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Two experimental bombers were proposed, the first to be delivered in 30 months, and the second within another six months.

Originally designated Model B-35, the name was changed to B-36 to avoid confusion with the Northrop YB-35 piston-engined flying wing bomber, against which the B-36 was meant to compete for a production contract.

It had the longest wingspan of any combat aircraft ever built, at 230 ft (70.1 m).

The B-36 was the first bomber capable of delivering any of the nuclear weapons in the U. arsenal from inside its four bomb bays without aircraft modifications.

With a range of 10,000 mi (16,000 km) and a maximum payload of 87,200 lb (39,600 kg), the B-36 was capable of intercontinental flight without refuelling.

Entering service in 1948, the B-36 was the primary nuclear weapons delivery vehicle of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) until it was replaced by the jet-powered Boeing B-52 Stratofortress beginning in 1955. The genesis of the B-36 can be traced to early 1941, prior to the entry of the United States into World War II.

Moreover, the B-36 was believed to have "an ace up its sleeve": a phenomenal cruising altitude for a piston-driven aircraft, made possible by its huge wing area and six 28-cylinder engines, putting it out of range of most of the interceptors of the day, as well as ground-based anti aircraft guns.

Throughout its development, the B-36 would encounter delays.

When the United States entered World War II, Consolidated was ordered to slow B-36 development and greatly increase Consolidated B-24 Liberator production.

The B-36 took shape as an aircraft of immense proportions.

It was two-thirds longer than the previous "superbomber", the B-29.

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