engine nacelles. With the advent of improved Soviet surface-to-air missile systems (SAM), the B-47 was forced to take more of a low-level bombing role and thus the structure was optimized for the rigors of such flight. Internal ordnance was finalized in the B-47E model which could carry 25,000lb of munitions in the form of 2 x Mk 15 nuclear drop bombs or up to 28 x 500lb conventional drop bombs.

    Boeing B-47E-IV Stratojet Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1951
    Type: Medium / Heavy Bomber Aircraft
    National Origin: United States
    Manufacturer(s): Boeing Company - USA
    Production Total: 2,039

    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

    Operating Crew: 3
    Length: 108.01 feet (32.92 meters)
    Width: 116.14 feet (35.40 meters)
    Height: 28.02 feet (8.54 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 79,073 lb (35,867 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 229,999 lb (104,326 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

    Engine(s): 6 x General Electric J47-GE-25 turbojet engines generating 7,200 lb of thrust each; 1 x 36,000lb rocket system for JATO launch.

    Maximum Speed: 600 mph (965 kph; 521 knots)
    Maximum Range: 3,870 miles (6,228 km)
    Service Ceiling: 40,499 feet (12,344 meters; 7.67 miles)
    Rate-of-Climb: 4,350 feet-per-minute (1,326 m/min)

    Armament / Mission Payload

    STANDARD (B-47B):
    2 x 12.5mm heavy machine guns in rear remote-controlled powered turret.

    STANDARD (B-47E):
    2 x 20mm cannons in rear remote-controlled powered turret.

    Up to 25,000lbs of internal ordnance to include both nuclear and conventional drop bombs.

    Global Operators / Customers

    Canada; United States

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

    Model 424 - Initial Model Designation

    Model 432 - Secondary Model Designation accepted and allowed for further development contracts.

    Model 448 - Swept Flying Wing surfaces from captured German research.

    Model 450 - Six engines moved from fuselage positions to underwing nacelles.

    XB-47 - Prototype Model Designation fitted with 6 x Allison J35-2 turbojet engines of which two ordered/produced.

    B-47 - Production Series Designation

    B-47A - Developmental Models of which 10 were produced.

    B-47B - First Operational Service Variant of which 399 were produced.

    B-47E - Fitted with uprated engines, inflight refueling capabilities, ejection seats and updated operational systems; 1,591 produced of this type.

    B-47B-II - Same as the B-47B models except for overall re-strengthening of the structure.

    B-47E-II - Same as the B-47E models except for overall re-strengthening of the structure.

    RB-47B - Reconnaissance Variant

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