Military Factory
Military Factory

Heavy Bomber Aircraft

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 12/20/2014

The Heavy Bomber saw an evolution after World War 1 and peaked during the Cold War - today's move being towards ballistic missiles, multirole aircraft and precision strike.


The Heavy Bomber is a special classification of military aircraft designed with extended range and an expanded bomb-carrying capability. Prior to the rise of intercontinental ballistic missiles, national powers fielded a bevy of large aircraft - initially prop-powered and then jet-powered - to bring heavy ordnance loads onto enemy targets. Such early platforms saw use during World War 1 when taking the place of the vulnerable airship and continued their evolution during World War 2. The Cold War years eventually saw the heavy bomber peak as a viable,cost-effective delivery platform and only a few notable types remain in use today - including the faithful Boeing B-52 Stratofortress.

There are a total of 51 Heavy Bomber Aircraft in the Military Factory. Entries are listed below in alphanumeric order. Flag images indicative of country of origin.

Avro Lancaster
The Avro Lancaster went on to become the most important British heavy bomber or World War 2. Interestingly, its success was b...
Thumbnail picture of the Avro Lancaster

Avro Lincoln
The Avro Lincoln became a late-World War 2, four-engined heavy bomber developed form the hugely successful Avro Lancaster ser...
Thumbnail picture of the Avro Lincoln

Avro Manchester
The Avro Manchester was a semi-successful attempt by the Avro firm to fulfill Air Ministry Specification P.13/36. The specifi...
Thumbnail picture of the Avro Manchester

Avro Vulcan
The Avro Vulcan formed the second point on the triangle in the British "V-Bombers" collection - a series of three high-altitu...
Thumbnail picture of the Avro Vulcan

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress
Though the Consolidated B-24 Liberator was built in greater numbers, the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress is often regarded as the...
Thumbnail picture of the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress

Boeing B-29 Superfortress
B-29 Superfortress status is often associated with the atomic bombs dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ...
Thumbnail picture of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress

Boeing B-47 Stratojet
The swept-wing B-47 Stratojet produced by Boeing was a milestone in American bomber design in several ways. The system pionee...
Thumbnail picture of the Boeing B-47 Stratojet

Boeing B-50 Superfortress
Though looking every bit the identical twin of the World War Two-era B-29 Superfortress (also produced by Boeing), the B-50 i...
Thumbnail picture of the Boeing B-50 Superfortress

Boeing B-52 Stratofortress
The B-52 has been the preeminent American heavy bomber of the last 54 years. The massive aircraft served throughout the heigh...
Thumbnail picture of the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress

Boeing XB-15 (XBLR-1 / Grandpappy)
In 1933, the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC) delivered a new specification for a heavy bomber with an inherent operation...
Thumbnail picture of the Boeing XB-15 (XBLR-1 / Grandpappy)

Boeing Y1B-20
Leading up to its famous stable of World War 2 heavy bombers, Boeing undertook a variety of projects to further existing tech...
Thumbnail picture of the Boeing Y1B-20

Caproni Ca.1
While the British Handley Page and German Gotha bombers receive their fair share of notoriety in World War 1 text, both Italy...
Thumbnail picture of the Caproni Ca.1

Caproni Ca.3
The Caproni Ca.36 represented the definitive model in the C-bomber series debuted in 1914 as the C.31. The Ca.36 was a tremen...
Thumbnail picture of the Caproni Ca.3

Consolidated B-24 Liberator
The Consolidated B-24 Liberator became a major player for Allied forces during World War 2. Its exploits ranged the world ove...
Thumbnail picture of the Consolidated B-24 Liberator

Consolidated B-32 Dominator
Consolidated Aircraft Corporation held an existing relationship with the United States military in delivering large, multi-en...
Thumbnail picture of the Consolidated B-32 Dominator

Convair B-36 Peacemaker
If developed a few years sooner, the massive jet-powered Convair B-36 "Peacemaker" could have very well taken part in the fin...
Thumbnail picture of the Convair B-36 Peacemaker

Dassault Mirage IV
The Dassault Mirage IV series was designed to a French requirement for a supersonic aircraft platform capable of delivering a...
Thumbnail picture of the Dassault Mirage IV

Dornier Do 217
The Dornier Do 217 was a multi-role aircraft design for the German Luftwaffe during World War 2 (1939-1945). The type fulfill...
Thumbnail picture of the Dornier Do 217

Douglas XB-19 (XBLR-2)
Douglas Aircraft played a major role in American aviation from the 1920s into the 1960s, encompassing the Golden Age of Fligh...
Thumbnail picture of the Douglas XB-19 (XBLR-2)

Focke-Wulf Ta 400 (Amerika Bomber)
The early wartime commitment to fighters and medium bombers came back to haunt German warplanners during the middle and latte...
Thumbnail picture of the Focke-Wulf Ta 400 (Amerika Bomber)

Thumbnail picture of the Gotha G.IV

Gotha G.V
With the Germans having gained critical territory up to the Belgian coast in 1914, thoughts to the bombing of targets within ...
Thumbnail picture of the Gotha G.V

Handley Page Halifax
While the Lancaster Heavy Bomber will always be more identifiable in terms of the British night bombing campaigns of World Wa...
Thumbnail picture of the Handley Page Halifax

Heinkel He 177 Greif (Griffin)
The Heinkel He 177 Greif (or "Griffin") was a bomber produced in limited numbers for the German Luftwaffe. By any standard, t...
Thumbnail picture of the Heinkel He 177 Greif (Griffin)

Huff-Daland XHB-1 Cyclops
For years in the decade following World War 1 (1914-1918) the Huff-Daland Aero Corporation attempted to sell the United Sates...
Thumbnail picture of the Huff-Daland XHB-1 Cyclops

Junkers Ju 287
The Junkers Ju 287 certainly proved one of the most unique of the approved late-war, jet-powered designs for the German natio...
Thumbnail picture of the Junkers Ju 287

Junkers Ju 390 (New York Bomber)
The German Junkers Ju 390 long range heavy bomber was intended to be able to strike far-off locations along the American East...
Thumbnail picture of the Junkers Ju 390 (New York Bomber)

Kalinin K-7
Konstantin Kalinin (1889-1938) had forged his history in aviation as a Red Army pilot during the Russian Civil War (1918-1920...
Thumbnail picture of the Kalinin K-7

Myasishchev M-4 / 3M (Bison)
The Myasishchev M-4 (NATO codename of "Bison") was developed to a Soviet Navy requirement for a jet-powered, long-range marit...
Thumbnail picture of the Myasishchev M-4 / 3M (Bison)

Nakajima G8N Renzan (Rita)
The Nakajima G8N Renzan (or "Mountain Range" - codenamed "Rita" by the Allies) was a heavy bomber design put forth by the Nak...
Thumbnail picture of the Nakajima G8N Renzan (Rita)

North American XB-70 Valkyrie
In the decades following World War 2 (1939-1945) there stood a period of immense achievements related to supersonic flight. T...
Thumbnail picture of the North American XB-70 Valkyrie

Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit (Stealth Bomber)
The Northrop Grumman B-2 "Spirit" (generically referred to as the "Stealth Bomber") became the pinnacle of tail-less flight d...
Thumbnail picture of the Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit (Stealth Bomber)

Petlyakov Pe-8 (TB-7)
During the lead-up to World War 2 (1939-1945), the Soviet Union joined Germany and Italy in providing a reduced focus on capa...
Thumbnail picture of the Petlyakov Pe-8 (TB-7)

Piaggio P.108
The Piaggio P.108 was a multi-faceted airframe developed to fulfill a variety of roles for the Italians during World War 2. S...
Thumbnail picture of the Piaggio P.108

Rockwell B-1 Lancer
Military aircraft seldom take an uneventful road to full operational service and such was the case with the storied Rockwell ...
Thumbnail picture of the Rockwell B-1 Lancer

Short Stirling
The Short Sterling formed the backbone of British RAF heavy bomber groups beginning in January of 1941 and forged an operatio...
Thumbnail picture of the Short Stirling

Siemens-Schuckert R.VIII
The Siemens-Schuckert R.VIII was a mammoth biplane aircraft design intended as a heavy bomber for the German Air Service duri...
Thumbnail picture of the Siemens-Schuckert R.VIII

Sikorsky Ilya Mourometz (Series)
The Sikorsky Ilya Mourometz series of aircraft were the world's first four-engine bombers in operational service. Igor Sikors...
Thumbnail picture of the Sikorsky Ilya Mourometz (Series)

Tupolev PAK DA
Russia is moving ahead with the design phase of a new subsonic strategic stealth bomber to succeed the aging lines of Tu-95 "...
Thumbnail picture of the Tupolev PAK DA

Tupolev Tu-142 (Bear)
As the Tupolev Tu-95 "Bear" proved a successful strategic bomber across several roles for the Soviet military, a dedicated ma...
Thumbnail picture of the Tupolev Tu-142 (Bear)

Tupolev Tu-16 (Badger)
The Tupolev Tu-16 (codenamed "Badger" by NATO) owed its success story to the Cold War and its own versatility. Throughout its...
Thumbnail picture of the Tupolev Tu-16 (Badger)

Tupolev Tu-160 (Blackjack)
Since its inception, the Tupolev-produced Tu-160 (NATO codename of "Blackjack") has been the largest jet-powered, swing-wing ...
Thumbnail picture of the Tupolev Tu-160 (Blackjack)

Tupolev Tu-4 (Bull)
During World War 2, the Soviet Union was threatened by both the Empire of Japan to the East and Nazi Germany to the West. Its...
Thumbnail picture of the Tupolev Tu-4 (Bull)

Tupolev Tu-80
In order to provide its bomber force with a long-range weapons delivery platform, Soviet engineers set to work on the new Tup...
Thumbnail picture of the Tupolev Tu-80

Tupolev Tu-85
During World War 2 (1939-1945), Soviet engineers were able to study three captured American B-29 Superfortresses that were fo...
Thumbnail picture of the Tupolev Tu-85

Tupolev Tu-95 (Bear)
Following the developmental Tupolev Tu-80 and Tu-85 programs was the famous Tupolev Tu-95 "Bear" which proved a common site i...
Thumbnail picture of the Tupolev Tu-95 (Bear)

Vickers Valiant
At a time when military satellites, ballistic missiles, nuclear submarines and UAVs didn't rule the battlefield, the West was...
Thumbnail picture of the Vickers Valiant

Vickers Vimy
The Vimy was designed to a Royal Air Force (RAF) requirement for a night bomber with inherently long endurance intended to re...
Thumbnail picture of the Vickers Vimy

Zeppelin-Staaken R-series
When World War 1 (1914-1918) bogged down into the stubborn battles of trench warfare in the Autumn of 1914, it fell to altern...
Thumbnail picture of the Zeppelin-Staaken R-series