The XB-70A, or the Valkyrie bomber as it was more commonly known, was first designed during the 1950’s, North American Aviation (NAA) Los Angeles Division for the U.S. Air Force. The aircraft was an experimental high-speed, delta-winged design that could achieve speeds in excess of three times the speed of sound – over 2300 mile per hour, and achieve altitudes of higher than 70,000 feet (21,000 kilometres).
The aircraft was proposed by the US Military as a means to deliver atomic payloads without the ability of enemy interceptors being able to engage with it due to its extreme speed and altitude. Development of the project ended when the project was cancelled in 1961, largely due to the advent of long range missiles (such as ICBM’s) which could potentially be used as an effective countermeasure against the Valkyrie.
Designed by North American Aviation, who later became a division of Boeing, the forward part of the plane was constructed from riveted titanium frames and skin to deal with the friction induced heat from flying at such high speeds. However the main sections of the airplane were constructed almost entirely of stainless steel – formed into a brazed honeycomb structure.
The XB-70 was the world’s largest Mach-3 capable aircraft, and the in-flight data collected during all of its flights helped in research and development of future civilian and military supersonic aircraft.
Cruising at 70,000 feet sounds a little too extreme for us, but if there’s a washroom on board the Valkyrie, one of our Stainless Steel Vanity Tops would look great in it.