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Project for Long-range Nuclear-powered aircraft strategic bomber
Requirement WS-125
Issued by United States Air Force
Experimental HTRE reactors for nuclear aircraft (HTRE-3 left and HTRE-1 right), on display at Idaho National Laboratory near Arco, Idaho

The WS-125 was an American super long-range strategic bomber project during the Cold War to develop a nuclear-powered aircraft, which was scheduled to be designated the B-72.

In 1954, the United States Air Force (USAF) issued a weapons system requirement for a nuclear-powered bomber, designated WS-125. In 1956, GE teamed up with Convair (X211 program) and Pratt & Whitney with Lockheed in competitive engine/airframe development to address the requirement.

In 1956, the USAF decided that the proposed WS-125 bomber was unfeasible as an operational strategic aircraft. Finally, after spending more than 1 billion dollars, the project was cancelled on March 28, 1961.


Two General Electric J87 turbofan engines were successfully powered to nearly full thrust using two shielded reactors. Two experimental engines complete with reactor systems (HTRE-3 and HTRE-1) are currently[when?] located at the EBR-1 facility south of the Idaho National Laboratory 43°30′42.22″N 113°0′18″W / 43.5117278°N 113.00500°W / 43.5117278; -113.00500.

See also[edit]


  • Butler, Tony (2010). American Secret Projects. Hinckley, England: Midland Publishing. ISBN 978-1-85780-331-0.