World War 2 (1939-1945) saw the rise of turbojet technology for future military aircraft applications. It became known to the Allies that the Germans were hard at work on potential war-winning jet-powered designs so, to stay in step with the enemy, both the British and the Americans enacted considerable jet aircraft programs of their own. In 1944, American authorities put forth a requirement calling for a jet-powered, medium-class bomber and this led to the emergence of several notable designs of the wartime period.
During this time, the Glen L. Martin Company, a long-time "big aircraft" developer for the United States air service, decided to try its hand at fulfilling the new request. This endeavor became its "XB-48" entry and two prototypes were eventually realized for all of the investment. The design largely followed the wartime forms that Martin was closely associated with, the primary difference being powerplants formed of turbojet technology.
Martin engineers elected for a tubular, streamlined fuselage with a glazed nose section and elevated flight deck slightly aft. The straight wing mainplanes were mid-mounted along the fuselage sides and placed near midships. The tail unit incorporated a single vertical fin with slightly upward-canted horizontal planes. A bicycle undercarriage featuring an inline twin leg arrangement was used with underwing assistance coming from smaller outboard support legs (the XB-48 was the first aircraft to ever feature a "bicycle" undercarriage arrangement). The aircraft would be crewed by at least three, made up of two pilots and a bomber/navigator, and power was to come from 6 x General Electric J35 (Allison J35) turbojet engines developing 3,820 pounds of thrust each. The jets would be fitted into the wing mainplanes as three per wing and a specially-developed, three-engined gondola was devised to help channel airflow around the engines in flight. This assembly gave the external impression of three individual engine nacelles being fitted but this was not the case. The J35 engine became the first axial-flow compressor engine for the United States Army Air Force / Air Force service and eventually powered the later Republic F-84 Thunderjet and Northrop F-89 Scorpion lines.
Dimensions included a length of 26 meters, a wingspan of 33 meters and a height of 8 meters. Armament was headed by an internal load of up to 20,000 pounds of conventional drop stores. Local defense would be provided by 2 x 12.7mm M7 heavy machine guns fitted to a tail turret (this was never fitted).
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(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Ground Attack (Bombing, Strafing)
Ability to conduct aerial bombing of ground targets by way of (but not limited to) guns, bombs, missiles, rockets, and the like.
✓X-Plane (Developmental, Prototype, Technology Demonstrator)
Aircraft developed for the role of prototyping, technology demonstration, or research / data collection.
85.3 ft (26.00 m)
108.3 ft (33.00 m)
26.2 ft (8.00 m)
58,500 lb (26,535 kg)
102,603 lb (46,540 kg)
+44,103 lb (+20,005 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Martin XB-48 production variant)
6 x General Electric J35 turbine engines developing 3,820 lb of thrust each.
(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the base Martin XB-48 production variant. Performance specifications showcased above are subject to environmental factors as well as aircraft configuration. Estimates are made when Real Data not available. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database or View aircraft by powerplant type)
2 x 12.7mm M7 heavy machine guns in tail turret.
Up to 20,000 lb of internally-held conventional drop stores.
(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
Hardpoint Mountings: 0
XB-48 - Base Project Designation; two prototypes completed.
Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective aerial campaigns / operations / aviation periods.
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