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.


 
 

 
Lightening-within-five

Lightning over Luke …

The F-35 Lightning II isn’t the only lightning striking over Luke Air Force Base. This strike, about five miles west of the Luke flightline, was captured on camera at 1:12 a.m. Aug. 12 at the jet engine test cell.
 
 

Program smooths change from military to civilian life

It can be difficult to find work in today’s economy, even more so for families that are moving to a new area or families that are transitioning from military to civilian life. One program available to veterans is the Workforce Investment Act, which can help veterans have a smooth transition to civilian work. The 56th...
 
 

New form second chance to do EPRs right

Without fail, every time I am around a group of young NCOs, there is one subject guaranteed to come up — the enduring question of “How can I write a stronger EPR for my Airman?” My answer to this question is fairly standard and is one that a chief shared with me many years ago....
 

 

Plan for final out

How many of you are prepared for life outside of the military? Seriously, if you were told tomorrow was your final out, what would you do? We are currently in an environment where Defense Department rollbacks are a serious issue we must all contemplate. Fewer officers are being commissioned. Last year there was only one...
 
 

News Briefs August 22, 2014

Commander’s call Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, 56th Fighter Wing commander, will hold a commander’s call Monday in the Luke Air Force Base theater at 7 a.m. for Airmen, 9 a.m. for NCOs, 11 a.m. for senior NCOs, 1 p.m. for civilians, 3 p.m. for officers and 5 p.m. for those not able to make another...
 
 
Airman 1st Class 
JAMES HENSLEY

Commandant challenges students to be best

Airman 1st ClassJAMES HENSLEY Master Sgt. Sheris Poisson, 56th Force Support Squadron Airman Leadership School commandant, briefs students Aug. 12 about the active-shooter exercise Aug. 15 at Luke Air Force Base. Poisson asked ...
 




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