After World War II, the Western Civilization saw the United States ascendancy as a world superpower and, as such, it had the economic and industrial capacity to develop and produce advanced long range bombers, which served as deterrence against the Soviet Block in the Cold War scenario. Under the Tactical Air Command of the US Air Force, they were on full alert twenty-four hours a day for any sign of hostile Soviet encroachment upon the United States’s airspace.
List of US bombers in service during the Cold War
– B-29 Superfortress. In service: from 1944 to 1960. Bombload capacity: 20,000 lb (9,000 kg). Range: 3,250 miles (5,230 km). Engines: 4. Manufacturer: Boeing
– B-36 Peacemaker. In service: from 1949 to 1959. Bombload capacity: 86,000 lb (39,000 kg). Range: 10,000 miles (16,000 km). Engines: 6. Manufacturer: Convair.
– B-45 Tornado. A strategic bomber, which participated in the Korean War. It was powered by 4 jet engines. Bombload capacity: 22,000 lb (10,000 kg). Manufacturer: North American Aviation. Years in service: 1948 – 1959.
– B-47 Stratojet. In service: from 1951 to 1969. Bombload capacity: 25,000 lb (11,000 kg). Range: 4,647 miles (7,478 kg). Engines: 6 General Electric turbojets. Manufacturer: Boeing.
– B-50 Superfortress. A B-29 update, with longer range and more bombload capacity as it was equipped with more powerful engines.
– B-57 Canverra. In service: from 1954 to 1983. Bombload capacity: 7,300 lb (3,300 kg). Range: 2,720 miles (4,380 km). Engines: 2 turbojets. It was an American version of the English Electric Canverra.
– B-52 Stratofortress. In service: from 1955 up to the present. Bombload capacity: 70,000 lb (31,500 kg). Range: 10,145 miles (16,232 km). Engines: 8. Manufacturer: Boeing.
– B-66 Destroyer. Light tactical bomber introduced in 1956 and retired in 1973. It was a subsonic aircraft, which had swept wings mounted high on the fuselage (shoulder wings) and was powered by two jet engines.
– B-58 Hustler. In service: from 1960 to 1970. Bombload: 19,450 lb (8,820 kg). Range: 4,700 miles (7,600 kg). Engine: 4 turbojets. Supersonic speed of Mach 2.0. Manufacturer: Convair.
– B-1 Lancer. Introduced in 1974, it is still in service. It has a bombload capacity of 75,000 lb (34,000 kg) in bomb bays + 50,000 lb (23,000 kg) on six external hard points. Range: 7,455 miles (12,000 km). Engines: 4 General Electric turbofans. Manufacturer: Rockwell
Below: the B-52 Superfortress, the iconic bomber of the Cold War period