B-58 Hustler: Convair’s Dazzling Delta

The record-breaking B-58 Hustler bomber certainly looked the part, but its sleek appearance belied its limitations, particularly at low level, and it only saw frontline service for a decade. Peter Davies sheds light on Convair’s largest delta-winged jet

The Hustler had a short service life, confined to the 1960s. B-58A, 59-2460, of the 43rd BW was displayed in front of President John F Kennedy during a 1962 firepower display at Eglin AFB, Florida. Retired in 1969 it was scrapped in 1977
Key Collection

In 1962 pilots of one of the USAF’s foremost fighters, the F-102A Delta Dagger, practised intercepting a B-58A Hustler over Texas. The Hustler crew would slow down so that the fighter could lock its radar onto the target, only to find that the bomber’s electronic countermeasures operator had diverted the F-102’s radar signal into outer space. Reverting to manual interception techniques, the fighter jock would close in again. Then, as former F-102A pilot Lt Col Frank Trojcak recalled: “All we would see were four black smoke trails from the B-58A’s engines suddenly stopping with the initiation of his four afterburners, after which he just accelerated out of sight. There was no way anyone could stay with him or catch him.”

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