Air Force

August 30, 2013

This week in history

Tags:
Richard Griset
56th Fighter Wing History Office

Aug. 25, 1953: Peacemaker becomes flying aircraft carrier

B-36_F-84F_FICON_launch
The Air Force announced Aug. 25, 1953, that the Convair B-36 Peacemaker had become a “flying aircraft carrier” that could launch and recover Republic F-84 Thunderjet aircraft.

It’s hard to believe this story began with the German Blitz of England in 1940 to 1941. England took such a pounding, America was not sure Britain could withstand the onslaught. So, if America had to go it alone, it would need an intercontinental bomber that could reach Berlin. The B-36 entered the inventory in 1948 as the largest combat aircraft ever built.

With a wingspan of 230 feet, it used six piston and four jet engines with a crew of fifteen, which later shrank to nine. The Peacemaker had an approximate combat range of 4,000 miles. Additionally, it could fly over 40,000 feet, which was higher than enemy artillery, missiles, piston fighter aircraft, and even early jet aircraft could reach.

The aircraft could also carry the large nuclear weapons of its day. By 1952, the enemy’s defense had improved.

Gen. Curtis LeMay, Strategic Air Command commander, ordered three experiments with bombers carrying fighter aircraft to recon for and defend the bombers. Three efforts took shape. The first two proved unsafe, even deadly. The third, the Fighter Conveyor, or FICON, led to the 1953 announcement.

In 1952, SAC modified B-36s with a trapeze in the bomb bay. Initially a McDonnell XF-85 Goblin attached itself to the trapeze while in flight and the bomber raised the top of the aircraft into the bomb bay. In May 1953, they replaced the Goblin with the Thunderjet. While a challenge for test pilots in perfect conditions, it proved less successful in weather and with less experienced pilots.

Additionally, if the fighters carried fuel tanks, the bomber had less than six inches clearance with the ground upon landing. The FICON’s last flight was April 27, 1956. On that date, SAC was already in the process of replacing the B-36 with the Boeing B-52 Stratofortess.

Due to its strategic role and deterrence value, the Peacemaker never fired a shot or dropped a bomb in combat.

Courtesy of




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
NEW_1

Luke F-35s visit Columbus AFB

Airman 1st Class Daniel Lile A T-6 Texan II roars overhead as the pilots of two Luke Air Force Base F-35 Lightning IIs prepare to exit their aircraft July 23 at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. The pilots are Capt. Nichola...
 
 

Gillespie Loop: Honors Airman who made ultimate sacrifice

BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan — The men and women of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing came together for a road dedication ceremony to honor Master Sgt. Randy Gillespie, a fallen Airman who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Master Sgt. Randy Gillespie was a career fuels specialist who died July 9, 2007, from wounds sustained during small...
 
 

Who’s afraid of a little blood?

I have been in the Air Force for 22 years and have been a medical laboratory technician since the beginning of my career. The medical or clinical laboratory is where specimens are tested to provide information to medical providers who directly assist in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease in patients. After graduating basic...
 

 

Pursue education for career’s sake

Everyone knows education can be a good bullet on an enlisted performance report, but few know the true value of an education in regard to a military career. The pursuit of an education can be just as valuable as the degree acquired at the end. The knowledge acquired in the pursuit of an education can...
 
 
Pg-3--photo-illustration

Candid money talk improves relationship

There are many reasons why people divorce but at the top of the list are lack of communication and finances. That’s why it’s important to combine these two topics to make for a successful long-lasting relationship. “I bel...
 
 

News Briefs July 31, 2015

Total body conditioning class A new total body conditioning class is 6:30 and 9 a.m. Monday and Wednesday. The 6:30 a.m. class is broken into two half hour segments to accommodate squadron or individual physical training. The 9 a.m. class is one hour. The class consists of body weight movements and the use of equipment...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>