Convair RB-58A Hustler 3/4 rear view (S/N 58-1015). Photo taken on April 13, 1960, after the right main landing gear (tires) failed on take off at Edwards AFB, Calif.. Note the drag chute compartment and the lack of a tail gun. (U.S. Air Force photo)
The last 17 service test B-58 aircraft were completed as RB-58A reconnaissance bombers. Of the 30 pre-production aircraft ordered, nearly all carried two, three or even four different designations during their service life. The RB-58As were ordered as YB-58A, but redesignated RB-58A on the production line. These aircraft were intended to carry a reconnaissance pod, but most were used in test programs along with the XB-58 and YB-58A aircraft.
Most of the RB-58As were brought up to B-58A production standards and used in operational units. One RB-58A was converted to a TB-58A trainer, one aircraft was retained for static stress and fatigue testing, and three aircraft were destroyed in test program crashes between 1958 and 1960.
TECHNICAL NOTES: Armament: Designed for one 20mm cannon in tail; nuclear weapons in pod or on under-wing pylons (some RB-58As were armed, after conversion to B-58A standards) Engines: Four General Electric J79-GE-5or -5A turbojets of 15,600 lbs. thrust each with afterburner Maximum speed: 1,325 mph Cruising speed: 610 mph Range: 4,400 miles maximum ferry range Service ceiling: 64,800 ft. Span: 56 ft. 10 in. Length: 96 ft. 10 in. Height: 31 ft. 5 in. Weight: 163,000 lbs. maximum Crew: Three (pilot, navigator/bombardier, defensive systems operator) Serial numbers: 58-1007 to 58-1023