The Convair B-36 "Peacemaker"[N 1]was a strategic bomber built by Convair and operated solely by the United States Air Force (USAF) from 1949 to 1959. The B-36 was the largest mass-produced piston engine aircraft ever made. It had the longest wingspan of any combat aircraft ever built (230 ft or 70 m), although there have been larger military transports. The B-36 was the first bomber capable of delivering any of the nuclear weapons in the US arsenal from inside its two bomb bays without aircraft modifications. With a range greater than 6,000 mi (9,700 km) and a maximum payload of 72,000 lb (33,000 kg), (and thereby having the ability to carry both the US's atomic fission and fusion weapons), the B-36 was the world's first manned bomber with an unrefueled intercontinental range.
The B-36J is the high altitude variant with strengthened landing gear, increased fuel capacity, armament reduced to tail guns only and reduced crew, 33 built.
The B-36, including its GRB-36, RB-36, and XC-99 variants, was in service as part of the USAF Strategic Air Command from 1948 through 1959. The B-36 never dropped a bomb or fired a shot in active service.