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Lockheed XB-30 (Model L-249)

Four-Engined Heavy Bomber Aircraft Proposal

Lockheed XB-30 (Model L-249)

Four-Engined Heavy Bomber Aircraft Proposal


The Lockheed XB-30 Heavy Bomber proposal existed only as a design study heading into World War 2 - the aircraft based on the L-049 Constellation airframe.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: United States
YEAR: 1943
MANUFACTURER(S): Lockheed Corporation - USA
OPERATORS: United States (cancelled)

Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Lockheed XB-30 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
CREW: 12
LENGTH: 104.66 feet (31.9 meters)
WIDTH: 123.03 feet (37.5 meters)
HEIGHT: 23.79 feet (7.25 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 51,731 pounds (23,465 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 94,005 pounds (42,640 kilograms)
ENGINE: 4 x Wright R-3350-13 radial piston engines developing 2,200 horsepower each.
SPEED (MAX): 382 miles-per-hour (615 kilometers-per-hour; 332 knots)
RANGE: 4,999 miles (8,045 kilometers; 4,344 nautical miles)
CEILING: 17,848 feet (5,440 meters; 3.38 miles)

4 x 0.50 caliber Browning M2 heavy machine guns in two twin-gunned remote-controlled dorsal turrets.
2 x 0.50 caliber Browning M2 heavy machine guns in remote-controlled turrets along each side of the forward fuselage.
2 to 4 x 0.50 caliber Browning M2 heavy machine guns in twin-gunned remote-controlled ventral turret.
1 x 20mm cannon with 4 x 0.50 caliber Browning M2 heavy machine guns in remote-controlled tail turret.

Up to 16,000lb of internally-held 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-30 - Base Series Designation; design study only.
• L-249 - Lockheed company model


Detailing the development and operational history of the Lockheed XB-30 (Model L-249) Four-Engined Heavy Bomber Aircraft Proposal.  Entry last updated on 2/10/2017. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©
Before the Boeing B-29 "Superfortress" made its introduction in 1944 and forever changed the direction of the war in the Pacific, there were competing design submissions put forth by players in Consolidated, Douglas, and Lockheed. All were drawn up to fulfill a new U.S. Army heavy bomber requirement intended to provide the air service arm with a capable high-flying platform of considerable range. Consolidated delivered its B-32 "Dominator", which was introduced in January of 1945 and 118 examples were procured, while the Douglas XB-31 and Lockheed XB-30 managed only design studies before attention wholly settled on Boeing's entry.

Origins of the Lockheed XB-30 lay in the latter half of the 1930s when another World War in Europe (or a direct conflict with Japan in the Pacific) seemed a very likely possibility. This pressed Army authorities to pursue a new generation of bombers capable of excellent range while carrying a useful war load and flying higher than designs before it. Technological developments and political events in Europe influenced a committee arranged by General "Hap" Arnold and their recommendation was to pursue a new heavy-class aircraft. The arrival of World War 2 in September of 1939 added to the urgency and design studies were ordered by the Army.

The heavy bomber categorization dictated some of the inherent design of the aircraft during this period - a multi-person crew would be required to manage the onboard systems and stations, an aircraft of considerable dimension was needed to contain crew spaces, fuel tank, and bombs, and a four-engined configuration was required to ensure the bomber held the needed power and range to travel as far and as high as needed. The Army sought a bomber with a range of at least 5,000 miles.

Lockheed's entry was based on their L-049 "Constellation" ("Connie") transport (detailed elsewhere on this site) which was under development at the time. A first-flight of this aircraft occurred in January of 1943 and 88 were eventually built -fourteen inducted into the U.S. military (as the "C-69") and seventy-four constructed for commercial passenger service. This design origin meant that the Lockheed study - designated "XB-30" with the company model designator of "L-249" - carried the same general shape and configuration as the Model L-049. The bomber form therefore had the same tubular, somewhat deep fuselage, mid-set wing mainplanes, and triple-rudder tail unit. Each wing mainplane carried two engine nacelles. The flight deck was held forward in the design overlooking the nose and various crew positions were set about the fuselage, some arranged with defensive armament to protect the aircraft. It was estimated that the L-249 would require a crew of ten for optimal operation. A tricycle undercarriage gave the L-249 a most modern appearance - another quality carried over from the Constellation.

Dimensionally, engineers drew up an aircraft with a wing span of 123 feet, a length of 104.7 feet and a height of 23.8 feet. Empty weight was 51,616lb against an estimated Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) of around 86,000lb. For propulsion, the Wright R-3350-13 series radial was selected, each unit outputting 2,200 horsepower. The engines were held in nacelles along the wing leading edges, two engines to a wing, and driving three-bladed propellers. The engine also went on to power the Boeing B-29, was standard in the Lockheed Constellation series, and eventually used in the Douglas A-1 "Skyraider" attacker (of Vietnam War fame) seen in the post-war years.

Since the bomber would become a target for enemy interceptors it was to carry its own defensive armament. A 20mm cannon along with four 0.50 caliber heavy machine guns, would be fitted to a remotely-controlled tail turret to protect the aircraft's vulnerable "six" position. Two dorsal turrets were also envisioned, each armed with four 0.50 caliber heavy machine guns - providing all-around security. Another two-to-four-gunned turret was to be set ventrally. There would also be remote-controlled side-mounted turrets along the forward sides of the fuselage. Internally, the bomb load ranged up to 16,000 lb of conventional drop ordnance.

Lockheed engineers were able to conduct some testing on components related to the XB-30 design during 1940. Some performance estimates were detailed for the Lockheed submission - a maximum speed of 382 miles per hour, an operational range out to 5,333 miles, and a service ceiling up to 17,832 feet (requiring pressurization of the crew sections).

The progress already seen by Army authorities in the Boeing B-29 submission worked against the L-249 project which was still attempting to get its feet underneath it. Lockheed managed a scale model of their aircraft but its proposal was not selected for further development and promptly fell to aviation history. Similarly the Douglas XB-31 only managed to reach the design stage and was left out of further Army plans. Thus the path for the Boeing B-29 to shine in the Grand War was laid.


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.

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Relative Maximum Speed
Hi: 400mph
Lo: 200mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (382mph).

Graph average of 300 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
Graph showcases the Lockheed XB-30's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production (0)
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
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Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
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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
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Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
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* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.

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