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Convair YB-60 Heavy Jet Bomber

As the advent of jet aircraft began to emerge in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Convair started design on a swept-winged version of the B-36 with all-jet propulsion. It also designed and built a prototype large-scale transport, the Convair XC-99.

Convair YB-60 Heavy Bomber of the U.S. Air Force (Friend or Foe trading card series from the author's historical archive)Convair YB-60 Heavy Bomber of the U.S. Air Force
(from the author's Wings Friend or Foe collection)

The B-36G and the YB-60

In March 1951, the US Air Force authorized Convair to convert two B-36Fs to B-36Gs.

Since the jet aircraft was so different from production B-36 models, the designation was later changed to YB-60.

The eight-engine YB-60 shared 72% of its parts with the B-36. The fuselages of the two aircraft were nearly identical, although the YB-60 had a longer, pointed nose with a needle-like instrument probe, instead of the B-36's rounded nose.

The wingspan was 206 feet, the length 171 feet.

One YB-60 prototype was completed, S/N 49-2676, and used in test flights, with its maiden flight on April 18, 1952; a second prototype, S/N 49-2684) was never completed.

Convair YB-60 Heavy Bomber of the U.S. Air Force (Friend or Foe trading card series from the author's historical archive)

The YB-60's competitor was the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, which the Air Force selected as its next generation of heavy bomber.

The B-52 could fly about 100 mph faster than the B-60. The two YB-60s were scrapped in July, 1954.

Convair YB-60 Specifications

Armament: Designed for two 20mm cannons in the tail and up to 72,000 lbs. of bombs
Engines: Eight Pratt & Whitney XJ57-P-3 turbojets of 8,700 lbs. thrust each
Maximum speed: Approx. 510 mph
Cruising speed: 435 mph
Range: 10,000 miles maximum ferry range
Service ceiling: 52,000 ft.
Span: 206 ft. 0 in.
Length: 171 ft. 0 in.
Height: 50 ft. 0 in.
Weight:
300,000 lbs. maximum
Crew: Five (pilot, copilot, navigator, bombardier, tail gunner) 

Photographs of the Convair YB-60

Convair YB-60 S/N 49-2676
Convair YB-60 S/N 49-2676
Convair YB-60 and B-36 shown side by side
Convair YB-60 and B-36
Convair YB-60 on tarmac
Convair YB-60 on tarmac
Convair YB-60 at Convair plant with B-36 aircraft in the background
Convair YB-60 at Convair plant with B-36 aircraft in the background
Convair YB-60 in Flight
Convair YB-60 in Flight
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