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CONVAIR XA-44 (XB-53)

United States (1949)
Picture of CONVAIR XA-44 (XB-53) Attack Platform / Medium Bomber Proposal

The CONVAIR XA-44 emerged from World War 2 as a potential attack platform for the USAAF but ended its days a cancelled project as the XB-53 Medium Bomber.


Detailing the development and operational history of the CONVAIR XA-44 (XB-53) Attack Platform / Medium Bomber Proposal.  Entry last updated on 4/26/2017. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The period immediately following World War 2 (1939-1945) provided aeronautical engineers with a new chapter in "heavier-than-air" powered flight. The jet age born during the war and progressed at a feverish pace thereafter with many of the wartime participants seeking to perfect turbojet designs and stock their respective air services with the latest combat aircraft. CONVAIR, born in 1943 from the merger between Consolidated and Vultee, went on to present many-a-large aircraft designs during the period - the interesting "XA-44" being one of them.

The XA-44 was born in 1945 as a jet-powered attack platform for consideration by the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF). Its most unique quality was its forward-swept wing mainplanes which were coupled to a tailless aft section - a sole vertical fin making up the rear surfaces of the aircraft. The mainplanes - angled forward at 30-degrees and influenced by German wartime research - were set aft of midships and shoulder-mounted along a squat yet well-contoured fuselage. The cockpit was fitted forward, aft of a nosecone assembly, in the usual way. It was envisioned that the aircraft would carry a standard operating crew of four.

Engineers opted for a tri-engine configuration involving turbojets and these aspirated through side-mounted intakes. The engine of choice became the General Electric J35 which was expected to provide an output thrust of 4,000lb each unit.
The selection of forward-swept wing mainplanes was not a groundbreaking initiative for the time - indeed the Germans researched such a jet-powered aircraft in the Junkers Ju 287 before war's end and were delving into the field as early as 1936. The Ju 287 was successfully flown with turbojets in place and the work went on to fuel some Soviet projects after the war. There proved advantages to such a wing arrangement concerning low-speed flight, rate-of-climb, and maneuverability.

As the USAAF worked to reinvent itself in the post-war years (becoming the United States Air Force -"USAF" - in 1947), the XA-44 designation was revised to become "XB-53" during 1948. As such, the CONVAIR product was reclassified from attack platform to medium bomber and slated to carry 12,000lb of conventional drop ordnance.

With the close of the war came slashed defense budgets and worldwide military drawdown so many promising and advanced aircraft projects were shelved or cancelled outright. This also threatened the XB-53 which was, in fact, competing with another CONVAIR medium bomber design - the "XB-46". As the service could not support both similar projects concurrently, the XB-53 held a slight advantage over the more conventionally-minded XB-46. A back-and-forth battle ensued between CONVAIR and the USAF to which both programs were allowed to gestate a time longer. However both ultimately suffered from waning interest and were given up for good - the X-46 back in 1947 and the XB-53 in 1949.






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Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 750mph
Lo: 375mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (581mph).

    Graph average of 562.5 miles-per-hour.
Aviation Era
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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.


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Origin: United States
Year: 1949
Type: Attack Platform / Medium Bomber Proposal
Manufacturer(s): CONVAIR - 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 CONVAIR XB-53 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
4


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
79.40 ft


Meters
24.2 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
80.71 ft


Meters
24.6 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
23.69 ft


Meters
7.22 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
31,758 lb


Kilograms
14,405 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
59,999 lb


Kilograms
27,215 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
3 x General Electric J35 turbojet engines developing 4,000lb of thrust each.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
581 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
935 kph


Knots
505 kts


Performance
CEILING


Feet
42,651 ft


Meters
13,000 m


Miles
8.08 mi

Supported Weapon Systems:

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

PROPOSED:
Up to 12,000lb of internally-held conventional drop stores.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• XA-44 - Original attack platform designation for the USAAF
• XB-53 - Revised medium bomber designation of 1948 for the USAF.