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  • Boeing B-29 Superfortress Strategic Long-Range, High-Altitude Heavy Bomber Aircraft

    The Boeing B-29 Superfortress marked the pinnacle of American bomber design by the end of World War 2 - it proved critical in ending the war with Japan.

     Updated: 6/18/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    The Boeing B-29 "Superfortress" will forever be linked to the atomic bombs dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to help end World War 2 ("Bock's Car" and the "Enola Gay" were the selected aircraft). However, before the B-29 signaled the beginning of the end of the conflict, it served as a nearly untouchable, high-altitude, heavy bombing platform with revolutionary technologies incorporated throughout her impressive design. The Boeing B-29 only served in the Pacific Theater against the Empire of Japan during the war and was never called to action over Europe as the war against Germany was winding down by April-May of 1945. However, the bomber series would go one to serve extensively throughout the upcoming Korean War (1950-1953), solidifying its place in American military aviation history.

    The B-29, like the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress before it, was developed to a US Army Air Corps (USAAC) requirement for a high-level heavy bomber capable of extended operational ranges and increased payloads while operating at speeds nearing 400 miles per hour. The range requirement was of particular note due to the vast distances encountered in the Pacific. The B-29 program began slowly and appeared prior to America's entry into World War 2. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (December 7th, 1941), the B-29 program was pushed into full gear as the need for modern bombers was apparent. The first of three "XB-29" prototypes took to the air in 1942 with government orders already secured for over 1,500 production-quality units.

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    Boeing B-29A Superfortress Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1943
    Type: Strategic Long-Range, High-Altitude Heavy Bomber Aircraft
    National Origin: United States
    Manufacturer(s): The Boeing Company - USA
    Production Total: 3,970

    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

    Operating Crew: 10
    Length: 99.02 feet (30.18 meters)
    Width: 142.26 feet (43.36 meters)
    Height: 29.56 feet (9.01 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 71,361 lb (32,369 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 141,102 lb (64,003 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

    Engine(s): 4 x Wright R-3350-23 Cyclone Eighteen air-cooled radial piston engines developing 2,200 horsepower each.

    Maximum Speed: 358 mph (576 kph; 311 knots)
    Maximum Range: 4,100 miles (6,598 km)
    Service Ceiling: 31,808 feet (9,695 meters; 6.02 miles)
    Rate-of-Climb: 526 feet-per-minute (160 m/min)

    Armament / Mission Payload

    4 x 12.7mm Browning M2 machine guns in electrically-operated dorsal turret
    2 x 12.7mm Browning M2 machine guns in electrically-operated under-nose turret
    2 x 12.7mm Browning M2 machine guns electrically-operated dorsal turret at rear fuselage.
    2 x 12.7mm Browning M2 machine guns electrically-operated turret under rear fuselage
    2 x 12.7mm Browning M2 machine guns in tail turret emplacement.
    1 x 20mm M2 cannon in tail turret emplacement.

    Up to 20,000lbs of internal ordnance.

    Global Operators / Customers

    Australia; United Kingdom; United States

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

    XB-29 - Prototype

    YB-29 - Preproduction model evaluation aircraft

    B-29A - Fitted with 4 x Wright R-3350-23 Cyclone Eighteen air-cooled radial piston engines of 2,200 horsepower each.

    B-29A-BN - Increased wingspan; four gun upper forward turret.

    B-29B - No defensive armament except for single remote controlled tail gun emplacement.

    B-29B-BA - Increased bombload; reduced defensive gun armament.

    B-29D - Revised engines.


    RB-29 - Reconnaissance Model (redesignated from previous RB-29 designation).

    SB-29 - Search and Rescue Model

    TB-29 - Crew Trainer Model

    WB-29 - Weather Reconnaissance Model

    KB-29 - Aerial Refueling Tank Model

    F-13A - Reconnaissance Model (later redesignated to RB-29).

    B-50A - Redesignated from B-29D; revised tail fin and improved engines; 4 Pratt & Whitney R-4360 radial piston engines; reinforced structure; introduced in 1948 with 370 examples produced.

    Tu-4 "Bull" - Direct, illegal Soviet copy of captured B-29 systems.

    Tu-70 - Soviet designation for Tu-4 dedicated transport variant.