The B-58 Hustler was a supersonic, four-engine, strategic bomber which was used by the United States Air Force during the Cold War. The B-58 was designed and manufactured by the American firm Convair. The prototype of this aircraft made its first test flight on November 20, 1956, entering service with the US Air Force on March 15, 1960. The Hustler was phased out on January 31, 1970. Convair built 116 B-58 bombers at a cost of US$ 12.44 million per unit. Variants: B-58A, TB-58A (training aircraft), B-58B, and B-58C.
The B-58 Hustler was a large, three-seat, jet aircraft fitted with delta wings and powered by four General Electric J79 turbojet engines, capable of reaching twice the speed of sound. Its large wings were made for relatively low wing loading; nevertheless, they proved to be surprisingly well suited for low-altitude and high-speed flights. Each crew member had a novel ejection capsule that made it possible to eject at an altitude of 70,000 ft (21,000 m) at speeds up to Mach. The avionics of the B-58 consisted of a AN/APN-113 Doppler radar and a Sperry AN/ASQ-42 bombing/navigation system with the KS-39 astro-tracker to provide heading reference.
Specifications of the B-58 Hustler
Length: 96 ft 10 in (29.5 m)
Wingspan: 56 ft 9 in (17.3 m)
Engine: four General Electric J79-GE-5A turbojet engines
Maximum speed: Mach 2.0 (1,319mph) at 40,000 ft (12,000 m)
Range: 4,100 mi (7,600 km)
Service ceiling: 63,400 ft (19,300 m)
Crew: pilot; observer (radar operator/bombardier); electronic countermeasures operator and pilot assistant
Avionics: AN/APN-113 Doppler radar; a Sperry AN/ASQ-42 bombing/navigation system
Weapons: one 20mm T171 cannon; 19,450 lb (8,820 kg) of bombs (B-43 or B61 nuclear bombs)