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Boeing XB-59


Supersonic Medium Jet Bomber Proposal (1949)


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



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 04/25/2016 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com; the following text is exclusive to this site.
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.

Specifications



Service Year
1949

Origin
United States national flag graphic
United States

Crew
3

Production
0
UNITS


Boeing - USA
National flag of the United States United States (cancelled)
(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.


Length
123.4 ft
(37.60 m)
Width/Span
81.4 ft
(24.80 m)
Height
25.4 ft
(7.75 m)
Empty Wgt
63,196 lb
(28,665 kg)
MTOW
148,305 lb
(67,270 kg)
Wgt Diff
+85,109 lb
(+38,605 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Boeing XB-59 production variant)
Installed: 4 x General Electric J73-X24A turbojets developing 14,000lb of thrust each with afterburning capability.
Max Speed
1,553 mph
(2,500 kph | 1,350 kts)
Ceiling
51,001 ft
(15,545 m | 10 mi)
Range
2,380 mi
(3,830 km | 7,093 nm)
Rate-of-Climb
17,000 ft/min
(5,182 m/min)


♦ MACH Regime (Sonic)
Sub
Trans
Super
Hyper
HiHyper
ReEntry
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030


(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the base Boeing XB-59 production variant. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database. View aircraft by powerplant type)
STANDARD:
1 x 30mm cannon in tail unit.

OPTIONAL:
Unknown internal bomb load maximum.


Supported Types


Graphical image of an aircraft automatic cannon
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition


(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
Hardpoint Mountings: 0


XB-59 - Base Project Designation


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