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.

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




1942
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

1945
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

1940
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

1956
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

1937
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

1943
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

1951
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

1948
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

1955
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

1937
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)

1938
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

1915
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

1917
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

1941
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

1945
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

1949
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

1963
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

1942
Dornier Do 217
The Dornier Do 217 was a multi-faceted performer for the German Luftwaffe that ended up fulfilling various roles from bomber ...
Thumbnail picture of the Dornier Do 217

1941
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)

1916
Thumbnail picture of the Gotha G.IV

1917
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

1940
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

1942
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)

1927
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

1944
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

1943
Junkers Ju 390 (New York Bomber)
The German Junkers Ju 390 long range heavy bomber aircraft design was intended to be able to strike at locations along the ea...
Thumbnail picture of the Junkers Ju 390 (New York Bomber)

1933
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

1955
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)

1945
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)

1997
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)

1940
Petlyakov Pe-8 (TB-7)
During the lead-up to World War 2 (1939-1945), the Soviet Union joined Germany and Italy is providing a lesser focus on capab...
Thumbnail picture of the Petlyakov Pe-8 (TB-7)

1942
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

1986
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

1941
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

1919
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

1915
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)

2025
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

1972
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)

1954
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)

1989
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)

1949
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)

1949
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

1951
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

1956
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)

1955
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

1919
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