The Convair B-36 peacemaker was developed by Convair in service with the United States Air Force (USAF) as a strategic bomber between 1949 and 1959. Produced from 1946 to 1954, the B-36 Peacemaker is the largest piston-powered combat aircraft ever built.
On August 20, 1945, the B-36 was launched, and on August 8, 1946, the aircraft took to the air for the first time. It was the sole American bomber aircraft capable to deliver substantial first-generation atomic bombs. The aircraft had the Grand Slam Installation enabling it to carry sizeable atomic weapons.
However, it was disputably outdated from the beginning because of its piston engines, combined with the worldwide development of first-generation jet fighters in possible rival air forces. The aircraft was the main nuclear weapon delivery vehicle of the Strategic Air Command before the jet-powered Boeing B-52 Stratofortress entered service in 1955.
The B-36 had several variants starting with the XB-36, the prototype powered by six R-4360-25 engines. The B-36A is the production version without armaments, used for training. The B-36B is the armed production version with powered by six R-4360-41 engines.
The B-36J could carry thirteen crew members. It had an external length of 49.4 meters, an external height of 6.2 meters, a tail height of 14.25 meters, and a fuselage diameter of 3.5 meters. It had a wingspan of 70,10 meters and a wing area of 443.3 square meters. The wheelbase is 18 meters.
It was powered by six Pratt and Whitney R-4360-53 Wasp Major 28-cylinder 4-row air-cooled radial piston engines rated at 3,800 horsepower each for take-off or four General Electric J47 turbojet engines rated at 5,200 lbf each in pylon mounted pods outboard of piston engines.
It also featured three-bladed Curtiss Electric constant-speed fully-feathering pusher propellers. The aircraft has an empty weight of 75,371 kg, a maximum takeoff weight of 185,973 kg, and a fuel capacity of 30600 gallons.
The maximum speed is 378 knots and the cruise speed is 200 knots. It has a combat range of 3,463 nautical miles and a ferry range of 8,700 nautical miles. It can fly up to 43,600 feet and can climb up to 1,995 feet per minute. The aircraft is equipped with one remotely tail turret with 2×20 mm M24A1 autocannon and 39,009 kg bombs with weight restrictions, or 32,659 kg if normal.