| The B-47 Stratojet was
one of the most important airplanes every built. Its
radical new design featured swept back wings and engines hung by
pylons from the wings. Boeing used the same design for the
enormous B-52 Stratofortress. Both were very successful.
Boeing then used its knowledge and experience to build a
radically new different commercial jet airliner, the 707.
It was enormously successful and provided the basic design for
every airliner that followed.
The B-47 was the first first true modern bomber to fill the ranks of General
Curtiss Lemay's new Strategic Air Command. With long range, high
altitude capabilities, the "Stratojet" became the
backbone of SAC in the early 1950s. As fast as many early jet
fighters, with sophisticated defenses and an operational
altitude of up to 40,000 feet, the B-47 was a strong deterrent
in the early days of the nuclear standoff.
The Air Force accepted a grand
total of 2,041 B-47s, which included bombers, reconnaissance
aircraft, combat crew trainer, and drones, and others. Delivery of the last B-47E coincided with the beginning of the
aircraft phase out. Both occurred in 1957, shortly after the
93rd Bomb Wing started exchanging its B-47s for more modern
B-52s. In 1958, SAC reached its peak strength of
Stratojets: 1,367 B-47 bombers were assigned to the 30 bomb
wings (medium). Each wing had four squadrons of 15
aircraft. There were also 265 RB-47
reconnaissance plane. There was also a Combat Crew
Training Wing and four Support Squadrons/Post-Attack Command and
Control Squadrons which also flew a special electronics EB--47s.
On December 29, 1967, SAC's last B-47, exactly 20 years after the initial flight of the
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