The Forth Worth Division of Consolidated Vultee (Convair) Aircraft Corporation initiated conceptual studies of a supersonic bomber for the USAAF in October 1946 under the Generalized Supersonic Bomber (GEBO) program. This was followed by GEBO II in March 1949, under which Convair further refined the concept. This article presents excerpts from Convair Report Nos. 3 through 5 on the GEBO II dating from April through June 1951 found in USAF files in the National Archives. (Reports 1 and 2 were missing from the files and may not have been preserved). These were submitted under contract no. AF 33(038)-2664. While some of the drawings and illustrations in these reports have been published before, several are quite new and shown here for the first time. High resolution versions of the images are available at the end of the article.
Structures & Weights
Report No. 3 focused on structures and weights and was quite technical; only a few pages are of interest to the average enthusiast, such as the excellent inboard profile shown right. The cover and introduction are shown immediately below.
The carrier was a B-36 airplane modified to permit partial stowage of the bomber in the bomb bay section. This was a swept wing version of the B-36 with turboprop power plants. The bomber was a four engine partially expendable airplane of unconventional design developed from earlier CVAC studies of tactical type supersonic airplanes. The generalized portion of the study pertained to the bombing airplane only. The carrier design remained fixed, while the bomber design was varied systematically within a preselected range of wing areas, leading edge sweeps, trailing edge sweeps, and thickness ratios. The design details of the carrier, and the methods of developing the bomber on a generalized basis, are given in the remainder of the report, the main portion of which is presented below.
Summary & Evaluation
A long range tactical striking force capable of operating at high altitudes and supersonic speeds in the combat area was believed necessary for successful penetration of future enemy defensive systems, and for aircraft survival within these systems. The operational techniques, and the bomber designs considered in this study offered a practical solution for developing a force of this nature with existing technological information on the aerodynamic, structural, and propulsion aspects of the problem.
To read the report in depth, please view the image gallery below.
Ultimately, the Air Force rejected the parasite scheme, and Convair went on to develop a more conventional bomber configuration which became the famous B-58 Hustler. For more information on GEBO and the development of the B-58, please consult Jay Miller’s excellent Convair B-58 Hustler: The World’s First Supersonic Bomber published by Midland.
All images from NARA Archives II, College Park, MD, RG 341
Readers may purchase a high resolution PDF download of the 63 plans and illustrations previewed above for just $2.99 from our shop on Gumroad.com; an example of a high resolution image is shown to the left.