FAS | Intelligence | Programs | Collect |||| Index | Search | Join FAS

FAS Project on Intelligence Reform

RB-66 Destroyer

The RB-66 reconnaissance aircraft and the B-66 medium bomber were the most advanced of their types in the United States Air Force when introduced in 1954 and 1955. In speed, range and capacity, the B-66 twin-jet with a three man crew met all tactical requirements for delivering the most potent weapons. The RB-66 was modified for use in night photo reconnaissance, electronics reconnaissance and weather reconnaissance. The B-66 "Destroyer" was developed from the Navy A-3D "Skywarrior" for USAF use as a tactical light bomber and photo reconnaissance aircraft, with production ending in 1958. The RB-66B recon version was the first production series and totaled 155 of the 294 B-66 built. The B-66 was the last tactical bomber built for the USAF, and only the B-66B was designed exclusively as a bomber, others served as tactical recon aircraft while the final version, the WB-66D, was designed for electronic weather reconnaissance. The RB-66B was modified for service in Vietnam having cameras mounted along the bottom of the fuselage and a chaff dispenser replaced the tail gun turret.

On 10 March 1964 an American RB-66 was shot down over East Germany.


Manufacturer: Douglas Aircraft Company
Designation: RB-66
Nickname: Destroyer
Type: General Reconnaissance
Crew: Three
Length: 75' 2"
Height: 23' 7"
Wingspan: 72' 6"
Empty Weight: 43,476 lbs
Gross Weight: 59,550 lbs
Max Weight: 83,000 lbs
No. of Engines: 2
Powerplant: Allison J71-A-13 turbojets (and)
12 - 1,000 lb JATO Bottles
Thrust (each engine): 10,000 lbs
Cruise Speed: 525 mph
Max Speed: 585 mph
Service Ceiling: 43,000 ft
Range: 1,800 mi
Guns: 2 - 20mm cannons
Bombs: 8,044 lbs of photo flash bombs

Sources and Methods

FAS | Intelligence | Programs| Collect |||| Index | Search | Join FAS

Maintained by Steven Aftergood
Created by John Pike
Updated Tuesday, March 09, 1999 7:51:09 AM