The first American jet bomber was a straightforward derivative of the radical XB-42 Mixmaster, a twin-piston engine pusher aircraft of Learfan configuration that was supposed to do the job of the B-29 at about half the cost by achieving a 30 percent improvement in aerodynamic cleanliness. The jet age caught up with the XB-42, and Douglas responded by working the static test article into the XB-43 by substituting two GE J35 engines for the piston Allison V-1710s. The airplane was satisfactory, with a 51 5-mph top speed, not bad for a static article, but the B-45 was in the wings. The XB-43 subsequently became an engine test bed at Edwards, earning the nickname Versatile.
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