Boeing KB-47G Stratojet

Last revised June 21, 2000



As mentioned in the previous post in this series, early in 1953 two B-47Bs were converted for trials with the British-developed hose-and-drogue aerial refuelling system. One of them was to be a tanker, the other the receiver. The tanker was redesignated KB-47G, and the receiver was redesignated YB-47F.

The KB-47G was a single B-47B (serial number 50-040) modified as a experimental hose tanker for the refuelling of the YB-47F which was fitted with a refuelling probe in its nose. During the refuelling operation, a hose and drogue system was unreeled from the bomb bay of the KB-47G, and the YB-47F would fly below and behind and use a nose probe to engage a basket trailed from the end of the hose.

The method did not prove to be practical for the inflight refuelling of the B-47, and the established flying boom system was used for the refuelling of subsequent models.

The Stratojet tanker concept was briefly revised in mid-1956, when it was found that the KB-50s of the Tactical Air Command lacked the speed and altitude performance to refuel the new Century Series fighters. On July 23, 1956, the Air Force authorized the development of a KB-47 two-drogue prototype tanker. However, the cost of the KB-47 conversion promised to be excessively high, and it was found that the addition of two auxiliary jet engines to the KB-50 provided a satisfactory albeit temporary solution to the speed problem. The Air Force canceled the KB-47 program on July 11, 1957.

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. The Boeing B-47, Peter Bowers, Aircraft in Profile, Doubleday, 1968.

  4. Boeing Aircraft Since 1916, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1989.

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