North American B-45C Tornado

Last revised June 5, 2000



The next production version of the Tornado was the B-45C (NA-153). The B-45C differed from the B-45A in having a pair of 1200-US gallon wing tip fuel tanks which could be dropped in flight if necessary. It also featured a strengthened cockpit canopy with numerous reinforcements which replaced the completely transparent bubble canopy fitted to the earlier B-45A. The B-45C was equipped for mid-air refuelling via a boom receptacle located on the top of the fuselage. A single point ground refueling receptacle was located on the left hand side of the bomb bays. The B-45C had four 5200 lb.s.t. J47-GE-13/15 engines, and had gross weight increased from 90,000 pounds to 110,000 pounds.

Work on the B-45C began on September 22, 1947, The first B-45C flew for the first time on May 3, 1949. Production of the B-45C was completed on April 13, 1950.

The Air Force had originally planned to buy a sizeable fleet of B-45Cs, but after only ten examples were completed, the decision was made to stop production and switch over to large-scale manufacture of the new swept-winged Boeing B-47 Stratojet. 33 B-45C aircraft that were still on the production line were modified as photo-mapping and reconnaissance planes and delivered under the designation RB-45C.

The DB-45C was a B-45C conversion that was used as a director for guided weapon development.

One B-45C (48-009) was modified as an engine test bed for Pratt & Whitney J57 and J75 jet engines under the designation JB-45C. Like the JB-45A, the aircraft had the test engine attached to a pylon mounted in the bomb bay. While on the ground, the test engine was partially retracted into the bomb bay because of limited landing gear ground clearances. When in flight, the test engine was lowered into the slipstream and started.

B-45C 48-010 is on display at the USAF Museum at Wright Patterson AFB in Ohio.

Serials of B-45C:

48-001/010 	North American B-45C Tornado 
			009 converted to JB-45C 
			010 is on display at WPAFB Museum 

Specification of North American B-45C Tornado:

Engines: Four General Electric J47-GE-13/15 each rated at 5200 lb.s.t. and 6000 lb.s.t with water injection. Crew: Four (pilot, copilot-radio operator, bombardier-navigator, tail gunner) Performance: Maximum speed 579 mph at sea level, 509 mph at 32,500 feet. Cruising speed 456 mph. Stalling speed 153 mph. Initial climb rate 5800 feet per minute. Service ceiling 43,200 feet. Combat radius 1008 miles with 10,000 pounds of bombs. Ferry range 2426 miles. Dimensions: Wingspan 89 feet 0 inches (without wingtip tanks), length 75 feet 4 inches, height 25 feet 2 inches, wing area 1175 square feet. Weights: 48,903 pounds empty, 112,952 pounds gross. Armament: two 0.50-inch M-7 machine guns in tail turret. A maximum bombload of 22,000 pounds could be carried.

Sources:


  1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982.

  2. Post World War II Bombers, Marcelle Size Knaack, Office of Air Force History, 1988.

  3. Big Bodies in Motion--Flying the Best of SAC's Bombers, Howard S. Myers, Jr., Wings, August 1995.

  4. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.

  5. USAF Museum website, http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=2625