Martin XB-51 (S/N 46-686) with drag chute. Note that the XB-51s are easily distinguished: the first aircraft had a large test pitot tube probe on the lower forward fuselage, and the second aircraft did not. Also the forward fuselage XB-51 logo is centered vertically on the first aircraft and much lower on the second. (U.S. Air Force photo)
(19 May 1950) The primary mission of this aircraft is low level attack for destruction by bombs and guns of surface military targets in tactical support of ground and/or naval forces.
The primary mission requires only the pilot to operate this aircraft; however, an additional crew member is required for Shoran bombing. Both crew members are located in an air conditioned pressurized compartment forward in the fuselage and are afforded positive bailout-ejection seats.
This aircraft features sweptback surfaces having thermal anti-icing, variable wing incidence for take-off and landing, variable tail incidence for trim and dive recovery, full span single slotted flaps, spoiler aileron lateral control, partial span automatic wing leading edge slats and fuselage dive brakes for glide control.
The main landing gear is of the bicycle type located in the fuselage and lateral stability is provided by wing tip gears.
The power plant installation incorporates water-alcohol thrust augmentation for take-off, a variable area tail pipe, automatic tail pipe temperature control, and continuous fuel tank purging.
Armament consists of pilot bombing facilities A-1-B gun-bomb rocket sight with radar ranging, rotary type bomb bay serving dual role of bomb carrier and bomb bay door with provisions to carry rockets, Shoran bombing system, 20mm strafing armament and passive defense consisting of engine flak protection and armor glass windshield.
Photographic facilities include a forward recording strike camera, a vertical high altitude strike and reconnaissance camera, and an aft recording camera for damage assessment of low altitude bombing and strafing.
Originally designated XA-45 (attack aircraft), the XB-51 made its first flight on Oct. 28, 1949 .
Three-jet engine medium bomber
TECHNICAL NOTES: Armament: Eight 20mm cannon in the nose and 10,400 lbs. of bombs (or eight 5-in. High Velocity Aerial Rockets carried internally) Engines: Three General Electric J47-GE-13 turbojets of 5,200 lbs. thrust each Maximum speed: 645 mph Cruising speed: 532 mph Range: 1,600 miles Service ceiling: 40,500 ft. Span: 53 ft. 1 in.
Length: 85 ft. 1 in. Height: 17 ft. 4 in.
Weight: 55,930 lbs. gross Crew: Two Serial numbers: 46-685 and 46-686