STATUS: Retired, Out-of-Service
MANUFACTURER(S): Boeing Company - USA
LENGTH: 100.00 feet (30.48 meters)
WIDTH: 141.40 feet (43.1 meters)
HEIGHT: 34.58 feet (10.54 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 80,601 pounds (36,560 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 173,001 pounds (78,472 kilograms)
ENGINE: 4 x Pratt & Whitney R-4360-35 Wasp Major 28-cylinder radial engines developing 3,500 horsepower each.
SPEED (MAX): 380 miles-per-hour (611 kilometers-per-hour; 330 knots)
RANGE: 4,896 miles (7,880 kilometers; 4,255 nautical miles)
CEILING: 36,713 feet (11,190 meters; 6.95 miles)
Detailing the development and operational history of the Boeing B-50 Superfortress Heavy Bomber / Long-Range Reconnaissance Platform.
Entry last updated on 10/23/2017.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content Β©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
Though looking every bit the direct copy of the World War 2-era Boeing B-29 "Superfortress" heavy bomber, the Boeing B-50 incorporated enough new elements to deem it an all-new aircraft - retaining just 25 percent of the original's base design. Changes that distinguished the B-50 from its predecessor included an all-new, more efficient and resilient wing and fold-down vertical tail surfaces for housing in existing USAF hangars. The B-50 was a further development of the B-29 with a more evolved over-battlefield role and was taken into service by the United State Air Force's Strategic Air Command (SAC) as a high-altitude, long-range nuclear-capable bomber.
With its B-29 pedigree, the B-50 largely retained the same overall form - this included use of a four engine arrangement. These were made up of Pratt & Whitney R-4360-35 "Wasp Major" 28-cylinder radials outputting at 3,500 horsepower each. Internally, the aircraft housed ten crewmen and was locally-defense by 12 x 0.50 caliber heavy machine guns fitted to remotely-controlled turret barbettes. There was also a sole 20mm cannon for heavy-caliber firepower. The B-50's internally bombload capability reached 20,000 pounds of conventional drop ordnance.
Boeing B-50 Superfortress (Cont'd)
Heavy Bomber / Long-Range Reconnaissance Platform
With far greater warloads and operational range, the B-50 bomber provided the SAC with a proven, highly-capable bomber that could double as a nuclear deterrent in the face of the expanding Cold War. B-50's would eventually be replaced by jet-powered Boeing B-47 "Stratojets" by 1954 and many B-50s would go on to be modified as TB-50H crew and pilot trainers. Others became KB-50 aerial refueling tanker aircraft and RB-50 photographic reconnaissance platforms.
All B-50's would be retired from American service by 1965.
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Relative Maximum Speed Rating
This entry's maximum listed speed (380mph).
Graph average of 300 miles-per-hour.
Graph showcases the Boeing B-50D Superfortress's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units