Photos of the XB-70 at the USAF Museum in Dayton, OH.
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North American Aviation’s B-70 Valkyrie was a nuclear-armed bomber designed for the United States Air Force’s Strategic Air Command in the 1950s. The Valkyrie was a large six-engined aircraft able to fly at Mach 3 at high altitudes, which would have allowed it to avoid defending interceptors, the only effective anti-bomber weapon at the time.
The proposed cost of the aircraft, along with changes in the technological environment due to the introduction of the first effective anti-aircraft missiles led to the cancellation of the program in 1961. The development of the Valkyrie, along with the U-2 and SR-71 reconnaissance aircraft led the Soviet Union to create the MiG-25 “Foxbat”, and new, improved surface to air missiles (SAMs), to counter them.
Although the proposed full fleet of operational B-70 bombers was never built, two prototype XB-70s flew in flight tests in the 1960s, performing research on the design of large supersonic aircraft. One prototype crashed following a midair collision in 1966; the other is now on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.