The Convair B-58 Hustler was an American tactical nuclear deterrent bomber capable of speeds up to Mach 2. It was used throughout the 1960s and was retired on the 31st January 1970. B-58 pilots have won such awards as the Bleriot trophy, the Mackay trophy, the Thompson trophy, the Bendix trophy, and the Harmon trophy.
Development of the Convair B-58 started in the year 1949. It competed with the XB-59, made by Boeing. But the project for the XB-59 was cancelled and development of the Convair B-58 could be continued. The first flight of the B-58 Hustler took place on 11th November 1956. Until the appearance of the MiG-21 Fishbed, the Hustler was faster than all Soviet Interceptor aircraft. All in all 116 aircraft were built, 30 of them were used for testing and the remaining 86 were operational bombers. The B-58 was in service with the US Air Force until 31st December 1969. The introduction of new Soviet Air Defence systems called for new abilities, the B-58 was not designed for: Even if the B-58 was able to fly low-level bombing raids, it could only do that with decreased range and performance. Those disadvantages - the high accident rate as well as the high maintenance cost - were the reasons for the termination of the program and the retirement, which started in 1965.
- XB-58: 2 prototypes.
- YB-58A: 11 Service test examples.
- B-58A: 86 production aircraft.
- TB-58A: 8 YB-58s converted for pilot conversion, with dual controls, raised seat in second cockpit and extended glazing.
- NB-58A: Single aircraft converted to serve as test vehicle for J93 engine, carried in a nacelle under the fuselage.
- World Aircraft Information Files Aviation Partwork. Midsummer Books Ltd. File 891 Sheet 39 (A to Z of Aircraft:Convair Model 3 (R3Y Tradewind) (continued) to Convair Model 8 (F-102 Delta Dagger)