Bell X-16

The Bell X-16 was a projected jet aircraft should be used by the U.S. in the 1950s as a high altitude reconnaissance. A dummy was built, but the project was abandoned in favor of the Martin RB -57 even before a single X-16 was completed. The designation X-16 was a code name, which was designed to conceal the true nature of this aircraft during the Cold War against the Soviet Union.


In the second half of 1953 Fairchild, Bell, and Martin Aircraft developed design studies for a high altitude reconnaissance for the U.S. Air Force. All three designs used Pratt & Whitney J57 -P19 engine. The constructions of Bell ( X-16 ) and Martin (B- 57D ) were selected for further development. In 1956, the X-16 project from the Air Force was canceled again. Until then, it had completed a dummy and built by original 28 aircraft ordered only one to about 80%. The X-16 entered with their structural design new floor. Their wings had a large wingspan and a high aspect ratio. They were significantly lighter and more flexible than any other existing at that time. The whole plane was as easy as possible built without refueling, a distance of 3,000 miles ( 4828 km ) in 70,000 feet to ( 21336 m) handle height.

Although the X-16 was never completed, they had with their lightweight construction impact on the development of the aircraft structure. She was also the driving force behind the development of the J57 - level engine, which among other things drove the U-2 later.

Technical data ( planned)

  • Crew: one pilot
  • Length: 18,55 m
  • Wingspan: 35 m
  • Height: 5.20 m
  • Area: 102,19 m²
  • Empty weight: 10,582 kg
  • Takeoff weight: 16,420 kg
  • Engines: 2 x Pratt & Whitney J57 -PW - 37A, each with 20.11 kN thrust
  • Maximum speed: 885 km / h
  • Range: 5310 km
  • Service ceiling: 21,900 m
  • Wing loading: 160 kg / m²
  • Thrust / weight ratio: 1:0.55

Pictures of Bell X-16