Douglas B-66 Destroyer

The Douglas B-66 Destroyer was a Tactical Air Command light bomber based on the United States Navy A3D Skywarrior. It was intended to replace the Douglas A-26 Invader. An RB-66 photo-reconnaissance version was ordered simultaneously and their airframes became the basis for the EB-66 electronic-warfare variant. 

Deliveries to the United States Air Force (USAF) began in 1956 with 145 of this model were produced. RB-66s were used as the major night photo-reconnaissance aircraft of the USAF during this period. 72 of the B-66B bomber version were built, 69 fewer than originally planned. Thirteen B-66B aircraft later were modified into EB-66B electronic countermeasures aircraft for the Vietnam War. Unlike the US Navy A-3 Skywarrior, which performed some bombing missions, the Destroyer was not used as a bomber in Vietnam. 

The RB-66C was a specialized electronic reconnaissance and ECM aircraft with a crew of seven; 36 of these aircraft were built with the additional crewmembers housed in what was the camera/bomb bay of other variants. RB-66C aircraft had distinctive wingtip pods and were used in the vcinity of Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis and later over Vietnam. In 1966, they were redesignated EB-66C. 

The final B-66 variant was the WB-66D weather reconnaissance aircraft, 36 of which were constructed. 

The EB-66C/E was removed from USAF service by 1973 and most examples either scrapped in place or placed in storage for eventual scrapping.

Douglas B-66 Destroyer
Class Aircraft
Type Bomber
Manufacturer Douglas Aircraft Company
Origin United States of America
Country Name Origin Year
United States of America 1954
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
United States of America 1956 1973 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Douglas Aircraft Company 294 View

Role Light bomber
Manufacturer Douglas Aircraft Company
Designer Ed Heinemann
First flight 28 June 1954
Introduction 1956
Retired 1973 (USAF)
Primary user United States Air Force
Number built 294
Unit cost US$2.55 million (RB-66B)
Developed from U.S. Navy A-3 Skywarrior
Developed into Northrop X-21


General characteristics

  • Crew: 3
  • Length: 75 ft 2 in (22.9 m)
  • Wingspan: 72 ft 6 in (22.1 m)
  • Height: 23 ft 7 in (7.2 m)
  • Wing area: 780 ft (72.5 m)
  • Empty weight: 42,540 lb (19,300 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 57,800 lb (26,200 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 83,000 lb (38,000 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 x Allison J71-A-11 or -13 turbojets, 10,200 lbf (45 kN) each

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 631 mph (548 kn, 1,020 km/h)
  • Combat radius: 900 mi (780 NM, 1,500 km)
  • Ferry range: 2,470 mi (2,150 NM, 3,970 km)
  • Service ceiling 39,400 ft (12,000 m)
  • Rate of climb: 5,000 ft/min (25 m/s)
  • Wing loading: 74.1 lb/ft (361.4 kg/m)
  • Thrust/weight: 0.35

Armament

  • Guns: 2 x 20 mm (0.787 in) cannon in radar/remotely operated tail turret
  • Bombs: 15,000 lb (6,800 kg)

Avionics

  • APS-27 and K-5 radars

End notes