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Aircraft & Missile Collection
Convair B-58A Hustler

General history:


Originally evolving from a 1949 USAF design competition for a supersonic bomber, the B-58 Hustler is a medium supersonic nuclear or conventional bomber that was manufactured by the Convair Fort Worth, Texas division of General Dynamics. The B-58 1st flew in 1956  and served with the USAF Strategic Air Command from August 1960 to November 1969.  30 test and 86 production aircraft, for a total of 116 examples of the Convair “Model 4”, were produced at an average cost of $12,442,000 each. Some test aircraft were later modified back to production standards. The last airframe rolled out in 1962. The type complemented the Boeing B-52 to present a complete front line bombing force.


As the worlds 1st supersonic bomber, this aircraft originally equipped the 43rd Bomb Wing of Little Rock, Arkansas and the 305th Bomb Wing at Grissom AFB, Indiana . At the peak in 1964, there were 94 operational B-58s . The B-58 was crewed by a pilot, navigator-bombardier, and defense systems operator in a somewhat unique tandem cockpit, each crew member had their own self contained escape/ejection capsule.  With the exception of a chaff dispensing system and tail mounted rotary Vulcan cannon, weapon systems were externally wing mounted or contained within an external belly pod.



The B-58 set 19 world speed and altitude records and won 6 aviation trophies (Bleriot, Harmon, Bendix, McKay, Thompson, & Saunders). It was also the 1st aircraft to drop bombs from both MACH 1 and MACH 2.[2,5]


Specific History:


This B-58 was built as YB-58A-CF on April 1959 and retained for use as a test and evaluation aircraft as YRB-58A. From November 1962 it was assigned to the 6510th Operational Maintenance Squadron. In May 1964 it was assigned to the 3345th Maintenance and Support Group at Chanute AFB, IL. as GRB-58A. In 1967 it was transferred to museum status.


Personal Accounts:


The B-58 was not particularly well by liked due to comparatively short range. Also, the small numbers of aircraft required a disproportionate share of SAC support and resources, making it expensive to operate. General LeMay, after flying the aircraft, reportedly declared it was too small …”it didn’t fit my ‘arse’.”

Wing span:     56ft 10in 

Length:           96ft 9in

Height:            31ft 5in

Wing area:     1,542 sqft 

Weight Empty: 55,560 lbs 
Max T/O Weight: 63,000 lbs
Max Speed: 1,385 mph @ 44,000ft

Normal Cruise: 610 mph

Combat Ceiling: 63,150 ft
Service Ceiling: 64,800 ft
Record Ceiling: 85,360 ft
Combat Radius: 1200 nm
Normal Range with Refuel: 4,400 nm
    4 General Electric J79-GE-5 or A,B,or C afterburner
    axial-flow turbojet engines;10,500 lb staticthrust    
    each;15,600 lb static
    thrust each with afterburner                      
    1 General Electric T-171E3 Vulcan 20mm rotary cannon
     with 1200 rounds; Nuclear & conventional bombs in 
     62 ft  long belly pod (MB-1C) . W39Y1-1 variable yield
     nuke or-component pod with mk.53 nuke 4 additional
     mk.43 nukes could be carried on wing pylons
     between fuselage and landing gear bays
<   10,924 gal internal +4156 gal in belly pod
Weapons Electronics:
   ALR-12 radar warning equipment
   ALQ-16 radar track breaker 
   MD-7 gunfire control radar
   ASQ-42 weapons control system
   ALE-16 chaff dispensing system
1.   Department of the Air Force (1967). Aerospace    Information Handbook Vol III; USAF Aerospace Vehicles
 2.  Crash of Convair B-58 Bomber. McLean, F.E.(1985). Supersonic Cruise Technology; SP-472. NASA,
Washington, DC
3.  Andrade, J.M. (1979). U.S.  Counties Publications, England. Military Aircraft Designations and Serials since 1909. Midland
This aircraft is on loan to the Chanute Air Museum from the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

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