Video: Boeing B-47 Stratojet takeoff and landing with chute

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The Boeing B-47 Stratojet jet bomber was a medium-range and medium-size bomber capable of flying at high subsonic speeds and primarily designed for penetrating the airspace of the Soviet Union.

During the early part of the Cold War, the U.S. Air Force needed an aircraft to gather information about Soviet air defense radar systems, including details like their location, range and coverage. The electronic reconnaissance RB-47H, developed from the B-47E, met this requirement, and Boeing completed the first RB-47H in 1955.

Boeing produced 32 newly-built RB-47Hs and converted three B-47Es into ERB-47Hs.

The RB-47H first entered service in August 1955. Over the next decade, RB-47H crews of the 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing (SRW) flew thousands of dangerous "ferret" missions.

Flying in radio silence at night along -- and sometimes over -- the border of the Soviet Union and other communist nations, RB-47Hs collected essential intelligence about the size and capability of Soviet air defense radar networks.

The need for this information and the relatively small number of RB-47Hs forced crews to spend much of their time deployed to places around the world, away from their homes at Forbes Air Force Base, Kan. The RB-47H continued in service until the more capable RC-135 replaced it in the mid-1960s.

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