RB-45C “Tornado”

Aircraft Type: B-45C(NRB), S/N 48-0017, Tornado, North American

Mission: Tactical Reconnaisance.

Number Built : The Air Force accepted a grand total of 142 B-45s-XB-45s and reconnaissance versions included. Precisely, the B-45 program counted 3 experimental airplanes (one of which was completed as a preproduction example and sometimes referred to as prototype), 9 6 B-45As (some of them singled out as B-45A-5s because of in-production improvements), 10 B-45Cs , and 33 RB-45Cs. The entire small contingent (51 aircraft less than originally ordered) was produced by North American Aviation, Incorporated, of Inglewood, C alifornia, with most of the aircraft being built in a former Douglas facility at Long Beach, California.

Powerplant: 2 J47-GE-13 turbojets, 5,200 lbs. thrust each, two J47-GE-15 turbojets, 6,000 lbs. thrust.

Weight: Empty 48,903 lbs., Loaded 82,600 lbs., Maximum takeoff weight 110,000 lbs.

Dimensions: Wingspan 89’6″, Length 75’10″, Height 23′.

Performance: Maximum speed 579 MPH, Cruising speed 458 MPH, Service Ceiling 43,200 feet.

Significance of Type : On August 26, 1950, SAC’s first RB-45, a “C” model, four-engine jet reconnaissance aircraft was delivered to the 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Wing at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana. Effective November 16, 1950, the 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron moved from Barksdale AFB, Louisiana to Yokota AB, Japan. The 91st absorbed personnel and aircraft of the 31st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron, which returned to Travis AFB, California. Arrival of the RB-45s was well timed, as the RB-29s of the 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron were no longer able to perform with impunity the special missions ordered by Far East Air Force or the targeting and bomb-damage assessment photography desired by its Bomber Command. Eager to maintain its reconnaissance capability in the face of the Soviet-built MiG jets, Bomber Command on January 31, 1951 took control of the RB-45 detachment and attached it to the 91st Squadron. The RB-45 crews managed to outrun and outmaneuver the MiGs for several months. On April 9, 1951, one of the too few RB-45s barely escaped a numerically far superior enemy.

About Our B-45C(NRB) S/N 48-0017 : This B-45 was manufactured by North American Aviation, Long Beach CA and delivered to the USAF on August 15, 1950. Below are the unit assignments of this aircraft:

September 1950- To 2750th Air Base Wing (Air Materiel Command), Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio (to ERB-45C)

April 1951- To Headquarters Air Research and Development Command, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio (to ERB-45C)

June 1951- To Wright Air Development Center (ARDC), Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio

June 1954- To Pratt & Whitney Corp., Hartford, Connecticut (special test use)

November 1955- To JRB-45C

April 1957- To NRB-45C

November 1971- Dropped from inventory by transfer to the Strategic Air & Space Museum. S/N 48-0017 was the last RB-45 in service.