An Interesting Look At the XB-48, One Of The Last Bombers Of The 40s

An Interesting Look At the XB-48, One Of The Last Bombers Of The 40s | World War Wings Videos

USAF / Public Domain

World War II brought about a lot of innovation especially when it comes to aviation. Entering the war in 1939, aircraft started becoming safer, sturdier and more maneuverable (more deadly as well,) but planes coming out of the war were whole different beasts. With the jet age taking off, aircraft had to be reshaped and redesigned to fit this new way of propulsion.

Martin XB-48 prototype taxiing, showing spaces between engines for cooling, tandem main gear, and nacelle outriggers. | USAF / Public Domain

In 1944, right before the war ended, the U.S. War Department was still thinking ahead as if the war was never going to end which meant they had to keep up with Germany’s innovations. With the jet-powered Me 262s flying overhead, the United States had to step up their jet game as well.  

In need of new, faster bombers, the government sent out an order for medium size bombers with jet propulsion. Many companies jumped on the opportunity such as North American, Convair, and Boeing. The XB-48, of which you can see a video below, was Maritn’s submission.

A picture of the Martin XB-48 in flight. | U.S. Air Force / Public Domain

They managed to put together two XB-48s by 1947, serial numbers 45-59585 and 45-59586. They required a crew of three to operate, had a top speed of 523 mph and a range of almost 2,000 miles. As with many prototypes of that time, it was too little too late.

The Boeing B-47 Stratojet, Strategic Air Command’s primary medium bomber, is among the aircraft participating in the current nuclear test series at the Nevada Test Site. Powered by six turbojet engines, this swept wing bomber can fly higher and faster than any bomber in its class. Twenty-nine of these aircraft will be used on various Teapot shots. Most of them are reconnaissance types which are being employed on photographic missions. | National Nuclear Security Administration / Public Domain

Boeing came up with the B-47 Stratojet (pictured above) at the same time and the War Department rolled along with it. It was faster, could fly longer missions and carry more payload making Martin’s XB-48 fade into history.


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