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North American XB-70 Valkyrie

The futuristic XB-70A was originally conceived in the 1950s as a high-altitude, nuclear strike bomber that could fly at Mach 3 (three times the speed of sound) -- any potential enemy would have been unable to defend against such a bomber.

By the early 1960s, however, new Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAMs) threatened the survivability of high-speed, high-altitude bombers. Less costly, nuclear-armed ICBMs (Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles) were also entering service. As a result, in 1961, the expensive B-70 bomber program was canceled before any Valkyries had been completed or flown.

Even so, the USAF bought two XB-70As to test aerodynamics, propulsion and other characteristics of large supersonic aircraft. The first XB-70A, on display here, flew in September 1964, and it achieved Mach 3 flight in October 1965. The second Valkyrie first flew in July 1965, but in June 1966, it was destroyed following an accidental mid-air collision. The third Valkyrie was not completed.

The first XB-70A airplane continued to fly and generate valuable test data in the research program until it came to the museum in 1969.

Six General Electric YJ93s of 30,000 lbs. thrust each with afterburner
Maximum speed: 2,056 mph (Mach 3.1) at 73,000 feet
Range: 4,288 miles
Service ceiling: 77,350 feet
Length: 185 feet, 10 inches
Height: 30 feet, 9 inches
Weight: 534,700 lbs. loaded

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Find Out More
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XB-70 Honeycomb
360-degree Virtual Tour
View the XB-70 on Display
Cockpit360 Images
View the XB-70 Pilot Station
View the XB-70 Copilot Station
View the XB-70 Electronic Equipment Compartment
 XB-70 Moves into Fourth Building  
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