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CONVAIR B-58 Hustler

Supersonic Delta-Winged Jet-Powered Medium Bomber

CONVAIR B-58 Hustler

Supersonic Delta-Winged Jet-Powered Medium Bomber

OVERVIEW
SPECIFICATIONS
ARMAMENT
VARIANTS
HISTORY
MEDIA
OVERVIEW



Eventually the need for high-altitude bombers was all but gone, leaving CONVAIR B-58 Hustler production at just 116 total units.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: United States
YEAR: 1960
STATUS: Retired, Out-of-Service
MANUFACTURER(S): CONVAIR - USA
PRODUCTION: 116
OPERATORS: United States
SPECIFICATIONS



Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the CONVAIR B-58A Hustler model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
CREW: 3
LENGTH: 96.75 feet (29.49 meters)
WIDTH: 56.82 feet (17.32 meters)
HEIGHT: 31.50 feet (9.6 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 55,561 pounds (25,202 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 163,001 pounds (73,936 kilograms)
ENGINE: 4 x General Electric J79-GE-3B afterburning turbojet engines developing 15,600 lb of thrust each.
SPEED (MAX): 1,321 miles-per-hour (2126 kilometers-per-hour; 1,148 knots)
RANGE: 5,124 miles (8,247 kilometers; 4,453 nautical miles)
CEILING: 62,999 feet (19,202 meters; 11.93 miles)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 17,400 feet-per-minute (5,304 meters-per-minute)




ARMAMENT



STANDARD:
1 x 20mm T171 (M61) Gatling-style internal cannon
1 x Under-fuselage pod carrying up to 19,450 lb of conventional ordnance, nuclear ordnance, or tactical reconnaissance equipment. Supported B43 and B61 series nuclear payloads.
VARIANTS



Series Model Variants
• Model 4 - Convair Proposed Model Prototype
• XB-58 - Prototype Designation of which only 2 were produced from an original 18 ordered.
• YB-58A - Preproduction Model Designation of which 11 were produced.
• B-58A - Production Model based on the YB-58A.
• RB-58A - Reconnaissance Conversion Models of the latter-half of the YB-58A production; fitted with ventral reconnaissance pods.
• TB-58A - Conversion Trainer Models of YB-58A of which 8 existed.


HISTORY



Detailing the development and operational history of the CONVAIR B-58 Hustler Supersonic Delta-Winged Jet-Powered Medium Bomber.  Entry last updated on 10/23/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
The delta-wing CONVAIR B-58 "Hustler" was the first operational supersonic-capable bomber of the United States Air Force (USAF). The product was designed for high-altitude flight at considerable speeds, popular qualities for early Cold War bombers intended to simply "outfly" enemy air defenses including interceptors and ground-based fire. Captured wartime German data concerning jets and high-speed flight influenced the B-58 program leading to a heavily streamlined, aerodynamically-sound fuselage with little protrusions - leaving the finalized B-58 form akin to an arrowhead.

A prototype B-58 made its first flight on November 11th, 1956 and flew supersonically for the first time on December 30th, 1956. Distinct features of the aircraft included a then-sophisticated inertial guidance navigation and bombing system and "wasp-waist" fuselage. Extensive use of heat-resistant honeycomb sandwich skin panels were integrated into the construction of the wings and fuselage for the necessary high altitude-high, high-speed flight. The thin fuselage did provided some engineering challenges early on as it prevented internal carriage of bombs and the required amount of fuel to feed the four turbojet engines (thus restricting operational ranges). As a result, a large external droppable, two-component pod was added under the fuselage and contained extra fuel and a nuclear weapon along with other mission-specific gear. Later versions were fitted with reconnaissance equipment in place of the armament to form the "RB-58A" mark. Crew accommodations for the B-58 Hustler consisted of a pilot, navigator / bombardier, and defense systems operator - all sitting in tandem within escape capsules.

The USAF contracted for 86 total Hustlers which were operational in the Strategic Air Command (SAC) between 1960 and 1970. B-58s, as a whole, went on to set some nineteen world speed and altitude records and won five different aviation trophies during their operational run - a vast engineering achievement realized. Despite these performance successes, the B-58 still suffered from limited operating ranges and a limited payload capacity which hampered series series growth potential.

There were a total of 116 B-58s built that broke down as 30 test and pre-production aircraft and 86 for official service. The last B-58 would be officially retired in January of 1970, about three months after the first General Dynamics FB-111 "Aardvark" swing-wing fighter-bomber (detailed elsewhere on this site) was accepted into frontline service by SAC. The simple fact remained that the B-58 Hustler came along when the high-altitude bomber concept had become a thing of the past and the aircraft was phased out of the USAF inventory after only 10 years of service. Nonetheless, the engineering accomplishments seen during development surely played a role in future bomber and turbojet concepts for decades to come.




MEDIA







General Assessment (BETA)
Firepower  
Performance  
Survivability  
Versatility  
Impact  


Values are derrived from a variety of categories related to the design, overall function, and historical influence of this aircraft in aviation history.
MF Power Rating (BETA)
78
The MF Power Rating takes into account over sixty individual factors related to this aircraft entry. The rating is out of 100 total possible points.
Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 1400mph
Lo: 700mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (1,321mph).

    Graph average of 1050 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LDN
LDN
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MSK
MSK
 
  TKY
TKY
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the CONVAIR B-58A Hustler's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
116
116

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
A2A
Interception
UAV
Ground Attack
CAS
Training
ASW
Anti-Ship
AEW
MEDEVAC
EW
Maritime/Navy
SAR
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
VIP
Passenger
Business
Recon
SPECOPS
X-Plane/Development
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
In the Cockpit...
Supported Arsenal
Graphical image of an aircraft Gatling-style rotating gun
Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon
Graphical image of an air launched nuclear weapon
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.