First generation Jet bombers

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by pattern14, Mar 2, 2014.

  1. pattern14

    pattern14 Member

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    Does anyone have any good links or reference books on the B45 Tornado? As far as I can tell, it was the first operational U.S jet bomber, although it did not see service in WW2. It looks to be in a similar league to the Tupolev and Canberra developed about the same time, although somewhat overshadowed by the swept wing B47. Are any still in flying condition?
     
  2. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    None in flying condition and I recently purchased the following book:

    20140116_211658.jpg
     
  3. pattern14

    pattern14 Member

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    Thanks for that; I'll see about getting a copy. Just out of interest, does the book say it was developed or influenced from the Arado Ar234 ( or some other German aircraft), or was it purely domestic in origin? The Russians appear to copy a lot of their early jets from German designs and prototypes.
     
  4. swampyankee

    swampyankee Active Member

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    It's difficult to tell whether or what level of influence there was. There's a lot of constraints on bomber design in that generation. Given that the US makers did not seem to like banjo spars, so did not tend to bury jet engines in the wings as often as, say, the British, there are just a couple of places to put the engines: on top of the wing, under the wing, or someplace in or on the fuselage. The only way to say "oh, yes, there was German influence" is to see a memo to the effect "check out what the Germans did with the Ar234. Wasn't it brilliant?" Barring that, it's just speculative, and usually insultingly so. On the other hand, engineers always study what's out there. So, there was doubtless some attention paid to the Ar234, but, then there was also some attention paid to the Meteor, P-59, and Mosquito.
     
  5. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    One can also look at the design history of the plane.

    For Joe Baugher's web site
    "In 1944, North American Aviation of Inglewood, California submitted a design known under the company designation NA-130 as its proposal in response to the War Department request. "

    "A Letter Contract dated September 8, 1944 called for the development of three experimental aircraft based on the NA-130. The designation XB-45 was assigned. At the same time, three other contractors were also awarded development contracts, Convair for the XB-46, Boeing for the XB-47, and Martin for the XB-48."

    "The end of the Second World War resulted in the cancellation of many projects and the delay of others. However, the War Department felt that the development of a jet-powered bomber should still be pressed forward with the utmost speed, and the XB-45, XB-46, XB-47, and XB-48 contracts were left untouched. In 1946, rising tensions with its erstwile Soviet ally caused the USAAF to assign a high priority to the development of a jet-powered bomber. In response to this new sense of urgency, the USAAF decided to forego the competition that would ordinarily be held between the four entries and opted instead to review the available designs to see which of the contestants could be produced first."

    "By mid-1946, the XB-45 and XB-46 were nearing completion, but the XB-47 and XB-48 were still at least two more years away. Since the USAAF was guided by what it felt to be a sense of great urgency, it decided to appraise the XB-45 and XB-46 right away and choose one of them for immediate production. Any consideration of the XB-47 and XB-48 would be deferred until after they had flown. if either the XB-47 or XB-48 turned out to be markedly superior to the plane that was then being produced, then that aircraft would be purchased and the currently-produced version would be phased out. This is indeed what happened when the XB-47 appeared.

    The USAAF concluded that the Convair XB-46 would likely be inferior in performance to the XB-45, and that its thin, graceful fuselage would not be able to hold all the required radar equipment. Since the configuration of the XB-45 did not depart significantly from that of proven aircraft already in service and hence presented fewer risks, on August 2, 1946, the USAAF announced that they were going to endorse the immediate production of the B-45. A contract for 96 B-45As (North American N-147) was signed on January 20, 1947, even before the XB-45 had made its first flight."

    Given the time line I think it is fairly safe safe to say that there was darn little Arado 234 influence in the original NA-130 proposal and given the minimal changes inferred by the above narrative there was room for only few minor "tweaks" that could be attributed to the Arado 234 at the most.
     
  6. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Let's not forget that the first atomic bomb dropped from a jet bomber was dropped from a B-45.

    In atmospheric nuclear tests in the Pacific in 1951 and 1952, the B-45 dropped real atomic bombs twice. Both times, the weapon was the Mark 7 warhead intended for the Thor missile.
     
  7. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    The Mk 7 warhead was America's first tactical nuke, in service from 1952, that's about 5 years ahead of the Thor rocket.

    It was also the warhead for the Honest John rocket, and nuclear depth charge, but with a variable yield warhead of about 10 to 80 kilotons, it was too small a warhead for a IRBM like the Thor rocket.

    I think some of the confusion might come from the Mk 7's name, it was also called the Thor.
     
  8. pattern14

    pattern14 Member

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    #8 pattern14, Mar 3, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2014
    Nothing insulting was intended, it was simple curiosity. It is along similar lines to the urban myth that the Mig 15 was developed from the Focke wulf Ta 183; they bear a superficial resemblance, so you wonder how much influence one design has on another. There are also parallel develpments such as the Flitzer and the Vampire and so on. The Arado 234 design was aerodynamically dated compared to the swept wing projects being developed, regardless of how well the aircraft actually performed. The B47 was the way of the future.
     
  9. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    The B-45 weighed more than twice as much empty, than the Arado 234 did full.

    So there's no similarity, when it comes to size and weight.

    About the only things they have in common, is they're both straight wing, first generation jet bombers.
     
  10. pattern14

    pattern14 Member

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    ...... you forgot to add the temperamental underslung engines as well
     
  11. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    temperamental how?

    In 1944-50 everybodies jet engines were temperamental compared to what they would become later. It was pretty much regardless of which position they were mounted in.
     
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  12. pattern14

    pattern14 Member

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    The previous poster mentioned that the B45 and Ar234 had a couple of things in common. I just added to the list.
     
  13. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    You're right Tom. It wasn't the Thor missile, it was basis of the the Mk 7 "Thor" nuclear bomb as well as the Honest John, the BOAR rocket, the Corporal missile, and could also be delivered by the British Canberra.

    Interestingly, the Thor missile formed the basis of the Delta rocket family and is still in use today as a launch vehicle in the form of the Delta II. When I worked at Parker Aerospace, we made the rocket bizzle actuator for that platform and they still do. It's dazzling to realize that the same basic airframe has been in service for 60 years and continues in service today. The only aircraft I know of that matches it is the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress.

    Several of the volunteers at the Planes of Fame were in the Air Force and 3 - 4 of them actually worked on the B-45. All but one worked on the B-45 as crew of crew chief and the one exception was a B-45 command pilot. All have very fond memories of the B-45 and think it was a real stalwart that could always find a way to get the job done. The pilot among them has a few pics of his ship doing a RATO takeoff. He says those were fun. From the B-45 he transitioned to the B-47 and some 8 years later to American Airlines where he flew until he retired as a DC-10 Captain in the late 1980's. He still flies our B-25 every once in awhile.
     
  14. yulzari

    yulzari Active Member

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    USAF B45s were flown over Russia by the RAF when the US government banned the USAF from doing so. There are some photo/s about of them wearing RAF roundels.
     
  15. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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  16. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    I think we gave the British some 4 to 6 B-45's for that purpose. In the end, they gave them back and started using their own assets.

    Altogether a neat aircraft that did the job early on. It seldom gets the laurels which it earned, but the guys who operated and maintained it like it a lot, which says something good about the aircraft right there. I don't know wnaybody who worked on them that had much good to say about the B-36! ... but they liked the B-45.
     
  17. pattern14

    pattern14 Member

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    Good to hear some positive comments, as most of the on-line info I have found cited ongoing engine troubles etc. Looking forward to getting the book and finding out more about this one. Don't suppose you can recommend a decent book about the Bell Xp 59 Airacomet as well? I saw a great photo of a model of one with twin booms and a pusher prop which I can only assume was a forerunner of the jet version. These WW2 jets are amazing in concept and execution, when you consider that they flew only 40 years after the Wright brothers did.
     
  18. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #18 GregP, Mar 4, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2014
    The best book I have is titled "Flame Powered" by David M. Carpenter. I found my copy on ebay for very little money.

    The Bell P-59 is not bad considering they didn't give Larry Bell an engine ... just a big block of wood and they told him the real engines would not be any larger! They didn't tell him the fuel flow specifics or the air intake size required, etc. He sort of designed a test aircraft without a lot of informtion. Taken in that guise, it is a credible effort. The air intakes ar 40 - 50% oversize and contribute a lot to drag. Air goes in, swirls around, and comes back out due to the limited airflow needs of the engines.

    Access in many places is quite limited. The wing center section has some cables going through it for which there is zero access. We cut an access hatch in the center-section skin and installed a screw-in cover so we could adjust the cables for the landing gear retraction and check out the motion of it during retraction. There is no structural issue because the strength in the wing carry-through box is in the spars, not the skin.

    About the B-45, our guys have some wonderful pics and vivid fond memories. Yes, they had some issues with the engines, but ALL the early jets did and the B-45 was no better and no worse in that regard. The F-86 had some engine issues, too, but was reliable enough during the Korean War and in service afterwards. We have an F-86F that still flies fine today on the original type J-47 turbojet. In fact, it does an aerobatic act with two other F-86's in a group called "The Horsemen." They consist of Ed Shipley, Dan Friedken, and Steve Hinton and they fly P-51's, F-86's, F8F's, and sometimes a mixed formation.

    At one of our airshows they did an aerobatic act with two P-51D's and our P-38 Lightning. Talk about dissimilar aircraft! Two Allisons and two Merlins, two 3-blade props and two 4-blade props, two single and one twin. Speaking of the Allisons, the left Allison had only about 5 hours on it when they flew this sequence. That was not good for the new baby Allison!

    But I love the whine of the Merlin superchargers as they come by at the bottom of the pass. Here is a clip of that performance in 2012:


    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yc94Tj7SP8o

    I'll find a clip of the F-86 act, too.
     
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  19. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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  20. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for helping me understand the problems that beset Bell in building the P-59. I have been very critical of this design and its very poor performance compared to the German designs. I have felt there were problems with the intake but it looked okay. Being too big makes a lot of sense. Not only would it affect drag but possibly thrust efficiency. I also feel the wing size, 60% greater than the Me 262, which grossed out 50% heavier than the P-59, was also a major contributor to its poor airspeed performance. I suspect the airfoil is also a generation behind the German jets, and, the contemporary P-51.
     
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