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CONVAIR B-58 Hustler

United States (1960)
Picture of CONVAIR B-58 Hustler Supersonic Delta-Winged Jet-Powered Medium Bomber
Picture of CONVAIR B-58 Hustler Supersonic Delta-Winged Jet-Powered Medium Bomber Picture of CONVAIR B-58 Hustler Supersonic Delta-Winged Jet-Powered Medium Bomber
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Eventually the need for high-altitude bombers was all but gone, leaving CONVAIR B-58 Hustler production at just 116 total units.


Detailing the development and operational history of the CONVAIR B-58 Hustler Supersonic Delta-Winged Jet-Powered Medium Bomber.  Entry last updated on 6/14/2018. 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.


Picture of the CONVAIR B-58 Hustler Supersonic Delta-Winged Jet-Powered Medium Bomber
Picture of the CONVAIR B-58 Hustler Supersonic Delta-Winged Jet-Powered Medium Bomber



Any available statistics for the CONVAIR B-58 Hustler Supersonic Delta-Winged Jet-Powered Medium Bomber are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).




Cockpit picture from the CONVAIR B-58 Hustler Supersonic Delta-Winged Jet-Powered Medium Bomber
CONVAIR B-58 Hustler Cockpit Picture
General Assessment (BETA)
Firepower  
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Performance  
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Survivability  
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Versatility  
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Impact  
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Rating: 80 (of 100)
The rating is an internal assessment derived from forty factors pertaining to this entry.
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
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  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
  Compare this entry against other aircraft using our Comparison Tool  
National Flag Graphic
Origin: United States
Year: 1960
Type: Supersonic Delta-Winged Jet-Powered Medium Bomber
Manufacturer(s): CONVAIR - USA
Production: 116
Status: Retired, Out-of-Service
Global Operators:
United States
Historical 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 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 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
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
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.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
3


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
96.75 ft


Meters
29.49 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
56.82 ft


Meters
17.32 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
31.50 ft


Meters
9.6 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
55,561 lb


Kilograms
25,202 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
163,001 lb


Kilograms
73,936 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
4 x General Electric J79-GE-3B afterburning turbojet engines developing 15,600 lb of thrust each.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
1,321 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
2,126 kph


Knots
1,148 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
5,124 mi


Kilometers
8,247 km


Nautical Miles
4,453 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
62,999 ft


Meters
19,202 m


Miles
11.93 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
17,400 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
5,304 m/min

Supported Weapon Systems:

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
Armament - Hardpoints (1):

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.