Raytheon 2J56 Magnetron Tube  
Written by AnubisTTP on 2022-01-04  



The Raytheon 2J56 is a large 50kW pulse magnetron, one of a series of X-band magnetrons operating in the 9GHz range. Released in 1945, the 2J56 incorporates a pair of integrated magnets that are located on each side of the cavity. Versions of this tube were made with both opaque and transparent glass envelopes, the transparent version is shown here. The 2J56 was used by the US military in a number of airborne applications, and was a critical component of tail-gunner radar systems deployed on both the B-36 and B-47 strategic bombers.

The particular 2J56 shown here has a rather interesting history; it was removed from the fire control radar system for the Convair XB-46 medium bomber prototype. The Convair XB-46 was produced in 1947 under the request of the US government, and only a single prototype of the bomber was built before the project was canceled near the end of 1947. The XB-46 was subsequently dismantled and the cockpit section was sent to the United States Air Force Museum in Dayton Ohio for storage and eventual display. The remainder of the aircraft was scrapped and believed destroyed until 2015, when the fire control radar unit was discovered at an estate sale in Indiana. The whereabouts of the rest of the XB-46 prototype remain unknown.


Raytheon 2J56 Magnetron Tube
Raytheon 2J56 magnetron tube. The 2J56 was released in 1945.

Raytheon 2J56 Magnetron Tube
The 2J56 was used in the AN/APG-32, a tail-gunner radar system used on both the B-36 and B-47 strategic bombers. The 2J56 was also used in the fire control radar on the Convair XB-46, a medium bomber prototype that never entered production.

Convair XB-46 Fire Control Radar
Raytheon 2J56, shown installed in a Convair XB-46 fire control radar prototype.

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