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Boeing B-50 Superfortress


Heavy Bomber / Long-Range Reconnaissance Platform


United States | 1948



"The Boeing B-50 series was a direct development of the B-29 Superfortress of World War 2 fame - though seventy-five percent a new aircraft."

Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Boeing B-50D Superfortress Heavy Bomber / Long-Range Reconnaissance Platform.
4 x Pratt & Whitney R-4360-35 Wasp Major 28-cylinder radial engines developing 3,500 horsepower each.
Propulsion
380 mph
611 kph | 330 kts
Max Speed
36,713 ft
11,190 m | 7 miles
Service Ceiling
4,896 miles
7,880 km | 4,255 nm
Operational Range
Structure
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Boeing B-50D Superfortress Heavy Bomber / Long-Range Reconnaissance Platform.
10
(MANNED)
Crew
100.0 ft
30.48 m
O/A Length
141.4 ft
(43.10 m)
O/A Width
34.6 ft
(10.54 m)
O/A Height
80,601 lb
(36,560 kg)
Empty Weight
173,001 lb
(78,472 kg)
MTOW
Armament
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Boeing B-50 Superfortress Heavy Bomber / Long-Range Reconnaissance Platform provided across 0 hardpoints.
STANDARD:
1 x 20mm cannon
12 x 12.7mm machine guns

OPTIONAL:
Up to 20,000 lb of internally-held ordnance made up of conventional drop bombs.


X X X

Hardpoints Key:


Centerline
Wingroot(L)
Wingroot(R)
Wing
Wingtip
Internal
Not Used
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the Boeing B-50 Superfortress family line.
XB-44 ? B-29A Model Series fitted with Wasp Major 28-cylinder engines; prototype model for B-50A; initially designated as the B-29D model.
B-50A ? Initial Production Model Designation; redesigned tail and strengthened wings over B-29 models.
B-50B ? Increased Operating Weight
B-50D ? Redesigned Nose Section; refueling boom; 222 examples produced.
DB-50D ? Drone Controller
EB-50B ? Single Conversion Example of B-50D model; redesigned undercarriage.
KB-50 ? Inflight Refueling Tanker Conversion Model; 134 examples.
KB-50J ? ?Improved? KB-50 Tanker Series; fitted with 2 x General Electric GE J47 series turbojets underwing.
KB-50K ? Inflight Refueling Tanker Conversion Model; based on the TB-50H trainer; 24 examples.
RB-50B ? Photographic Reconnaissance Platform Conversion Models from B-50B series.
RB-50E ? Specialized Photo-Reconnaissance Conversion Model from B-50B series; 14 examples.
RB-50F ? Specialized Photo-Reconnaissance Conversion Model from RB-50B series; 14 examples; SHORAN equipped.
RB-50G ? Photographic Reconnaissance Platform Conversion Models from RB-50B series; SHORAN equipped; ECM equipped; 15 examples.
TB-50A ? Trainer Conversion Model of B-50A series; 11 examples.
TB-50D ? Trainer Conversion Model of B-50D series; 11 examples.
WB-50 ? Meteorological Research Platform Conversion of B-50 model series.
WB-50D ? Meteorological Research Platform Conversion based on B-50D series; 36 examples.
YB-50C ? Proposed variant featuring VDT (Variable Discharge Turbine) R-4360 series engines; never produced.
B-54A ? Proposed variant of the YB-50C model; never produced.
RB-54A ? Proposed variant of the YB-50C model; never produced.


Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 10/03/2023 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.

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.

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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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Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Boeing B-50 Superfortress. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 370 Units

Contractor(s): Boeing Company - USA
National flag of the United States

[ United States ]
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Image of the Boeing B-50 Superfortress
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Image of the Boeing B-50 Superfortress
Image from the National Museum of the United States Air Force, Dayton, Ohio.

Similar
Developments of similar form-and-function, or related, to the Boeing B-50 Superfortress.
Going Further...
The Boeing B-50 Superfortress Heavy Bomber / Long-Range Reconnaissance Platform appears in the following collections:
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