The Boeing B-47 Stratojet (Boeing company designation Model 450) is a retired American long-range, six-engined, turbojet-powered strategic bomber designed to fly at high subsonic speed and at high altitude to avoid enemy interceptor aircraft. The primary mission of the B-47 was as a nuclear bomber capable of striking targets within the Soviet Union.
Development of the B-47 can be traced back to a requirement expressed by the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) in 1943 for a reconnaissance bomber that harnessed newly developed jet propulsion. Another key innovation adopted during the development process was the swept wing, drawing upon captured German research. With its engines carried in nacelles underneath the wing, the B-47 represented a major innovation in post-World War II combat jet design, and contributed to the development of modern jet airliners
The USAF Strategic Air Command operated multiple B-47 models (B-47s, EB-47s, RB-47s and YRB-47s) from 1951 through 1965. Upon entry to service, its performance was closer to that of contemporary fighters than SAC’s extant B-36 Peacemaker bomber, setting multiple records with ease. It handled well in flight, the controls having a fighter-like light touch. The large bubble canopy enhanced the flying crew’s vision and gave a fighter-like feel, but also caused internal temperature variations for the crew. The three-man crew consisted of the commander, copilot and a navigator/bombardier or a crew chief.
In 1953 the B-47 became operational. It was sluggish on takeoff and too fast on landings, an unpleasant combination. If landed at the wrong angle, the B-47 would “porpoise”, bouncing fore-and-aft. If the pilot did not lift off for another go-around, instability would quickly cause it to skid onto one wing and cartwheel.
Role Strategic bomber/Aerial reconnaissance
National origin United States
First flight 17 December 1947
Introduction June 1951
Status Withdrawn from service
Primary user United States Air Force
Number built 2,032
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The first 10 aircraft were designated “B-47A”, and were strictly evaluation aircraft, the first delivered in December 1950. While the XB-47s had been built by at Boeing’s Seattle plant, all B-47s were built at a government-owned factory in Wichita, Kansas that had previously built B-29s. Their configuration was close to the XB-47. They were fitted with J47-GE-11 turbojets, offering the same 5,200 lbf (23 kN) thrust as the earlier J47-GE-3, and also featured the built-in rocket-assisted-take-off (RATO) bottles
The final recorded flight of a B-47 was on 17 June 1986, when a B-47E was restored to flightworthy condition for a one-time ferry flight. This aircraft was flown from Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California, to Castle Air Force Base, California, for static display at the Castle Air Museum, where it presently resides
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