75. Designing Weight Out of the B-36


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R F Pence: 75. Designing Weight Out of the B-36. 1952.



In the spring of 1940, at the time of the fall of France, the fate of available bases in Europe appeared to hang by a slender thread. The United States Air Force consequently envisioned the possibility of having to strike Germany from a base on this continent. Late in 1940 the basic performance requirements for an intercontinental bomber to carry out this mission were established and several aircraft companies were asked to bid on the project. The proposal submitted by Consolidated Aircraft was approved and the contract for the XB-36 was signed near the end of 194l.
The original design mission for the airplane was the often quoted range of 10,000 miles carrying 10,000 pounds of bombs dropped at mid-range, with sufficient speed, altitude, and defensive armament to enable the bomber to perform its missions with a minimum degree of vulnerability. The ability to carry large tonnage bombs for shorter ranges was an important secondary objective.


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