s Boeing B-47 Stratojet 0f the USAF, design, production numbers, specifications, scrapping and photos of surviving B-47s

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Boeing B-47 Stratojet of the U.S. Air Force

B-47 Concept and Design

Boeing B-47 assembly plant in Wichita, Kansas
B-47 Stratojets at the Boeing plant in Wichita

The Boeing B-47 Stratojet was the first swept wing jet bomber and the first to be designed to carry nuclear weapons. The design of the B-47 relied on swept wing data captured from Germany after World War II.

Boeing engineers had envisioned a jet-powered plane as early as 1943. However, wind-tunnel tests of straight-wing jet aircraft indicated that the straight wing did not use the full potential of jet-engine power.

This medium bomber featured six jet engines, allowing it to fly at high subsonic speeds and at high altitudes. The B-47 needed defensive armament only in the rear because no fighter was fast enough to attack from any other angle. The first XB-47 rolled off the assembly line in September of 1947. The Stratojet entered service in 1951.

Boeing XB-47 Stratojet rollout
XB-47 Stratojet)

Because early jet engines could not provide enough thrust for takeoff, the XB-47, B-47A, and B-47B had 18 small rocket units in the fuselage for jet-assisted takeoff (JATO).

Thrust reversers and anti-skid brakes had not yet been developed, so a ribbon-type drag parachute reduced the B-47 landing speed.

B-47 Stratojet Deployment by the U.S. Air Force

The B-47, along with the B-52 Stratofortress, replaced the piston powered Convair B-36 in the SAC fleet.

The B-47A entered service in May of 1951 with the 306th Bombardment Wing (Medium) based at MacDill AFB in Florida. The 306th was intended to act as a training outfit to prepare future B-47 crews.

Boeing B-47 Stratojets parked on the tarmac
U.S. Air Force B-47 Stratojets on the tarmac

At its peak use in 1958, the USAF operated 28 B-47 bomb wings and four RB-47 reconnaissance wings, totaling 1,357 B-47s and 175 RB-47s. Several versions were high altitude reconnaissance aircraft and many were used for electronic reconnaissance.

The USAF phased out its last B-47 bombers in 1965, and the USAF retired its last Stratojet, a WB-47E, in 1969.

B-47 Stratojet Production Recap by Model Number

A total of 2,042 B-47s were built, forming the backbone of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) in the mid 1950s. Boeing built most of the B-47s, but others were assembled by the Douglas Aircraft Co. and the Lockheed Aircraft Corp. Shown below is a recap of B-47 production by model number.

B-47 Model
Number Built
XB-47
2
B-47A
10
B-47B
399
B-47E
1,341
RB-47E
240
RB-47H
32
ERB-47H
3
RB-47K
15
Total
2,042

 

Technical Specifications of the B-47

Wingspan 116 feet
Length 108 feet
Maximum Takeoff Weight 230,000 pounds
Top Speed 587 mph
Range 4,000 miles
Ceiling 38,000 feet
Power Six General Electric J-47-GE-25 turbojet engines, with 7,200 pounds of thrust per engine; Jet-Assisted Take-Off using auxiliary rocket motors that are jettisoned after take-off
Crew Size 3
Armament Two .20 mm cannons in remote tail turret; 10,000-22,000 pounds of bombs

The End of Service for the Boeing B-47 Stratojet

In mid-1960, B-47s began arriving at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona, for storage and ultimate scrapping.

Final phaseout of B-47 bomber wings began in 1963. In October of 1965, the Air Force initiated Project Fast Fly to coordinate the inactivation of the last five B-47 wings and supporting tanker squadrons. The last B-47 bomber variants were removed from service with SAC by 1966.

The last USAF operational aircraft, WB-47Es assigned to the Air Weather Service, were withdrawn in September 1969.

By the end of June of 1966, over 1,000 B-47s were in storage at the base. Hundreds of B-47s still remained in storage at Davis-Monthan in 1967 parked neatly in rows (see photo below).

The last flight of a B-47 occurred in June of 1986, when a B-47E S/N 52-0166 was flown from the Naval Weapons Center at China Lake to the Castle Air Museum in Atwater, California.

Davis-Monthan AFB's AMARG facility

Aerial view of rows of Boeing B-47 Stratojets at Davis-Monthan AFB waiting to be scrapped in January, 1967
Aerial view of Boeing B-47 Stratojets at Davis-Monthan AFB awaiting scrapping in January, 1967

This photo shows stacks of ingots from scrapped Boeing B-47 Stratojets at Davis-Monthan AFB in April, 1962. B-47B S/N 51-2284 rests in the background, awaiting its turn at the smelter, with 51-2321 seen in the left of photo. (USAF Photo)
stacks of ingots from scrapped Boeing B-47 Stratojets at Davis-Monthan AFB in April, 196

Boeing B-47 Stratojet Surviving Aircraft

Of the more than 2,000 aircraft built for the Stratojet fleet, a total of only 21 B-47 aircraft have survived, been restored, and placed on display in locations across the United States. One additional B-47 is awaiting restoration at the Air Force Flight Test Museum, Edwards AFB, California.

Included below is a list of surviving B-47 Stratojets, with model numbers, serial numbers and location.

S/N
Model
Location
City
ST
Photo
53-2135 EB-47E Pima Air and Space Museum, located next to Davis-Monthan AFB Tucson AZ Boeing EB-47E Stratojet, S/N 53-2135
52-0166 B-47E Castle Air Museum next to the site of the former Castle AFB Atwater CA Boeing B-47E Stratojet, S/N 52-0166
53-2275 B-47E March Field Air Museum
March ARB
Riverside CA B-47 Stratojet, S/N 2275, on display at the March Field Air Museum in California
53-2104 B-47E Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum Pueblo CO Boeing B-47 Stratojet in Pueblo, Colorado
53-2276 B-47E Global Power Museum
Barksdale AFB
Bossier City LA Boeing B-47E Stratojet, S/N 53-2276
53-4299 RB-47H National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB Dayton OH Boeing RB-47H, S/N 34299, on display at the Museum of the United States Air Force
53-4257 RB-47E Charles B. Hall Airpark
Tinker Air Force Base
Oklahoma City OK Boeing RB-47E Stratojet S/N 53-4257 at the Charles B. Hall Airpark at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
51-2360 WB-47E Hill Aerospace Museum
Hill AFB
Ogden UT Boeing WB-47E Stratojet S/N 51-2360
53-4296 RB-47H USAF Armament Museum
Eglin AFB
Fort Walton FL B-47 Stratojet 4296
51-7066 WB-47E Museum of Flight's Aviation Pavillion Seattle WA Boeing WB-47E Stratojet S/N 17066
51-2187 B-47E Kansas Aviation Museum Wichita KS B-47E Stratojet, S/N 51-2387, on display at the Kansas Aviation Museum in Wichita
53-4213 B-47E McConnell AFB Wichita KS  
51-2120 B-47B Whiteman AFB
No public access - check with the base
Knob Noster MO  
52-1412 B-47E Strategic Air and Space Museum Ashland NE  
53-2280 B-47E National Museum of Nuclear History Albuquerque NM  
50-0062 B-47B Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum Savannah GA  
51-2315 B-47B Grissom Air Museum Peru IN  
51-7071 B-47E Hightower Park Altus OK  
52-0412 EB-47E Dyess AFB Linear Airpark
No public access - check with the base
Abilene TX  
52-0595 B-47E Little Rock AFB Jacksonville AR  
53-2385 B-47E Clyde Lewis Park Plattsburgh NY  
46-066 XB-47

Waiting restoration at the Air Force Flight Test Museum
No public access - check with Edwards AFB

Edwards AFB CA  

 

 

B-47 at the Pima Air and Space Museum

Boeing EB-47E Stratojet, S/N 53-2135, at the Pima Air and Space Museum, Tucson, Arizona
Boeing EB-47E Stratojet, S/N 53-2135
Boeing EB-47E Stratojet of the Strategic Air Command
Boeing EB-47E Stratojet, S/N 53-2135 in Tucson


B-47 at the Castle Air Museum

Boeing B-47E Stratojet, S/N 52-0166, at the Castle Air Museum
On June 16, 1986, this aircraft made the last flight ever of a B-47, flying from the China Lake facility to Castle AFB for placement in the airpark
Boeing B-47E Stratojet, S/N 52-0166
Boeing B-47E Stratojet, Atwater, California
Boeing B-47E Stratojet, S/N 52-0166
Boeing B-47 with shield markings of the 93rd Bombardment Wing
Boeing B-47 with shield markings of the 93rd Bombardment Wing
Boeing B-47 Stratojet 0166
Boeing B-47 Stratojet 0166 in Atwater



B-47 at the Museum of of the United States Air Force

Boeing RB-47H, S/N 34299, on display at the Museum of the United States Air Force, Dayton, Ohio
Boeing RB-47H, S/N 34299, on display at the Museum of the United States Air Force


B-47 at the Museum of Flight in Seattle

Boeing WB-47E Stratojet S/N 51-7066 on display at the Museum of Flight, Seattle, Washington
Boeing WB-47E Stratojet S/N 17066
U.S. Air Force WB-47E Stratojet
Boeing WB-47E Stratojet S/N 17066
Boeing WB-47E Stratojet
Boeing WB-47E Stratojet S/N 17066
Boeing WB-47E Stratojet S/N 17066
Boeing WB-47E Stratojet S/N 17066


B-47 at the Hill Aerospace Museum

Boeing WB-47E Stratojet S/N 51-2360 at Hill AFB in Ogden, Utah
Boeing WB-47E Stratojet S/N 51-2360
Boeing WB-47E Stratojet S/N 51-2360 on display at the Hill Aerospace Museum in Utah
Boeing WB-47E Stratojet S/N 51-2360
Boeing WB-47E Stratojet S/N 51-2360
Boeing WB-47E Stratojet S/N 51-2360 in Utah
Tail section of Boeing WB-47E Stratojet S/N 51-2360
Tail section of Boeing WB-47E Stratojet S/N 51-2360


B-47 at the Pueblo Weisbrod Aerospace Museum

Boeing B-47 Stratojet 32104 at the Pueblo Weisbrod Aerospace Museum in Pueblo, Colorado
Boeing B-47 Stratojet in Pueblo, Colorado
Boeing B-47 Stratojet
Boeing B-47 Stratojet in Pueblo, Colorado
Boeing B-47 Stratojet in Pueblo, Colorado
Boeing B-47 Stratojet in Pueblo, Colorado
Boeing B-47 Stratojet S/N 32104
Boeing B-47 Stratojet S/N 32104
Tail section of the Boeing B-47 Stratojet S/N 32104
Boeing B-47 Stratojet S/N 32104

B-47 at the Air Force Armament Museum at Eglin AFB

RB-47H Stratojet 53-4296 at the Air Force Armament Museum, Eglin AFB, Florida
B-47 Stratojet 4296


B-47 at the Charles B. Hall Airpark at Tinker AFB

Boeing RB-47E Stratojet S/N 53-4257 at the Charles B. Hall Airpark
located at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Boeing RB-47E Stratojet S/N 53-4257 at the Charles B. Hall Airpark at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

B-47E at the Barksdale AFB Global Power Museum

Boeing B-47E Stratojet, S/N 53-2276, at the Barksdale AFB Global Power Museum in Bossier City, Louisiana
Boeing B-47E Stratojet, S/N 53-2276


B-47 at the March Field Air Museum

B-47 Stratojet, S/N 2275, on display at the March Field Air Museum in California
B-47 Stratojet, S/N 2275, on display at the March Field Air Museum in California

B-47 at the Kansas Aviation Museum

B-47E Stratojet, S/N 51-2387, on display at the Kansas Aviation Museum in Wichita
B-47E Stratojet, S/N 51-2387, on display at the Kansas Aviation Museum in Wichita

Boeing XB-47 Stratojet Prototype

Boeing XB-47 Stratojet rollout
Boeing XB-47 Stratojet rollout

Photographs of the B-47 Stratojet Assembly Line

Boeing's B-47 Stratojet assembly line as reported in LIFE Magazine
Boeing's B-47 Stratojet assembly line
Boeing's B-47 Stratojet wing assembly
Boeing's B-47 Stratojet assembly line
Boeing's B-47 Stratojet assembly line
Boeing's B-47 Stratojet assembly line
Boeing's B-47 Stratojet assembly line
Boeing's B-47 Stratojet assembly line
Completed B-47 bombers outside the Boeing assembly plant in Wichita, Kansas
Boeing B-47 assembly plant in Wichita, Kansas

 

USAF Photographs of the B-47 Stratojet on Assignment

Boeing WB-47 Stratojet S/N 12115 on tarmac
Boeing WB-47 Stratojet S/N 12115 on tarmac
U.S. Air Force B-47 in flight
U.S. Air Force B-47 in flight
B-47 Stratojet S/N 12225 at MacDill Air Force Base in the 1950s
B-47 Stratojet at MacDill Air Force Base in the 1950s
U.S. Air Force B-47 Stratojets on the tarmac at MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa Florida
U.S. Air Force B-47 Stratojets on the tarmac at MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa Florida
B-47 Stratojets on the tarmac
B-47 Stratojets on the Tarmac

 

Historic Images of B-47 Stratojets

Boeing B-47 assembly plant in Wichita, Kansas
Boeing B-47 assembly plant in Wichita, Kansas
Boeing B-47 shown at Pine Castle Air Force Base, Orlando, Florida
Boeing B-47 shown at Pine Castle Air Force Base, Orlando, Florida
U.S. Air Force Boeing B-47 S/N 032280 on the flightline
U.S. Air Force Boeing B-47 S/N 032280 on the flightline
Boeing RB-47E, with B-47E in the background, in flight ... world's fastest day-or-night long-range bomber
Boeing RB-47E, with B-47E in the background, in flight ... world's fastest day-or-night long-range bomber

More B-47 Information

B47.com - The B-47 Stratojet Association

Airvectors.net- The B-47 Stratojet

SkyTamer.com - The B-47 Stratojet