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While World War II was still raging, planners in the Army Air Forces were already thinking ahead to the jet plane era. A competition was begun in 1944 for the first jet bomber to be used by the postwar air force. Convair's entry was a dramatically sleek airframe powered by four J35-C-3 engines of 4,000 pounds thrust each, yielding a cruising speed of 439 mph. Its oval fuselage was 105 feet in length and had a bomb capacity of 22,000 pounds; very thin wings reached 113 feet. The new bomber was flown to Edwards AFB on its first flight on April 2, 1947, but even by then the design had become obsolescent. Only a single XB-46 was ever built.


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