|The Convair NB-36 in flight, with a B-50.|
|Primary user||United States Air Force|
|Developed from||Convair B-36|
|Developed into||Convair X-6|
The Convair NB-36H was a bomber that carried a nuclear reactor. It was also known as the "Crusader". It was created for the Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion program, or the ANP, to show the feasibility of a nuclear-powered bomber. Its development ended with the cancellation of the ANP program.
Design and development
The NB-36H was converted from a B-36H that had been damaged by a tornado. The original crew and avionics cabin was replaced by a massive lead- and rubber-lined 11 ton crew section for a pilot, copilot, flight engineer and two nuclear engineers. Even the small windows had 10-12 inch thick lead glass. Unlike the planned Convair X-6, the three-megawatt air-cooled reactor in the NB-36H did not power any of the aircraft's systems, nor did it provide propulsion, but was placed on the NB-36H to measure the effectiveness of the shielding.
The NB-36H completed 47 test flights and 215 hours of flight time (during 89 of which the reactor was operated) between September 17, 1955, and March 1957 over New Mexico and Texas. Although it was never used, there was a direct hotline[dubious ] to the President's office set up in case of a nuclear accident on board the aircraft.
- Crew: 5
- Length: 49.38m (162 ft 1in)
- Wingspan: 70.10m (230 ft)
- Height: 14.23m (46 ft 8in)
- Wing area: 4,770 ft² (443.3 m²)
- Loaded weight: 162,305 kg (357,500Ib)
- "Convair NB-36H "The Crusader"". National Museum of the US Air Force. 2009-06-26. Retrieved 2012-01-24.
- "Convair NB-36: Bomber Aircraft with an Internal Nuclear Reactor". Avia Time. 25 March 2013. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
- "Converted B-36 bomber (NB-36H)". The U.S. Nuclear Weapons Cost Study Project. Brookings Institution. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
- Colon, Raul (2007-08-06). "Flying on Nuclear, The American Effort to Built a Nuclear Powered Bomber". The Aviation History Online Museum. Retrieved 2012-01-24.
- Atomic Energy Commission and Department of Defense (February 1963). Report to the Congress of the United States – Review of manned aircraft nuclear propulsion program (PDF). The Comptroller General of the United States. p. 141. Retrieved 2012-01-24.
- Winchester, Jim. Concept Aircraft: Prototypes, X-Planes, and Experimental Aircraft. Thunder Bay Press, 2005. ISBN 978-1592234806
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