swisskloten
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What Happened To The XB70?

Sun Oct 23, 2005 5:23 am

Does anyone know a great deal about the XB70? It shocked me that the US could produce such a marvelous plane like that. For what purpose was it built? Did it ever see actual military service? Why was the plane unsuccessful? It could almost reach mach 3 with a bomb payload and I'm sure JFK (if he had lived) would not have hesitated to push the project into production phase because of the Soviets. Did the Soviet Union make anything to counter the XB70? I'm trying to put this in their perspective: the US makes a nice mach 3 bomber with long range and how do we stop them? With a Blackjack? Also, wasn't one XB70 lost during testing? I think the crew died in the tragedy. If I'm wrong, who got killed?
 
474218
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RE: What Happened To The XB70?

Sun Oct 23, 2005 5:36 am

Two were built, the second built crashed and the first is at the National Museum of the United Stares Air Force, Wright Patterson AFB, Dayton, Ohio.
 
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jetjack74
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RE: What Happened To The XB70?

Sun Oct 23, 2005 6:27 am

Quoting 474218 (Reply 1):
Two were built, the second built crashed and the first is at the National Museum of the United Stares Air Force, Wright Patterson AFB, Dayton, Ohio.

http://www.wpafb.af.mil/museum/modern_flight/mf37.htm
http://www.boeing.com/history/bna/xb70.htm
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Thorny
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RE: What Happened To The XB70?

Sun Oct 23, 2005 6:50 am

Quoting Swisskloten (Thread starter):
Did it ever see actual military service? Why was the plane unsuccessful?

By the early 1960s, following the shoot-down of a US U-2 by the Soviets, it was clear that surface to air missile technology was improving at least as quickly as aircraft were. The B-70's extreme altitude and speed were no longer enough to protect it from being shot down by missiles. At the same time the XB-70 was designed the US was also investing very heavily in the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). In the end, the B-70s high cost and limited survivability led the Air Force to cancel it in favor of Titan II and Minuteman ICBMs.

Quoting Swisskloten (Thread starter):
Did the Soviet Union make anything to counter the XB70?

Yes, the MiG-25 was a direct response to the B-70 threat.

Quoting Swisskloten (Thread starter):
I'm trying to put this in their perspective: the US makes a nice mach 3 bomber with long range and how do we stop them?

With Surface to Air Missiles and the MiG-25.

Quoting Swisskloten (Thread starter):
Also, wasn't one XB70 lost during testing?

Yes, an F-104 got caught up in an XB-70's wake while flying in close formation for a photo opportunity. The F-104 rolled over and clipped the XB-70s starboard vertical stab and then hit the outboard (folding) part of the wing, causing the XB-70 to go out of control and crash.
 
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N328KF
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RE: What Happened To The XB70?

Sun Oct 23, 2005 11:23 am

Quoting Thorny (Reply 3):
By the early 1960s, following the shoot-down of a US U-2 by the Soviets, it was clear that surface to air missile technology was improving at least as quickly as aircraft were. The B-70's extreme altitude and speed were no longer enough to protect it from being shot down by missiles.

I don't buy this. There are numerous quotes by SR-71 pilots who said that the Blackbird could outfly SAMs and AAMs for a variety of reasons. That was backed up by the guy who flew to Japan in a Foxbat.
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Thorny
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RE: What Happened To The XB70?

Sun Oct 23, 2005 12:05 pm

Quoting N328KF (Reply 4):
I don't buy this. There are numerous quotes by SR-71 pilots who said that the Blackbird could outfly SAMs and AAMs for a variety of reasons.

We're not talking about the SR-71.
 
L-188
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RE: What Happened To The XB70?

Sun Oct 23, 2005 12:15 pm

Quoting N328KF (Reply 4):
I don't buy this. There are numerous quotes by SR-71 pilots who said that the Blackbird could outfly SAMs and AAMs for a variety of reasons. That was backed up by the guy who flew to Japan in a Foxbat.

Don't buy that either.

What happened is the same thing that killed the CF-105 and the TSR.2. Namely some thinktank came out with a paper that said that manned aircraft where obsolete and that missiles where the wave of the future.
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jetjack74
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RE: What Happened To The XB70?

Sun Oct 23, 2005 1:50 pm

Quoting Thorny (Reply 3):
By the early 1960s, following the shoot-down of a US U-2 by the Soviets, it was clear that surface to air missile technology was improving at least as quickly as aircraft were. The B-70's extreme altitude and speed were no longer enough to protect it from being shot down by missiles. At the same time the XB-70 was designed the US was also investing very heavily in the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). In the end, the B-70s high cost and limited survivability led the Air Force to cancel it in favor of Titan II and Minuteman ICBMs.

This was on the show "American Bombers" on the Military Channel earlier tonight. So according to that show, this actually, this would be somewhat accurate.
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aeroweanie
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RE: What Happened To The XB70?

Sun Oct 23, 2005 2:56 pm

Quoting N328KF (Reply 4):
I don't buy this. There are numerous quotes by SR-71 pilots who said that the Blackbird could outfly SAMs and AAMs for a variety of reasons. That was backed up by the guy who flew to Japan in a Foxbat.

Yes, you are right. On the other hand, the XB-70, from what I can tell, only had a M=3 dash speed, not a M=3 cruise speed, like the SR-71. The amount of M=3 time accumulated in the XB-70 test program was measured in minutes.
 
SlamClick
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RE: What Happened To The XB70?

Mon Oct 24, 2005 7:13 am

Powers said his U-2 was hit by a missile at an altitude in excess of a hundred thousand feet. The XB-70 would not fly higher than that.

It is not enough to be able to "outrun" a missile if they can be launched ahead of you, into your path.

On the other hand, nukes raining down out of earth orbit are relatively difficult to defend against.

It was a gorgeous airplane and it contributed a lot of data but it was not militarily significant.
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HT
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RE: What Happened To The XB70?

Mon Oct 24, 2005 11:50 am

The sole surviving example can be seen in the R&D-Hangar at USAF Museum.
Please note that this hangar is on the Air Base itself and can be visited by guide tour only ! Those free tours appear to "sell" out rather quick (at least did during my visit).
BTW, the R&D-Hangar basically is a storage locattion and is much packed with a/c - so don´t expect to get too good views/shots of a/c in there. Also the 60 minutes stay is a rather short time (not to be extended) and includes also the Presidential Hangar !

http://www.wpafb.af.mil/museum/ac/an.htm
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RE: What Happened To The XB70?

Mon Oct 24, 2005 1:09 pm

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 9):
Powers said his U-2 was hit by a missile at an altitude in excess of a hundred thousand feet.

No he didn't - in "Operation Overflight" he said that he told the Soviets he was at 60,000 feet, which he said wasn't true. The performance manuals in the Aerofax book show that he could have been about 5-7,000 feet higher, so he appears to have fibbed by about 10%.
 
FTOHIST
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RE: What Happened To The XB70?

Mon Oct 24, 2005 1:35 pm

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 9):
On the other hand, the XB-70, from what I can tell, only had a M=3 dash speed, not a M=3 cruise speed, like the SR-71. The amount of M=3 time accumulated in the XB-70 test program was measured in minutes.

Actually, the B-70 concept called for Mach 3 cruise speed, and that was the intent all along. The fact that there was so little time spent above M2.9 was due to a variety of reasons, number 1 being that AV1 was restricted to a lower speed due to its construction. AV2 cruised at M3 for slightly more than 30 minutes on one flight, which was the longest of the program. It is doubtless that AV2 would have spent a lot more time above M3 had its flight test program not been cut short because of the crash. It only flew 46 flights, and it was not the intent of the program for the airplane to spend all of its time above M3. AV2 spent a lot of time investigating unstarts and other aspects of its flight regime.
 
prebennorholm
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RE: What Happened To The XB70?

Wed Oct 26, 2005 8:40 am

Quoting N328KF (Reply 4):
There are numerous quotes by SR-71 pilots who said that the Blackbird could outfly SAMs and AAMs for a variety of reasons.

It's a good and valid question, why did the SR-71 succeed while the XB-70 was scrapped as a military asset long time before first flight and built only as a research plane?

I think that the answer is:

The SR-71 had a mission. It could do something which not even the most sophisticated spy satellites couldn't do.

The XB-70 could do basically the same as an ICBM. But:
- with slower reaction time
- with shorter range
- being more vulnerable
- at a higher unit price.

The development of more precise INS navigation systems for the ICBMs probably was a major factor as well.

Also what could have been considered the forerunner of the XB-70, the M.2+ Convair B-58 Hustler, was hastily withdrawn from service as Minuteman and Polaris missiles built up numbers.

Manned bombers would fit in only at low altitude under the radar. Converted B-52 and FB-111 - later B-1. And mostly launch platforms for unmanned vehicles with innertial navigation systems, first SRAM (Short Range Attach Missile) and later various low level terrein following cruise missiles.
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jwenting
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RE: What Happened To The XB70?

Thu Oct 27, 2005 2:01 am

Quoting N328KF (Reply 4):
I don't buy this. There are numerous quotes by SR-71 pilots who said that the Blackbird could outfly SAMs and AAMs for a variety of reasons. That was backed up by the guy who flew to Japan in a Foxbat.

We now know better, but at the time the thinking in the west was that aircraft as a class were obsolete and that within a few years everything would be missiles only.

The Soviets would fire a barrage of missiles at us, and we'd counter with our own barrage of missiles.
Each volley would be met with a curtain of SAMs.

That's what killed the entire UK military aircraft industry for a decade and set the US back by years.
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Venus6971
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RE: What Happened To The XB70?

Thu Oct 27, 2005 2:59 am

The main reason the acft was retired was that it cost more $3 million a flight, I would say that is a little steep in 1964 dollars for any superpower to keep flying.
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GDB
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RE: What Happened To The XB70?

Thu Oct 27, 2005 3:19 am

Worth adding the SR-71 was a pioneer in low observables, but B-70 would have had a massive radar signature.
An easy mark for a SA-5, a far higher performer than the SA-2 that got the U-2's in Russia and Cuba.

L-188 is correct that the TSR.2 was affected by the UK 1957 Defence White Paper (no more manned aircraft - translation, the Government were keen to end the highly unpopular conscription so now we've got a nuclear deterrent, let's run with it), but not in the way he thinks.
The requirement for what became TSR.2 survived the '57 review, but being the only manned game in town for future RAF fast jets, it was 'gold plated', adding capabilities and of course much more cost, when Buccaneer S.2's (with perhaps TSR.2's radar/nav/attack system), would have done the job at much less cost.
In the end, the RAF got Buccaneers, basically Naval machines with minimum mods.
 
bhill
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RE: What Happened To The XB70?

Thu Oct 27, 2005 11:32 am

I also understand there was alot of inter-service bickering with the Navy and the SSBN program..money and politics that was one of the factors in its demise. The program on the History Channel also referenced the fighters that were designed to escort this bomber. Refueling was a big issue also

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flight152
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RE: What Happened To The XB70?

Thu Oct 27, 2005 1:40 pm

The main reason the acft was retired was that it cost more $3 million a flight

Only becasue the only 2 airframes built did not make may flights. These are not operating costs.
 
sovietjet
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RE: What Happened To The XB70?

Thu Oct 27, 2005 3:27 pm

Quoting Swisskloten (Thread starter):
Did the Soviet Union make anything to counter the XB70?

yes, the Sukhoi T-4 bomber...if by counter you mean their own bomber.

http://www.moninoaviation.com/23a.html
 
SlamClick
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RE: What Happened To The XB70?

Thu Oct 27, 2005 11:56 pm

Quoting FTOHIST (Reply 12):

Your "quote" attributes statements to me which I did not make. It somehow seems to have come from reply #8

Quoting AeroWeanie (Reply 8):
Yes, you are right. On the other hand, the XB-70, from what I can tell, only had a M=3 dash speed, not a M=3 cruise speed, like the SR-71. The amount of M=3 time accumulated in the XB-70 test program was measured in minutes.
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SlamClick
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RE: What Happened To The XB70?

Thu Oct 27, 2005 11:59 pm

Quoting AeroWeanie (Reply 11):
in "Operation Overflight" he said that he told the Soviets he was at 60,000 feet, which he said wasn't true. The performance manuals in the Aerofax book show that he could have been about 5-7,000 feet higher, so he appears to have fibbed by about 10%.

I may well have been mistaken about the numbers. It has been twenty five years since I read his book. I do recall though, that in his statements he did not want to divulge anything to the Soviets about its performance, but wanted to make it very clear to the US, who was monitoring that he had not descended before being knocked down, apparently by an overpressure from the missile detonation.
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aeroweanie
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RE: What Happened To The XB70?

Fri Oct 28, 2005 1:09 am

What altitude Powers was at depends on what weight his U-2 was at, as shown in the following chart.


Something interesting to consider is that Powers was not the only U-2 pilot to be shot down and survive. There were two Nationalist Chinese pilots who were shot down and survived, "Robin" Yeh Chang Yi on 1 November 1963 and "Jack" Chang Liyi on 10 January 1965. In "Lost Black Cats" both say that they were cruising along when hit, which shows that the SA-2 Guideline could reach the U-2's cruising altitude. By my count, seven U-2s were shot down by SA-2s (Powers, Anderson, Sheng, Yi, Lee, Liyi, Pei). For more info, see: http://home.sprynet.com/~anneled/ColdWar.html
 
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scbriml
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RE: What Happened To The XB70?

Sat Oct 29, 2005 11:49 pm

Quoting Sovietjet (Reply 19):
yes, the Sukhoi T-4 bomber...if by counter you mean their own bomber.

You mean this T-4 bomber?

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MD-90
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RE: What Happened To The XB70?

Sun Oct 30, 2005 10:17 am

Quoting HT (Reply 10):
Please note that this hangar is on the Air Base itself and can be visited by guide tour only !

I was there in 2000 and while the XB-70 was at that time outside the main hangars, you could visit the R&D and Presidential hangars just by getting a pass, and driving and parking in front of them yourself. No time limit--we probably spent more than an hour at those hangars.
 
SATL382G
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RE: What Happened To The XB70?

Sun Oct 30, 2005 10:23 am

Quoting MD-90 (Reply 24):
I was there in 2000

Base access got tougher in 2001.
"There’s nothing quite as exhilarating as being shot at and missed" --Winston Churchill
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: What Happened To The XB70?

Mon Oct 31, 2005 2:06 am

Quoting L-188 (Reply 6):
What happened is the same thing that killed the CF-105 and the TSR.2. Namely some thinktank came out with a paper that said that manned aircraft where obsolete and that missiles where the wave of the future.

That is true.

Quoting Thorny (Reply 3):
Quoting Swisskloten (Thread starter):
I'm trying to put this in their perspective: the US makes a nice mach 3 bomber with long range and how do we stop them?

With Surface to Air Missiles and the MiG-25.

The SA-2 was operational, the Mig-25 was just a concept at the time.

Quoting N328KF (Reply 4):
I don't buy this. There are numerous quotes by SR-71 pilots who said that the Blackbird could outfly SAMs and AAMs for a variety of reasons. That was backed up by the guy who flew to Japan in a Foxbat.



Quoting Thorny (Reply 5):
We're not talking about the SR-71.

The B-70 and SR-71 shared some of the same thinking in design and speed/altitude capability.

Quoting AeroWeanie (Reply 8):
On the other hand, the XB-70, from what I can tell, only had a M=3 dash speed, not a M=3 cruise speed, like the SR-71. The amount of M=3 time accumulated in the XB-70 test program was measured in minutes.

The production version, the B-70A was to have a M2.6 cruise capability, the follow-on B-70B was to cruise at M3.0. There was also a B-70C, but I don't remember what additional capabilities it would have had. These airplanes were to all replace the B-52C/D/E/& F, as well as the high maintenance B/TB-58As.

BTW, there was 2 YB-70As in production and building was stopped in 1964 or 1965 as the program was cancelled. The YB-70A would have flown much higher than the XB-70s. The YB-70A was also to have air refueling capability with the KC-135Q, which were already being modified.

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 9):
Powers said his U-2 was hit by a missile at an altitude in excess of a hundred thousand feet. The XB-70 would not fly higher than that.



Quoting AeroWeanie (Reply 11):
No he didn't - in "Operation Overflight" he said that he told the Soviets he was at 60,000 feet, which he said wasn't true. The performance manuals in the Aerofax book show that he could have been about 5-7,000 feet higher, so he appears to have fibbed by about 10%.

Gary Powers was at 67,000' when his airplane broke apart due to the overpressure from the exploding SA-2. The SA-2 was at the end of it's fuel supply and self detonates. Had there been another 15 seconds, or so, Powers and his U-2 might have made it to Norway (his intended landing base was Bodo, I believe).

Quoting Prebennorholm (Reply 13):
Also what could have been considered the forerunner of the XB-70, the M.2+ Convair B-58 Hustler, was hastily withdrawn from service as Minuteman and Polaris missiles built up numbers.

No, the B-58s were starting to be considered for retirement in 1966. They were very high maintenance airplanes. The FB-111A program was started in 1966 as it's replacement (the first YFB-111A flew within months, a F-111C with the F-111B landing gear). The final straw came in 1969, when a B-58 taxiing out for a mission, at Bunker Hill AFB (or was it Grissom AFB?) split in half. The airplanes were then all retired within 18 months, or so. The FB-111A was always planned to replace the B-58A.
 
RC135U
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RE: What Happened To The XB70?

Mon Oct 31, 2005 9:24 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 26):
The final straw came in 1969, when a B-58 taxiing out for a mission, at Bunker Hill AFB (or was it Grissom AFB?) split in half.

Any more details about that incident?
 
sovietjet
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RE: What Happened To The XB70?

Tue Nov 01, 2005 6:14 am

Quoting Scbriml (Reply 23):
You mean this T-4 bomber?

Yes that's the one

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