The Convair B-36, an intercontinental bomber, was designed during World War II. The airplane made its maiden flight on Aug. 8, 1946 and on June 26, 1948 the Strategic Air Command received its first B-36 for operational use. By August 1954, when production ended, more than 380 B-36s had been built for the U.S. Air Force.
In 1958-59, the B-36 was replaced by the more modern B-52. During the years it was in service, the airplane was one of America's major deterrents to aggression by a potential enemy. The fact that the B-36 was never used in combat was indicative of its value in "keeping the peace."
¥ Primary function: bomber
¥ Span: 230 feet
¥ Length: 162 feet 1 inch
¥ Height: 46 feet 9 inches
¥ Weight: 410,000 pounds loaded
¥ Armament: Sixteen M24 20mm cannons in eight nose, tail and fuselage turrets; plus bombs -- nuclear or 86,000 pounds of conventional
¥ Engines: Six Pratt & Whitney R-4360s of 3,800 horsepower each and four General Electric J-47s of 5,200 pounds thrust each