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Boeing XB-59

United States (1949)
Picture of Boeing XB-59 Supersonic Medium Jet Bomber Proposal

No prototypes of the proposed Boeing XB-59 supersonic strategic bomber were ordered - the role fulfilled by the Convair B-58 Hustler.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Boeing XB-59 Supersonic Medium Jet Bomber Proposal.  Entry last updated on 4/25/2016. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The merits of a jet-powered supersonic strategic bomber for the USAF during the early Cold War years led to the termination of the conventionally-powered Boeing XB-55 proposal in 1949. The XB-55 was drawn up to succeed the all-jet-powered B-47 "Stratojet" before a prototype of that series had even flown. However, issues with the proposed turboprop arrangement and success of the B-47 in-the-field led to a cancellation of the XB-55. Instead, thought (and some of the XB-55 project resources) were now turned over to a new venture - a supersonic-minded Boeing bomber in the form of the "XB-59" (company Model 701).

The new bomber was categorized as a medium-class platform and showcased the usual supersonic elements - jet engines housed within the body of the aircraft, a streamlined fuselage and swept-back wing mainplanes and tail surfaces. The cockpit was held at the front over the nose in the usual way and the wing mainplanes were shoulder-mounted along the fuselage sides. The tail unit consisted of a single vertical tail fin with mid-mounted horizontal planes. Four engines would be used to power the design, these being two paired General Electric J73-X24A turbojets with afterburning capability to help achieve desired straightline speeds. The engines were set within the wingroots to maintain aerodynamic efficiency and exhausted along the fuselage sides.

Boeing retained some features of its earlier B-47 approach - and the XB-55 for that matter - in the XB-59 proposal, namely coupled engines, swept-back wings, and a "bicycle" undercarriage arrangement (with outriggers supporting the wings). Like the B-47 it also would carry a crew of three operators as opposed to the XB-55's ten.

Overall dimensions for the proposed product included a length of 123.3 feet, a wingspan of 81.3 feet and a height of 25.4 feet. Empty weight was rated at 63,000 lb with a gross weight registering 148,000lb. Estimated performance specifications were a maximum speed of Mach 2, a range out to 2,380 miles and a service ceiling of 51,000 feet. Beyond an undisclosed internal bombload, the XB-59 was slated to carry 1 x 30mm cannon in a tail position to counter the threat from enemy interceptors emerging from the rear of the aircraft.

The supersonic requirement was eventually fulfilled by a Convair submission which became the B-58 "Hustler" (detailed elsewhere on this site) and this left the XB-59 without a future. No prototypes were ever ordered/built and the project was cancelled before the end of 1952.

Any available statistics for the Boeing XB-59 Supersonic Medium Jet Bomber Proposal 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).






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 1600mph
Lo: 800mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (1,553mph).

    Graph average of 1200 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 Boeing XB-59's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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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
0
0


  * 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: 1949
Type: Supersonic Medium Jet Bomber Proposal
Manufacturer(s): Boeing - USA
Production: 0
Global Operators:
United States (cancelled)
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 Boeing XB-59 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
3


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
123.36 ft


Meters
37.6 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
81.36 ft


Meters
24.8 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
25.43 ft


Meters
7.75 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
63,196 lb


Kilograms
28,665 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
148,305 lb


Kilograms
67,270 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
4 x General Electric J73-X24A turbojets developing 14,000lb of thrust each with afterburning capability.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
1,553 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
2,500 kph


Knots
1,350 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
2,380 mi


Kilometers
3,830 km


Nautical Miles
2,068 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
51,001 ft


Meters
15,545 m


Miles
9.66 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
17,000 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
5,182 m/min

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Armament - Hardpoints (0):

STANDARD:
1 x 30mm cannon in tail unit.

OPTIONAL:
Unknown internal bomb load maximum.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• XB-59 - Base Project Designation