Although continuously plagued by engine problems, component malfunctions, lack of spare parts, and numerous minor flaws, the B-45 regained importance. Like all bombers produced after the end of World War 11, the B-45 was designed to carry both conventional and atomic bombs. In mid 1950, when US. military commitments to the Korean War reemphasized the vulnerability of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces in Europe to Soviet attack, the Air Force made an important decision. Since the US. planned to produce large quantities of small atomic and thermonuclear weapons in the near future, the use of such weapons, heretofore a prerogative of the strategic forces, would be expanded to the tactical forces, particularly in Europe.
The program that ensued, under the code name of Backbreaker, entailed difficult aircraft modifications because several distinct atomic bomb types were involved and large amounts of new electronics support equipment had to be fitted in place of the standard components. In addition, the 40 B-45s allocated to the Backbreaker program also had to be equipped with a new defensive system and extra fuel tanks. Despite the magnitude of the modification project, plus recurring engine problems, atomic capable B-45s began reaching the United Kingdom in May 1952, and deployment of the 40 aircraft was completed in mid June, barely 30 days behind the Air Staff deadline.
Besides, TAC had to take care of many other tasks. The B-45 deployment called for a somewhat more integrated atomic weapons support system than that used by SAC. TAC had immediately envisioned a concept that actually emphasized the mobility, flexibility, and speed characteristic of tactical air operations. While the TAC concept and the demands it necessarily entailed were not all approved, the Air Staff had endorsed the salient points of the command's proposal. As a result, after being activated on 31 August 1951, the 1st Tactical Support Squadron moved to Europe in the spring of 1952. Once overseas, the support squadron was attached to the 47th Bombardment Wing, now a Third Air Force unit of the United States Air Forces in Europe. (TAC's 47th Wing was at Langley AFB, Virginia, in early 1952. The B-45 overseas deployment prompted the wing's relocation to Royal Air Force Station Sculthorpe, England.)
|Page ID (PID) :||NARA-PBB92-26|
|Collection :||NARA Blue Book|
|Roll Description :||Project Blue Book Roll 92|