Check out this old Cold War propaganda video of the Convair B-58 Hustler strategic bomber hosted by actor and US Air Force Brigadier General Jimmy Stewart. The B-58 was, as Stewart says, a spectacular aircraft with extraordinary performance—especially for the 1950s, just over a decade after the introduction of the Luftwaffe’s Arado Ar-234, which was the first ever jet bomber.[youtube]http://youtu.be/cEKyTxnrXIc[/youtube]
Of course, what Stewart does not mention was that the advent of Soviet surface-to-air missiles such as the S-75 Dvina (or SA-2 Guideline as it was known to NATO) basically rendered the high-altitude, high speed supersonic bomber useless. Nonetheless, in terms of pure performance, it was awesome.
Incidentally, it took about four years to design the B-58. That’s something that probably won’t happen again in this industry unless something radical happens.