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USAF 4925 TG (A) North American B-45C Tornado


Model ID#:












H. Davidson

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historical significance

First Albuquerque Visit:    1949

SKU: Model-0206 Categories: ,

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The North American B-45 Tornado was an early jet bomber designed and manufactured by North American Aviation. The Tornado has the distinction of being the first operational jet bomber to enter service with the United States Air Force (USAF) as well as the first multi-engine jet bomber designed to be refueled in midair.

On January 2, 1947, North American received a production contract for the bomber designated as the B-45A, from the US Air Force. Soon after the B-45 entered service on April 22, 1948, the aircraft revealed a series of technical problems including poor engine reliability. Even with the operational setbacks the plane became useful during the Korean War while performing both conventional bombing and aerial reconnaissance missions.

In the early 1950s, forty B-45s were extensively modified so that they could be equipped with nuclear weapons. Improvements were made to their defensive systems and the fuel tankage was expanded to increase their survivability and range. A total of 96 aircraft were delivered between February of 1948 and June of 1949.

Multiple improved versions of the B-45 were proposed by North American, some of which were realized. The first B-45C was flown on May 3, 1949. Only ten B-45C’s were completed before the remaining 33 under construction were converted to RB-45Cs.The RB-45C became the most significant variant and was a dedicated reconnaissance aircraft that lacked a bomb bay. The 33 RB-45C aircraft were eventually delivered to the Air Force. The B-45 was later replaced by the supersonic Convair B-58 Hustler.

The 4925th Test Group was a United States Air Force unit that was last assigned to the 4901st Support Wing (Atomic), at Kirtland Air Force Base, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Designated the 4925th Test Group (Atomic) on 1 July 1951, the unit was known as the “The Megaton Blasters”, and was responsible for the developmental flight testing of all USAF nuclear weapon delivery systems including conducting live test drops from 1951 through 1956. Following 1956 the 4925th focused on operational methods and equipment for delivering nuclear weapons. It was shut down on August 31, 1961 after it was inactivated by the Air Force Systems Command. The components of the 4925th’s mission were distributed among other units.

In late 1949, the North American B-45C Tornado, 86-001, was assigned to the 4925th Test Group (A) at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico so it could receive nuclear weapons evaluation testing.