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BOEING XB-59

Posted 7/8/2009 Printable Fact Sheet

The Boeing XB-59 was a design competitor of the Convair XB-58. The XB-59 was conceived as a Mach 2 capable medium bomber to be built as the successor to the Boeing B-47 Stratojet. Design studies were initially begun with the Boeing XB-55 project. The XB-55 was conceived as an enlarged version of the basic B-47 design, but driven by four Allison turboprop engines.

Initial production problems with the B-47 were solved, and the XB-55 project was canceled before any aircraft were built. The development funding from the XB-55 was transferred to the XB-59 and design studies continued. The basic XB-59 was to be powered by four turbojet engines. Both the Pratt & Whitney J57 and General Electric J73 were used in developmental (paper) studies. The design called for four jets to be mounted inside the inboard wing -- two on each side. The landing gear was similar to the tandem main landing gear with wingtip outrigger design used on both the B-47 and B-52.

The XB-59 contract was canceled in late 1952 after the USAF declared the Convair XB-58 the winner in the design competition. Neither the XB-58 or XB-59 was anywhere near the prototype construction phase, and the cancellation of the Boeing project was due in part to the expense of funding development of both projects through prototype flight testing and the growing belief by USAF senior staff officers that high-speed, high-altitude penetration was not going to be a viable offensive strategy during the projected initial operational capability in the early 1960s.


Type Number built/
converted
Remarks
XB-59 0 Lost to XB-58; none built


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