Convair B-58C Hustler

Last revised July 1, 2000



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In the late 1950s, Convair began working on a new model of the B-58, known as B-J/58 by the company and unofficially as the B-58C by the USAF. The B-58C incorporated significant airframe modifications, including a new wing leading edge, a larger tail area, a 5-foot fuselage extension. Power was to be provided by four Pratt & Whitney J58 turbojets, each offering a thrust of 32,500 lb.s.t. The aircraft was envisaged by Convair as a lower-cost alternative to the North American B-70 Valkyrie. The C-model had an estimated top speed approaching Mach 3, a supersonic cruise capability of approximately Mach 2, plus a service ceiling of about 70,000 feet.

However, the USAF deemed that the B-58C was too heavily-based on an older configuration and lacked the growth potential of the B-70. The ARDC concluded that Convair's estimate of a 5200-nautical mile unrefuelled range for the B-58C was grossly overoptimistic. In addition, the extensive use of aluminum in the structure would probably result in problems with the overheating produced by prolonged high-speed flight. Furthermore, in early 1961, the new Kennedy administration was having second thoughts about the B-70 project itself and had canceled production, reducing the program to only three experimental aircraft. Consequently, the Air Staff and SAC did not want to risk the financial interference of a new project. In April of 1961, Convair was informed by the USAF that they had no further interest in the B-58C, and further work on the project was abandoned.

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

  4. Convair B-58 Hustler: The World's First Supersonic Bomber, Jay Miller, Aerofax, 1997.

  5. USAF Museum website, http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=2690