Now Playing: History Of SAC, Stealth Jets & Omaha’s Martin Bomber Plant

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Next time you visit the Museum, be sure to add in some extra time to take a load off, grab a seat in our Theater and enjoy our latest programs playing through April 1.

Daily showtimes at 9:30am, 11:30am, 1:30pm and 3:30pm.

SAC History Part 1

Military Aviation, Strategic Bombing, B-17, B-29, B-36, B-47, B-52, KC-97, KC-135, GEN Kenney, GEN LeMay, GEN Power, Interviews

Dating back to the dawn of aviation and the Wright Brothers, the United States military always saw the potential of lighter than air controlled flight. During WWI the airplane proved valuable for reconnaissance, command control along with bombing and strafing. It was ultimately born out of this early experimental stage that strategic bombing would become the deterrence of the Cold War.

This video explores the early days of aviation; barn storming, bombing, and even air-to-air refueling. Charles Lindbergh would prove the ability of trans-oceanic navigation, Eaker and Spaatz demonstrated that one aircraft can refuel another in fight, and GEN Billy Mitchell proved that a bomber could take out a battleship. Though often mocked or outright persecuted for their ventures; by WWII aviation was seen as vital to winning a war.

Strategic Bombing of WWII would evolve to Cold War Nuclear deterrence and the birth of Strategic Air Command, From March 1, 1946 through 1960, Strategic Air Command would grow in strength and professionalism as well as move from piston engine limited range bombers to super-sonic jet bombers capable of circumnavigating the world non-stop. This first episode of the history of SAC covers scores of technological innovations as well as growth of dynamic leadership.


SAC History Part 2

Military Aviation, Cold War, B-52, KC-135, B-1B, U-2, SR-71, ICBMs, GEN Dougherty, GEN Chain, Interviews

Continuing the saga of Strategic Air Command, between 1960 and 1992 military aviation technology advanced and even led the way for civilian endeavors. The bomber force continued to evolve with the advent of swept-wing multi-jet engine bombers capable of delivering high-yield nuclear bombs deep inside adversaries borders. The role of jet-powered tankers allowed for SAC to fly non-stop, maintaining their lethal deterrence in the air 24-hours a day.

Even with the ability to deploy the fastest, highest flying reconnaissance aircraft ever built, SAC continued to push the envelop and employ a variety of intelligence gathering platforms to assist with target planning and command control. The rocket had been a thing of science fiction fantasy but SAC would pursue it as a greater deterrence and ultimately help push the United States to winning the Space Race.

The 1960s & 1970s witnessed SAC’s ability to successfully deliver conventional bombing missions and still effectively provide a ready deterrence to nuclear war. Through the later 1970s all the way to the 1990s SAC would continue to form the strongest presence utilizing the ever advancing technology of ballistic missiles, bombers, and an over whelming 24-hour vigilance. In the end, claiming victory of the Cold War and keeping the peace.


Stealth Jets

Military Aviation, YB-49, U-2, SR-71, QUAIL, B-1B, F-117, YF-23

With the beginning of aviation combat the military searched for way to conceal and camoflage the aircraft on the ground and in the air. The Germans developed the use of celluiod on the aircraft and most militaries experimented with different designs and color patterns that helped hide the aircraft on the ground.

With the advent of radar and usage during the World War II fighters and bombers found it more difficult to hide in the skies. Research and development in the 1940s looked beyond the color and camofalge of aircraft and worked with the design to reduce radar cross-section. The YB-35 and YB-49 were pioneer desgns that proved stealth was possible.

This show takes the audience through the evoloution of stealth from the YB-49 all the way through the B-2. Exploring the technology and design of stealth highlights the use of drones to protect the B-52, the curves and lines of the B-1B, with a look to the future and flying invisible to radar detectin.


The Homefront: Omaha’s Martin Bomber Plant

Nebraska, War Production, B-26, B-29, Hiroshima & Nagasaki, Women, Interviews

Prior to the United States entry into World War war production began to ramp up with some centers being moved to the middle of the nation. Along with many other states in the union, Nebraskans were dedicated to support to the military and ultimately victory in Europe and the Pacific.

In late 1940, the Martin Aircraft Company signed a contract to produce the Martin B-26 Marauder in Nebraska. By mid-1941 Martin started limited production of aircraft and by 1942 the plant south of Omaha ultimately producing more than 1,500 aircraft.

Beginning in 1944 the Nebraka facility switched from the B-26 to the B-29, the plant works completed over 500 of the Superfortress. Most notable and proudly, the Nebraska Martin plant produced the two B-29s *Enola Gay & Bockscar) that dropped the atomic bombs that helped end the war in the Pacific. Filled with archival film footage, this presentaiton honors those that served and those that supported at home.