B-45 Tornado walk around
North American’s NA-130 was among the jet bomber designs submitted to the USAAF in 1944, as Allied crews began to encounter German jets over Europe – clearly, the day of the propeller driven bomber was nearing its end. Designated as the XB-45, the first of three prototypes flew in February 1947, and even with postwar cutbacks, 96 production B-45As were bought. There were numerous problems, and the Tornado lacked the B-47’s performance, but the heightening of the Cold War and the advent of smaller nuclear weapons helped save the B-45. Under Project BACKBREAKER, B-45s were refitted with extra fuel and the capability to carry nuclear stores.
B-45 on display at the NMUSAF
B-45 Further Reading
Frederick Johnsen Testbeds, Motherships and Parasites: Astonishing Aircraft From the Golden Age of Flight Test p .32: photo of an EB-45C with J79 lowered for testing; p.44 a color shot of an EB-45ZA testing a Curtiss-Wright J67.
“North American Grooms XB-45 J-P Bomber” Aviation May 1947 p.71
Photo: Closeup of an RB-45C with cameras displayed Flying May 1951 p.124
Color artwork depicting an RB-45 in flight Flying May 1952 front cover
“Allison B-45 Tests J71 Jet Engine” Aviation Week January 26, 1953 p.20
Photo: B-45 (in what looks to be an overall dark paint scheme) with a Westinghouse J40 extended from the bomb bay. Aviation Week December 7, 1954 p.7
“Pratt & Whitney Tests JTF10A-20 on B-45” Aviation Week & Space Technology April 2, 1962 p.73
Photo: RB-45C 48-012 Air Classics June 1982 p.63
Howard Myers, Jr. “We Flew Tornados” Spyplanes: America’s Covert Aircraft in Action Air Classics Special Vol. 2, 1988 Recollections of flying the RB-45C; includes a photo of one of the RAF-marked aircraft.
John W. Sheehan, Jr. “North American B-45…The USAF’s Tornado” Air International November 1988 Includes a B-45C cutaway, B-45A 3-view, XB-45 and RB-45C side view drawings.
Doug Gordon “Spies in Cold War Skies” The Aviation Historian 16/July 2016 Includes accounts of RB-45C flights in the Far East and in RAF hands over Europe, and several color photos
B-45 at Amazon
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