B-66 Destroyer

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Douglas B-66 Destroyer
Douglas B-66 Destroyer
Douglas B-66 Destroyer
Roletactical bomber (also reconnaissance)
First Flight1954
ManufacturerDouglas Aircraft Company
Length75 ft 2 in 22.9 m
Wingspan72 ft 6 in22.1 m
Height23 ft 7 in7.2 m
Wing area780 ft²72.5 m²
Empty42,540 lb19,300 kg
Loaded57,800 lb26,200 kg
Maximum takeoff83,000 lb38,000 kg
Engines2 × Allison J71-A-11 or -13 turbojets
Thrust10,200 lbf45 kN
Maximum speed631 mph1,000 km/h
Combat range900 miles1,400 km
Ferry range2470 miles4,000 km
Service ceiling39,400 ft12,000 m
Rate of climb5000 ft/min1,500 m/min
Wing loadinglb/ft²kg/m²
AvionicsAPS-27 and K-5 radars
Guns2 × 20mm cannon in tail turret
Bombs15,000 lb 680 kg

The Douglas B-66 Destroyer was a Strategic Air Command light bomber based on the United States Navy's A3D Skywarrior, and intended to replace the Douglas B-26 Invader. A RB-66 photo-reconnaissance version was ordered simultaneously.

At first, the Air Force thought the conversion would be an easy matter of removing the carrier-specific features, so no prototypes were ordered, just five pre-production RB-66A models (the reconnaissance mission was deemed higher priority). The list of modifications grew, and before long, the easy conversion became a substantially new aircraft. Many of the changes were due to the Air Force's requirement for low-level operations, while the Navy plane was a high-altitude bomber.

The first RB-66A preproduction aircraft flew in 1954, while the first production RB-66B aircraft flew in early 1955. Deliveries to the USAF began in 1956, and 145 of this model were produced. They were used as the major night photo-reconnaissance aircraft of the USAF during this period.

Meanwhile, 72 of the B-66B bomber version were built, 69 fewer than originally planned. Thirteen B-66B aircraft were modified into EB-66B electronics countermeasures aircraft for the Vietnam War.

The RB-66C was a specialised electronic reconnaissance and ECM aircraft with a crew of seven; 36 were built. The additional crewmembers occupied what was the camera/bomb bay of other variants. RB-66C aircraft had distinctive wingtip pods. They were used over Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and later over Vietnam. In 1966, they were redesignated EB-66C.

The final B-66 variant was the WB-66D weather reconnaissance aircraft, 36 of which were constructed.

The B-66 had left USAF service by 1970. One RB-66B is at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio.


Related content
Related Development X-21
Similar Aircraft
Designation Series

XGAM-63 - SM-64 - SM-65 - B-66 - GAM-67 - XB-68 - B-69

Related Lists

List of military aircraft of the United States - List of bomber aircraft

Lists of Aircraft | Aircraft manufacturers | Aircraft engines | Aircraft engine manufacturers

Airports | Airlines | Air forces | Aircraft weapons | Missiles | Timeline of aviation


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