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.


 
 

 
Grace Lee

Pilot saves six Marines earning him the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor

Grace Lee Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, 56th Fighter Wing commander, pins the Air Force Combat Action Medal onto Capt. Aaron Cavazos, 61st Fighter Squadron weapons officer, Jan. 16 in Club Five Six at Luke Air Force Base. Cavazos was...
 
 

Financial responsibility — vital to readiness

In the “Band of Brothers” miniseries, there is a line in the movie where the soldiers are told to make sure they sign up for life insurance to ensure their next-of-kin gets $10,000 upon the soldier’s death. While none of us are about to make a combat jump in 1944 to fight the Nazis, Airmen...
 
 

Adapt, overcome, succeed

Change is inevitable, especially in today’s Air Force. If you’ve been serving for more than a few years, it’s likely you’ve experienced everything from new physical fitness requirements to the implementation of force management programs. Enlisted performance reports and feedback forms have been altered and changes to the promotion system are rapidly approaching. We expect...
 

 
Courtesy Photo

Chrach saves lives, earns recognition

Courtesy Photo Tech. Sgt. Steven Bruner, 56th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler, and Chrach, 56th SFS MWD, pose for a photo in Afghanistan during their 2012 deployment. Chrach was recently awarded the 12th A...
 
 

News Briefs January 23, 2015

VH1 concert VH1 and sponsors supporting the event are hosting a Super Bowl Blitz concert featuring Fall Out Boy and Charli XCX at 5 p.m. Jan. 30 in Hangar 999 as a “Thank you” to those who serve in the U.S. military. Members of the Luke community are invited and the concert is free. Service...
 
 
Courtesy Photo

Civilian answers AF call, gets dream job

Courtesy Photo Senior Airman Kristina Inocencio, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron engineer technician, measures the distance from the tree to the building Jan. 15 during survey training at Luke Air Force Base. One of Inocencio’s ...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin