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YB-60 prototype, Convair B-36F-5 is in the background.
Role Strategic bomber
Manufacturer Convair
First flight 18 April 1952
Status Canceled 14 August 1952
Number built 2
Program cost US$14.3 million for program[1]
Developed from Convair B-36

The Convair YB-60 was an American experimental bomber prototype for the United States Air Force canceled on 14 August 1952.

Design and development

On 25 August 1950, Convair issued a formal proposal for a swept-winged version of the B-36 with all-jet propulsion. The United States Air Force was sufficiently interested that on 15 March 1951, the USAF authorized Convair to convert two B-36Fs (49-2676 and 49-2684) as B-36Gs. Since the aircraft was so radically different from the existing B-36, the designation was soon changed to YB-60.

The YB-60 had 72% parts commonality with its piston-engined predecessor. The fuselages of the two aircraft were largely identical, although the YB-60 had a longer, pointed nose with a needle-like instrument probe instead of the B-36's rounded nose; its tail surfaces were swept to match the wings and a wedge-shaped insert added at the wing root. The swept wings also used many B-36 parts. The YB-60's unofficial competitor for an Air Force contract was Boeing's B-52 Stratofortress. Convair's proposal was substantially cheaper than Boeing's since it involved modifying an existing design rather than starting from scratch. Like the B-52, it was powered by eight Pratt & Whitney J57-P-3 turbojets mounted in pairs in four pods suspended below the wing.

Instead of the B-36's crew of 15, the YB-60's crew numbered only ten. Production B-60s were to have defensive armament similar to the B-36.

Convair YB-60 serial number 49-2676 made its maiden flight on 18 April 1952, piloted by Beryl Erickson. The Boeing YB-52 beat the Convair aircraft into the air by three days. The YB-60 was approximately 100 mph (160 km/h) slower than the YB-52 and also had severe handling problems. It carried a heavier bomb load—72,000 lb (33,000 kg) against 43,000 lb (20,000 kg) for the YB-52—but the Air Force did not see the need for the extra capacity given the YB-60's other drawbacks. Later "big belly" modifications increased the B-52's bomb load to 60,000 pounds (27,000 kg).

The flight test program was canceled on 20 January 1953 with 66 flying hours accumulated, and a second prototype was never completed. The airframe was built, but it was not fitted with engines or much other equipment. Since Convair completed their prototype contract satisfactorily, both YB-60s were formally accepted by the Air Force in 1954. The operational aircraft never flew again, and both airframes were scrapped by July.

Specifications (YB-60)

A YB-60 in flight.

General characteristics

  • Crew: 5 (2 pilots ,navigator ,bombardier /radio operator ,radio operator/tail gunner )
  • Length: 171 ft (52.1 m)
  • Wingspan: 206 ft (62.8 m)
  • Height: 60 ft 6 in (18.4 m)
  • Wing area: 5,239 ft2 (486.7 m2)
  • Empty weight: 153,016 lb (69,407 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 160,000 lb (73,000 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 300,000 lb (140,000 kg)
  • Powerplant: 8 × Pratt & Whitney J57-P-3 turbojets, 8,700 lbf (38 kN) each


  • Maximum speed: 508 mph (411 knots, 818 km/h) at 29,250 ft (8,915 m)
  • Stall speed: 115 knots (132 mph, 212 km/h)
  • Combat radius: 2,920 mi (2,540 nm, 4,700 km)
  • Ferry range: 8,000 mi(7,000 nm, 13,000 km)
  • Service ceiling: 53,300 ft (16,200 m)
  • Rate of climb: 1,060 ft/min (5.38 m/s)
  • Wing loading: 31 lb/ft2 (150 kg/m2)
  • Thrust/weight: 0.44


  • Guns:20 mm (0.787 in) cannon in tail
  • Bombs: 72,000 lb (33,000 kg)

See also


  1. Knaack, Marcelle Size (1988). Post-World War II bombers, 1945-1973. Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-16-002260-6. 
  • Jacobsen, Meyers K. and Wagner, Ray. B-36 in Action (Aircraft in Action No.42). Carrollton, TX: Squadron/Signal Publications, Inc., 1980. ISBN 0-89747-101-6.
  • Jones, L.S. U.S. Bombers, B-1 1928 to B-1 1980s. Fallbrook, CA: Aero Publishers, Inc., 1962 (second edition 1974). ISBN 0-8168-9126-5.

External links

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