One of two YB-60's built at the Fort Worth Convair plant. (Air Force plant 4).  One was completed and was flown, the other was never finished and both were scrapped after losing the competition for an all-jet heavy bomber to the B-52.   The YB-60 was 72% B-36.  The long boom on the nose was for gathering flight test data, and would not be installed on production models.  The engine strut design was salvaged for use on the B-58 and the B-58 struts were essentially identical to those shown here.

>From the Squadron/Signal book:<

The problem of increasing B-36 speed had led Convair engineers to develop a swept-wing configuration in 1950.  At first six turbo-prop engines were considered but before long it became apparent that eight jet engines of the same J-57 type to be used on the B-52 were the most promising powerplants.  On March 5, 1951, Air Force authorized two prototypes to be modified from production aircraft numbers 151 and 165.  Originally these B-36Fs were to be renamed B-36Gs, but eventually the designation YB-60 was applied to this very different airframe.  With 72% parts commonality with the B-36, Convair finished the first YB-60 (49-2676) quickly.  It made its first flight on April 18,1952.

A wider center chord on the new wing increased the wing area to 5,239 sq. ft., but the sweepback reduced span to 206'S".  Including the instrument probe at the end of the streamlined nose, the YB-60 was 175'2" long, and the sweptback tail was 60'S" high.  Eight Pratt & Whitney XJ-57-P-3 turbo-jets, 8,700 lb. thrust each, were paired in four pods.  While bomb capacity remained the same as the B-36F, the three forward turrets were omitted from the start, and the four retractable rear turrets were later deleted, leaving only the twin 2Omm tail guns controlled by ANIAPG-32 radar. Crew requirements were then limited to five men, all in the forward pressurized compartment. A retractable tail wheel was added to balance load changes.  Weight was calculated at 153,016 lb. empty, and 410,000 lb. at takeoff.   At a combat weight of 260,250 lb. performance included a top speed of 508 mph at 39,250, a 44,650 ft. combat ceiling, a combat radius of 2,920 miles with 10,000 lb. bomb load, and a ferry range of 6,192 miles with a 38,500 gallon fuel load.  In spite of an impressive improvement over the performance of the B-36, the YB-60 was inferior in most respects to the Boeing B-52.

About 40 hours were logged by the YB-60-1 before it was finally officially delivered on June 25, 1954.  Full tactical equipment, including guns, K-3A system and ECM were supposed to have been installed on the second YB-60, but the Air Force never did supply engines, and the aircraft was delivered without flight tests July 8, 1954.  Both were scrapped shortly afterwards.  A proposal to have B-60 replace the B-36 on Fort Worth production lines was never seriously considered in view of the B-52's superior performance.

 

YB-60

Scanned from original Convair photo.

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