By Bryan Hubbard
Scientist, aviators and military
strategist have worked on creating useful jet aircraft since the 1930s,
but it was the Cold War that saw the greatest number of jet experiments.
The experiments pushed the envelope of
performance and design. Some of the design even tested aesthetic sensibilities of Pentagon officials.
|The XB-35 sits ready for one of
its few test flights. The XB-35 was among many of the
X-jets developed during the Cold War to test designs for long
range bombers. (U.S. Air Force photo)
Ranging from flying wings to modest
modifications to proven airframes; the x-jets of the Cold War, their
engineers and test pilots made huge contributions to military airpower
and general aviation.
Concepts made famous by planes like the B-52
Stratofortress, the B-2 Stealth Bomber and even the Concorde were put to
the test by these pioneering aircraft. While the the testing of
these aircraft cost many lives, the contributions made future flights
much safer and proved invaluable to the development of intercontinental
bombers. By contributing to the development of strategic airpower,
many scholars believe these early explorations in bomber aircraft share
credit with the development of intercontinental missiles for America's
eventual Cold War victory.