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Douglas XB-19 (XBLR-2)

Experimental Heavy Bomber Aircraft

Douglas XB-19 (XBLR-2)

Experimental Heavy Bomber Aircraft


Eighteen crew were required to staff the enormous experimental Douglas XB-19 Heavy Bomber - of which only a single prototype was ever completed.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: United States
YEAR: 1941
MANUFACTURER(S): Douglas Aircraft Company - USA
OPERATORS: United States (cancelled)

Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Douglas XB-19A model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
CREW: 18
LENGTH: 131.89 feet (40.2 meters)
WIDTH: 211.94 feet (64.6 meters)
HEIGHT: 42.65 feet (13 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 139,994 pounds (63,500 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 164,024 pounds (74,400 kilograms)
ENGINE: 4 x Allison V-3420-11 V24 radial piston engines developing 2,600 horsepower each.
SPEED (MAX): 265 miles-per-hour (426 kilometers-per-hour; 230 knots)
RANGE: 4,225 miles (6,800 kilometers; 3,672 nautical miles)
CEILING: 39,370 feet (12,000 meters; 7.46 miles)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 650 feet-per-minute (198 meters-per-minute)

2 x 37mm autocannons
5 x 0.50 caliber M2 Browning heavy machine guns
6 x 0.30 caliber M1919 Browning machine guns

Up to 18,700lbs of internal stores.
Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft heavy machine gun
Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon

Series Model Variants
• XB-19 - Base Series Designation; single prototype completed and ultimately scrapped.
• XBLR-2 ("Experimental Bomber, Long Range") - Original Designation.
• XB-19 - Initial Model Designation


Detailing the development and operational history of the Douglas XB-19 (XBLR-2) Experimental Heavy Bomber Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 5/31/2016. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©
Douglas Aircraft played a major role in American aviation from the 1920s into the 1960s, encompassing the Golden Age of Flight, the Interwar Years, World War 2 and a portion of the Cold War. One of its fortes during World War 2 was large multi-engined aircraft to act as transports or bombers for the United States military and its allies. In the post-war years, the company transitioned into civilian passenger airline travel and, ultimately, battlefield rockets and space launch systems. One of its wartime endeavors became the experimental XB-19, a four-engined heavy bomber intended to project new qualities of long range, high altitude bomb serving platforms. The XB-19 originally existed under the designation of XBLR-2 which detailed its intent - "Experimental Bomber, Long Range, Model 2". The competing (and equally experimental) Boeing XB-15 was known for a time under the XBLR-1 designation.

Outwardly, the XB-19 was a product of late-1930s design, covered over in an unfinished silver metal skin, a heavily-glazed nose section and stepped cockpit flight deck. The fuselage was of a smooth, tear drop-shaped design which tapered exceedingly at the rear. The fuselage featured a noticeable deep belly for the internal bomb bay. The cockpit was lined with horizontal windows and the chin was glazed over to provide vision under the forward section of the aircraft. Wings were mid-mounted appendages and fitted ahead of midships. Each wing was afforded a pair of engines along their leading edges in streamlined nacelles. Wings were straight in their general design and rounded at their tips. The tail unit consisted of a single, curved vertical tail fin with low-mounted, curved horizontal planes. Teh undercarriage was of particular note for it was of a tricycle arrangement as opposed to the "tail dragger" design incorporated in many bombers of period. Large wheels were fitted to the main landing gear legs to carry the weight of the massive aircraft on land. The nose leg featured a smaller wheel and was set just under the chin, aft of the windowed housing. Power for the XB-19 was originally served through 4 x Wright R-3350 series radial piston engines.

Dimensionally, the XB-19 featured a length of 132 feet, 2 inches, a wingspan of 212 feet and a height of 42 feet, 9 inches. When empty, it displaced at 130,230lbs and listed a maximum take-off weight of 164,000lbs. Her internal carrying capacity was reported to be 18,700lbs of stores. In practice, she was to be defensed by a collection of machine guns - 5 x 0.50 caliber Browning M2 heavy machine guns and 6 x 0.30 caliber Browning M1919 medium machine guns. Unlike other American bombers of the period, the XB-19 also carried a pair of 37mm autocannons.

Douglas received the construction contract in 1938 and a first flight was achieved on June 27th, 1941. The United States would commit to World War 2 that upcoming December following the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Sometime in 1943, the aircraft was then re-engined with Allison V-3420-11 V24 series engines of 2,600 horsepower each. This provided the airframe with a maximum speed of 265 miles per hour, a cruise speed of 165 miles per hour, a range of 4,200 miles and a service ceiling of 39,000 feet. Climb rate was 650 feet per minute.

The XB-19 retained its experimental designation throughout its active test life with the United States Army Air Corps and only a single example was ever completed. While Douglas would rather have ended the program altogether, the USAAC resolved to utilize the airframe further though keeping it in its test configurations for a series of evaluations to follow. The XB-19 was never intended as a prototype for any future large-scale USAAC/USAAF/USAF bomber - the Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortress" and Consolidated B-24 "Liberator" were firmly entrenched as its heavy bombers. To this was then added the technologically advanced Boeing B-29 "Superfortress" by war's end.

After completing its life as a test platform, the XB-19 was converted to a cargo hauler by the air force (as was the experimental Boeing XB-15) and served in this role until its official retirement. Though plans to save her for an American museum were intended, the aircraft was eventually scrapped in 1949 with only two of her main landing gear tires saved.


Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed
Hi: 300mph
Lo: 150mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (265mph).

Graph average of 225 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
Graph showcases the Douglas XB-19A's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production (1)
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.

Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
Ground Attack
Aerial Tanker
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.

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