Academic journal article Air Power History

History Mystery

Academic journal article Air Power History

History Mystery

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Our Winter 2009 mystery aircraft was the North American B-45 Tornado. Everyone who identified the aircraft with the generic term B-45 was credited with the correct answer.

Our photo in the last issue depicted a JB-45A (47-049) used as a jet engine testbed for Westinghouse, with a retractable engine under its fuselage. A different aircraft, a JB-45C (48-008) tested engines for General Electric.

The B-45, which was the first operational American jet bomber and made its maiden flight in 1947. A B-45A squadron was formed at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., the following year. A proposed B-45B version was never built and only a handful of B--45C models served as bombers, including the aircraft depicted in our follow-up photo by David W. Menard.

In atmospheric nuclear tests in the Pacific in 1951 and 1952, the B-45 dropped real atomic bombs twice. The B-45 made the first-ever European deployment of tactical nuclear weapons 1954. …

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