Exerpt from the February 14, 1949 Life Magazine

At 4 a.m. one morning last November at Boeing's Seattle plant a huge tarpaulin-covered shape was rolled out to the test areas under armed guard. The shape under the canvas was that of the Air Force's newest and world's biggest jet bomber, the XB-52, a 350,000-pound plane built on lines of a jet fighter. In the drawing above, Artist John T. McCoy shows the power and beauty of the plane which is the culmination of 35 years of progress in U.S. military aviation. In the drawings on the following pages, McCoy traces the ancestry of the XB-52 back to the wood-and fabric biplanes of World War I, then shows the developments of the fighter from the Spads bought from France in 1918 to today's 700-mph jets and illustrates how far the Navy has come from its 85-mph flying boats. The untested XB-52, still far from the production line, will be of no immediate help to the Air Force. It will do nothing to alleviate the frightening shortage of every type of combat plane, which the lagging rearmament program has brought about. But when, in three or four years, it is in mass production, the XB-52 should be an extraordinary weapon. Into it will go the top secret devices of the Air Force. In its nose will be a radar bomb sight designed to hit targets with visibility zero from altitudes higher than 10 miles. Under its wings are slung eight newly developed J-57 turbojets whose thrust, equivalent to about 80,000 hp, will drive the XB-52 at around 550 mph. In its fuselage are immense fuel tanks which, fed by flying tankers, will make the XB-52 an intercontinental bomber. Click Link Below to Read Full Article.

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