Martin XB-51: Teutonic…all too Teutonic.

Martin XB-51: Teutonic...all too Teutonic.

The XB-51 was a three-engined ground attack prototype first flown in 1949. An outstanding design full -maybe too full- of innovations: high-advanced variable incidence wing, T-tail, innovative rotative bomb bay, etc. Fast and maneuverable, it was also too complex and in the end lost against the more prosaic British Canberra. The Canberra had “longer-legs” and was a more mature design -the USAF needed the attack bomber “yesterday.”  Anyway, Martin’s rotative bomb bay was too good to go to waste; it was adapted to the USAF Canberras. In a Solomonic gesture, the Martin got the Canberra’s fabrication license.

The XB-51’s very German shape is evident in this stunning fast take-off (almost a lift-off) later in its test program: a seven-engined monster with its three J47s jets and four RATOs.

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