Design studies for a manned supersonic bomber began in 1949 and continued into the 1950s. The first Hustler flew in 1956 and the type entered service in 1960. The B-58 is the world’s first supersonic bomber and the first to reach Mach 2 as well. During its career the B-58 set 19 different speed, altitude, and payload world records, some of which still stand. The Hustler was very technologically advanced for its time, it was the first aircraft to be built with a stellar inertial navigation system, the first to use stainless steel honeycomb construction, and the first to use encapsulated ejection seats. The B-58 suffered from an unfortunately high accident rate during the first years of its service and this combined with very high operating costs caused only 116 to be built and they were removed from service in 1970, after less than 10 years of operational service.
305th Bombardment Wing, Grissom AFB, Indiana, 1969
Pima Air & Space Museum
Creating unlimited horizons in aerospace education through the preservation and presentation of the history of flight.
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