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Best Nuclear Bomber?


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#1 Ricky

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 07:58 PM

You always hear a lot of praise for the British V-bombers, but how did they really stack up against their American and Soviet counterparts?
(thinking about the B-36, the B-47 and B-52 for the Americans and the Tu-95 for the Soviets... but always welcome to include more)

#2 Flo

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 06:09 PM

Strategic bombers aren't really my thing, Ricky.

RAF colleges were always banging on about Vulcans, though. The light blue believed it was better than anything the Americans or Russians had and was retired early...

That might be a service thing, though. The Andrew tend to think USN kit rocks (it generally doesn't) while my Army mates are always lecturing me on how reliable Soviet kit is (again, my admittedly limited experience runs counter). The crabs are convinced that everything they operate is great. I'm not convinced by any of 'em! ;) Makes for a fun night down the Legion, though. :D

#3 Ricky

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 09:01 PM

My interest was piqued when I was watching 'Classic British Aircraft' on Discovery History (not necessarily reliable for facts but some great footage and interviews with pilots). A former Victor pilot was claiming that the Victor was better than the Vulcan, and that started me thinking...

#4 Ricky

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 12:54 PM

So I decided to do a little comparing of placard stats

The aircraft compared were (in order of when they entered service):

Convair B-36 (1949)
Boeing B-47 (1951)
Tu-16 (1954)
Boeing B-52 (1955)
Avro Vulcan (1956)
Tu-95 (1956)
Handley Page Victor (1958)

So...

Speed
Tu-16 (652mph)
Boeing B-52 (650 mph)
Handley Page Victor (627mph)
Avro Vulcan (607mph)
Boeing B-47 (607mph)
Tu-95 (592mph)
Convair B-36 (418mph)

Ceiling
Handley Page Victor (56,000ft)
Avro Vulcan (55,000ft)
Boeing B-52 (50,000ft)
Convair B-36 (43,600ft)
Tu-16 (41,995ft)
Tu-95 (39,370ft)
Boeing B-47 (33,100ft)

Range
Convair B-36 (10,000m)
Boeing B-52 (8,800m)
Tu-95 (8,200m)
Handley Page Victor (6,000m)
Tu-16 (4,474m)
Boeing B-47 (4,000m)
Avro Vulcan (2,607m)

Bombload
Convair B-36 (86,000lb)
Boeing B-52 (70,000lb)
Handley Page Victor (35,000lb)
Tu-95 (26,500lb)
Boeing B-47 (25,000lb)
Avro Vulcan (21,000lb)
Tu-16 (20,000lb)

Obviously a good strategic bomber needs to be good in all categories, so using a very simple scoring method (7 points for being best in the category down to 1 point for being worst, then add all the category scores) you get this:

B-52 = 23
Victor = 21
B-36 = 19
Tu-16 = 14
Tu-95 = 13
Vulcan = 13
B-47 = 9


Which is a little surprising to me - mostly the B-36 being third.
However, this does show up the limitations of my system. The B-36 does well because it wins 2 categories, range and bombload, though it does this by being HUGE.

#5 flying kiwi

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 03:10 PM

The survivability of each bomber on a mission, at least until reaching the target, would also be important. From what I understand, once they decided that low level penetration was the best option, the Vulcan was a better option than the Victor. There are a lot of stories of them doing very well during Red Flag exercises, including flying in low with a Buccaneer hiding under each wing.

#6 ChrisMcD

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 09:29 PM

AFAIK the Vulcan was not easy to spot on radar low down and it's countermeasures kit was good as well.

Hence all the panics about being able to bomb New York!

http://en.wikipedia....ation_Skyshield

So, pretty and effective.

If not the Vulcan it has to be the Peacemaker - six turning, four burning and what a bomb load!

#7 Ricky

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 09:05 AM

If not the Vulcan it has to be the Peacemaker - six turning, four burning and what a bomb load!


And what a target! Low, slow and big...

#8 ChrisMcD

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 09:01 PM

And what a target! Low, slow and big...


Hi Ricky,

Not necessarily!

To quote that expert source Wikipedia (cos I am lazy)

The B-36 was believed to have "an ace up its sleeve": a phenomenal cruising altitude for a piston-driven aircraft, made possible by its huge wing area and six 28-cylinder engines, putting it out of range of all piston fighters, early jet interceptors, and ground batteries.

In 1954, the turrets and other nonessential equipment were removed, resulting in a "featherweight" configuration believed to have resulted in a top speed of 423 mph (700 km/h),and cruise at 50,000 ft (15,000 m) and dash at over 55,000 ft (16,800 m), perhaps even higher.

The large wing area and the option of starting the four jet engines gave the B-36 a wide margin between stall speed (VS) and maximum speed (Vmax) at these altitudes. This made the B-36 more maneuverable at high altitude than the USAF jet interceptors of the day, which either could not fly above 40,000 ft (12,000 m), or if they did, were likely to stall out when trying to maneuver or fire their guns.

#9 Edgar Brooks

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 04:10 PM

Hi Ricky,
The B-36 was believed to have "an ace up its sleeve": a phenomenal cruising altitude for a piston-driven aircraft, made possible by its huge wing area and six 28-cylinder engines, putting it out of range of all piston fighters, early jet interceptors, and ground batteries.

Just like the U-2?:D
Staying with the topic, there can only be one contender, and that's the B-29; all others are what-ifs.

#10 oldbutnotwise

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 06:47 PM

what about the B36, B47 and B52, all have all dropped nukes at some point, admittedly mostly buy accident




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