Consolidated B-36: The world’s biggest bomber in the ’40s & ’50s could drop a 10,000-pound atomic bomb

Note: This article may feature affiliate links, and purchases made may earn us a commission at no extra cost to you. Find out more here.


B-36 The world's largest bomber - Military plane from 1946 (2)

It’s the world’s biggest bomber!

The new B-36: Photographed during its third test flight out of Fort Worth, Texas

You’re looking at the gigantic new B-36 in flight — the biggest land-based bomber in the world!

Designed and built by Consolidated Vultee and the US Army Air Forces, the B-36 dwarfs any other bomber now in existence. With its 6 “pusher-type” Pratt & Whitney Wasp Major engines of 3000 horsepower each, the B-36 is designed to carry 10,000 pounds of bombs a distance of 10,000 miles.

If this country should ever be attacked by an aggressor nation, this mammoth plane, operating from bases available to the United States, could drop an atomic bomb on any city in the world.

B-36 The world's largest bomber - Military plane from 1946 (1)

In the mighty B-36 America can seek and find assurance that the US Army Air Forces are constantly striving to maintain this nation’s position of leadership in the air.

Consolidated Vultee workers are proud that they were selected to work with the US Army Air Forces in designing and building this great new addition to America’s strength in the air. They have a right to be!

With its crew of 15 men, the B-36 has a maximum bomb capacity of 72,000 pounds. Two tank cars are needed to carry the 21,000 gallons of gasoline to fill the fuel tanks of the B-36. This giant bomber has six engines with a total of eighteen thousand horsepower. The tail fin of the B-36 stands almost as high as the average 5-story apartment building. The 230-foot wingspread of the B-36 is 10 feet more than that of two B-24 Liberator bombers.

B-36 The world's largest bomber - Military plane from 1946 (3)

Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation

San Diego, California – Downey, California – Wayne, Michigan (Stinson Division) – Fort Worth, Texas – Nashville, Tennessee

Let’s keep America strong in the air!

The Consolidated B-36 bomber (1951)

Range: Anywhere on Earth — and your Air Force has it!

Intercontinental giant — The Consolidated B-36 is the world’s largest bomber. It can carry a 10,000 pound bomb load to a target 5,000 miles away, drop it, and return to base.

Equipped with six Pratt & Whitney Wasp Major engines of 3,800 h.p. each, and four J-47 jet engines, it has a top speed of over 435 MPH and flies at an altitude of more than 45,000 feet.

consolidated B-36 is the world's largest bomber

The Consolidated B-36 war plane: Performance of America’s Long-Range Bombers proves again that “All the years of work are worth it when the prize is air supremacy.”

In the present emergency, America holds a priceless advantage in the ability of its long-range bombers to deliver a heavy bomb load anywhere on earth.

As America gears up to produce the required quantity of bombers, it can be thankful for the years of work that have gone into ensuring their quality.

This work started ten long years ago — when intercontinental bombers were just a gleam in the Air Force’s eye. In 1941, far-sighted military airmen called for designs of an aircraft capable of carrying devastating bomb loads from advanced bases or from the U.S. itself to targets halfway around the world.

Consolidated Vutee started the design of a new bomber with the then unheard-of range of 10,000 miles. Boeing, producer of the famous Fortresses, planned ways of extending the range of its bombers. The Pratt & Whitney Aircraft division of United Aircraft division of United Aircraft was already at work on a new engine capable of providing the unprecedented power that both of these projects would require.

>> Also see: 

In 1948, the world’s first intercontinental bombers were delivered to the Air Force. Into their development had gone over eight years and literally millions of man-hours of engineering effort.

But thanks to that effort — and to the foresight of military strategists — it is your Air Force which now has the Consolidated B-36 and the Boeing B-50… and a vital margin of superiority in performance of its long-range bombers.

United Aircraft Corporation

the world's first intercontinental bombers

PS: If you liked this article, please share it! You can also get our free newsletter, follow us on Facebook & Pinterest. Thanks for visiting and for supporting a small business! 🤩 


You might also like...

The fun never ends:

Comments on this story

One Response

  1. The B-36 was originally envisioned as an intercontinental bomber that–if England were lost to the Nazis–had enough range to bomb Germany and return (or land elsewhere like North Africa or Mongolia). It was able to carry the (large, heavy) Mark 12 nuclear weapon, which neither the B-29, the B-47, or the B-52 could do. It couldn’t be refueled in flight, but was able to fly high enough and long enough to evade fighters and antiaircraft fire.

    The aircraft’s slogan was “six turning, four burning.” However, because fires in the radial (propeller) engines were common, crews humorously changed the aircraft’s slogan into “two turning, two burning, two smoking, two choking, and two more unaccounted for.”

Leave a comment here!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.