|1946 design then designated XA-44|
|Status||Cancelled in 1949|
|Primary user||United States Air Force|
The Convair XB-53 was a proposed jet-powered medium bomber aircraft, designed by Convair for the United States Army Air Forces. With a radical tailless, forward-swept wing design, the aircraft appeared futuristic; however, the project was canceled before either of the two prototypes were completed.
Design and development
The project was originally designated XA-44 in 1945 under the old "attack" category. An unusual forward-swept wing-design powered by three J35-GE turbojets, the project was developed in parallel with Convair's XB-46. It would have a wing with a 30° forward-sweep and 8° dihedral that was borrowed from German wartime research. The swept-forward configuration would give the aircraft a greater climb rate and maneuverability. It looked promising enough at one point for the Army Air Force to consider canceling the XB-46 in favor of the XA-44, since there was not enough funding for both.
Classified as a medium bomber, the XB-53 would have carried up to 12,000 pounds of bombs as well as 40 High Velocity Aerial Rockets (HVAR) mounted on underwing pylons.
Convair argued for completion of the XB-46 prototype as a flying testbed, without armament and other equipment, and with the substitution of two XA-44s for the other two B-46 airframes on contract. The Air Force ratified this in June 1946 but the project did not progress, nor were additional B-46s built. The XA-44 was redesignated XB-53 in 1948 when the "attack" category was dropped, but the project was canceled before the two prototypes were completed. The XA-44 program was reinstated in February 1949 but only for a short while.
Specifications (XB-53 estimated)
Data from 
- Crew: four
- Length: 79 ft 5 in (24.2 m)
- Wingspan: 80 ft 9 in (24.6 m)
- Height: 23 ft 8 in (7.22 m)
- Wing area: 1,370 sq ft (127 m2)
- Empty weight: 31,760 lb (14,406 kg)
- Max takeoff weight: 60,000 lb (27,216 kg)
- Powerplant: 3 × General Electric J35 turbojets, 4,000 lbf (18 kN) thrust each
- Maximum speed: 504 kn; 933 km/h (580 mph)
- Service ceiling: 44,000 ft (13,000 m)
- Bombs: 12,000 lb (5,443 kg)
- Related lists
- "Fact sheet: Convair XB-53." National Museum of the US Air Force. Retrieved: 23 May 2010.
- Jones 1974, p. 1980–1982.
- Andrade, John M. U.S. Military Aircraft Designations and Serials since 1909. Earl Shilton, Leicester: Midland Counties Publications, 1979. ISBN 0-904597-22-9.
- Jones, Lloyd S. U.S. Bombers, B-1 1928 to B-1 1980s. Fallbrook, California: Aero Publishers, 1962, second edition 1974. ISBN 0-8168-9126-5.
- Knaack, Marcelle Size. Encyclopedia of U.S. Air Force Aircraft and Missile Systems, Volume II - Post-World War II Bombers 1945-1973. Washington, D.C.: Office of Air Force History, USAF, 1988. ISBN 0-912799-59-5.
- Wagner, Ray. American Combat Planes - Second Edition. Garden City, New York: Doubleday and Company, 1968. ISBN 0-370-00094-3.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Convair XB-53.|
- Convair XB-53, from USAF Museum
- Convair XB-53, from "Aviation Enthusiast Corner" (has drawing at bottom of page)
- Fantastic Plastic model of the Convair XB-53