Strategic Air Command

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B-47 Bomb Wing Poster / Intro Copy

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The B-47 Stratojet
     The Boeing B-47 represented a major advance in aeronautical engineering. It was America's first multi-engine jet aircraft and it established the basic principal of design. It introduced swept-back wings to large aircraft and the engines were hung below the wings on pylons. This design proved so viable that it was used on the B-52 bomber and the KC-135 tanker that followed. The latter became the Boeing 707, the first American jet liner. All modern passenger planes trace their design linage directly to the B-47.
     Development began in 1945 and the first prototype flew two years later. On November 6, 1952 the first B-47 arrived at Pinecastle Air Force Base. Four years later, B-47 deployment had reached its peak. SAC then had 1,306 B-47 bombers and 350 RB-47 reconnaissance aircraft. Other versions of the aircraft were assigned to special missions. The Air Force accepted a grand total of 2,041 B-47s and RB-47s. Some were later converted into WB-47s, weather reconnaissance; EB-47s, electronic warfare; ETB-47s, combat crew training; QB-47 drones, and other configurations.
Wing Organization & Deployment
B-47s were assigned to wings. Each wing originally consisted of three squadrons of fifteen aircraft. The B-47 was a medium range aircraft that could fly 3,500 miles without refueling. During the early and mid 1950s, entire wings were deployed to the United Kingdom, Spain, Morocco, Guam, and Alaska to deter aggression by the Soviet Union. Stateside units depended on aerial refueling by KC-97 tankers to reach their target.
      The Soviet launch of the Sputnik satellite made SAC aware of the vunerability of its aircraft and the readiness alert was born. Bombardment wings were required to have one-third of their aircraft on alert. They were required to be off the ground and flying toward their targets within fifteen minutes. They had to do so any time, day or night, 365 days a year. Wings were also required to send aircraft to forward bases to stand “reflex alert.” In 1961, the number of aircraft on alert was raised to fifty percent. This resulted in the addition of a fourth squadron. The aircraft came from wings that were being disbanded or upgrading to the new B-52 Stratofortress.
Support Squadrons
Four squadrons were equipped with EB-47s and provided electronic warfare support prior to and after an attack. They were assigned to Bombardment Wings between 1962 and 1964. Shortly before being phased out, they were redesignated Post Attack Command and Control Squadrons: They were: 4366 SS (307th BW), 4363 SS (376th BW ), 4364 SS (9th BW), and the 4365 SS (380th BW).