Quest for Performance: The Evolution of Modern Aircraft
Chapter 12: Jet Bomber and Attack Aircraft
[405] First discussed in this chapter were early jet-powered bombers that, from a technical point of view, were little more than World War II-type configurations powered with jet engines. Revolutionary new design concepts for long-range, high-speed subsonic aircraft were then pioneered by the large Boeing B-47 and, later, the B-52 jet-powered bombers. Because of continuing disagreement and debate over the relative effectiveness of manned bombers as contrasted with ballistic and cruise missiles, however, subsequent bomber development has been sporadic and has yielded no new advanced long-range subsonic aircraft. The further development and refinement of this class of aircraft has taken place in the field of civil transports. Evolution of this class of vehicle, which has had such a profound effect on modern society, is discussed in chapter 13. Military explorations into supersonic bomber aircraft have been largely unproductive.
The attack aircraft discussed in this chapter do not represent any significant advancement in air-vehicle technology but have provided a useful capability to the armed services that far exceeds anything possible with propeller-driven aircraft.