The rapid development of aircraft construction in the post-war period required a deeper modernization of the B-29. The military characteristics of the aircraft were not satisfactory, and the Air Force command wanted to get an improved version of the B-29, which has a large bomb load. Boeing's designers quickly developed a bomber project, which received the designation B-29D (designation in the company Model 345-2). Work on the project began in 1944. One of the serial B-29A was taken as a prototype. The keel (which became 29 meters higher than the B-1,52), flaps, wing, and also some aircraft systems underwent alterations. The fuselage became sectional, the cockpits were pressurized. The older engines were replaced by the more powerful Pratt & Whitney R-4360-45 Wasp Major with 2611 kW (3500 hp) turbochargers. The design used aluminum alloys. Since representatives of the air force demanded an increase in the maximum flight altitude (it was believed that a large practical ceiling makes it possible to avoid massive anti-aircraft artillery shelling and fighter attacks), it was necessary to change the anti-icing system of the cockpit and wing glazing.
The US Air Force ordered X-NUMX bombers B-200D, but after the war, this number was reduced to 29 machines, and the aircraft was given the new designation B-60 Superfortress. The final figure for В-50А was set at the size of 50 machines. 79 in May 24. The first production vehicle left the assembly line, and the first flight took place on 1947 in June 25. The aircraft’s flight performance improved compared to its analogue, and the maximum take-off weight of 1947 kg increased by 20 percent.
The defensive armament of the serial B-50 Stratofortress consisted of twelve 12,7-millimeter machine guns: four machine guns in the turret above the cockpit; two machine guns in three remote-controlled turrets; two (plus 20-millimeter cannon or the same machine gun), placed in the tail set. In two bomb bay it was suspended up to 9072 kg of bombs. On additional outer nodes located between the internal engines and the fuselage, if necessary, another 3630 kg of bombs were added. For the suspension of atomic bombs B-50 Superfortress had to roll on the specials. pit
The first B-50A entered the 43 Bombing Group, which received the first bomber in February 1948. In June, 1948, a group stationed in Arizona at the Davis Montana airbase, was fully staffed. In the same year, the B-50A Superfortress bomber made a non-stop flight from Texas from Carswell airport to Hawaii and back. 15884 km was overcome in 41 hour 40 minutes. In flight, the B-50A aircraft was refueled three times with the KV-29 tanker.
To test the technical capabilities of the new aircraft, as well as to prepare the crews, a nonstop flight around the globe was made. 2 March 1949, a bomber of the B-50 Superfortress group with the inscription "Lucky Lady-2" on board with a crew of 14 people (crew commander - captain James Gallagher) took off. The Lucky Lady spent 94 hours in the air 1 a minute, breaking the distance of 37740 km (23452 miles) and periodically refueled from the KV-29M tanker. This flight demonstrated the capabilities of the Strategic Aviation Command to deliver nuclear weapon over great distances. Subsequently, long-duration flights became the norm.
The last B-50A rolled off the assembly line in January of 1949. Subsequently, 11 of them was converted into a training TV-50, intended for training crews of a strategic bomber with a piston engine - "Conver B-38". 20 B-50A together with B-29 participated in the Korean War. At the same time, according to the American data given in the open press, there were no losses among the B-50, while according to the Soviet data 34 B-29 was shot down (the confirmed losses are 69 machines of this type).
After B-50A, followed by a series of advanced B-50B consisting of 45 machines. The release of this modification began in December 1948 of the year. B-50B bomber made the first flight in January next year. The maximum take-off weight of this modification increased to 77112 kilogram. It quickly became clear that the new modification differs slightly from its predecessor in flight performance and that it does not fully comply with the requirements of the military. Since the order was already placed, it was decided to convert the 44 vehicles into strategic intelligence officers. They were given the designation RB-50B. Only one В-50В received the designation EB-50В "Exempt" ("Exempt") was left to test various innovations and improvements that were planned to be implemented on subsequent modifications of the strategic bomber В-50.
44 machines were equipped with various electronic and photographic equipment located in the rear bomb bay. Accordingly, the crew and the number of gas tanks located in the released volume of the fuselage were increased. Modifications on the aircraft carried out in 1950-1951. All aircraft entered the 55-th Intelligence wing. The SAK RB-50B reconnaissance wings were actively exploited until the end of the 1954 g, after which they were gradually replaced by more modern machines. However, even after 1956, when the last RB-50B was removed from service, the intelligence officers continued to perform tasks in the interests of other departments.
15.05.1953 in the east of Kamchatka, one of two Soviet MiGs attacked the RB-50, which violated the airspace of the Soviet Union, but was met by fire Superfortress. 29.07.1953 Soviet MiGs near Vladivostok in the area of Cape Povotorny over the Sea of Japan shot down RB-50. From 17, only the co-pilot escaped from the RB-50 crew. This is the only official loss of B-50 Superfortress during combat.
The following scouts were produced directly at the factory, as a result of which three new variants appeared. X-NUMX clean photo-prospectors RB-14E and the same RB-50F equipped with a navigation radar, as well as 50 RB-15G, which differed from the RB-50F with no frame on the glazing of the nose section, were collected.
The service of most RB-50 in aerial reconnaissance was short-lived. Already in the 1954-th year, the 55-th wing was re-equipped with the jet stratojet RB-47E. The RB-50G and the RB-50E remained part of the 97 Bomb Wing until May of the 1956 year. The main tasks of these aircraft was electronic intelligence. The same work was done by several RB-50 of the 6021 and 6091 squadrons, flying up to the 1961 year over the Pacific Ocean. The RB-50F of the 1370 photocartographic wing based in Turner based in Georgia remained the longest in flying condition. Here, the last Super Strength was replaced with a reactive RC-135 in June of 1966.
The designers worked on new bomber variants. At the last serial heavy bomber B-50A planned to carry out improvements to increase the size of the wing and fuselage. Also, the new aircraft was planned to be equipped with R-4360-51 engines with 4500 horsepower. The prototype machine was chosen the YB-50C index, however, the work started was not completed, and the serial production of B-54 bombers (21 aircraft), as well as RB-54 reconnaissance aircraft (52 aircraft) did not take place.
Nevertheless, the company "Boeing" still has been developed and brought to serial construction another modification of the "Superfortress". The most massive version of the bomber was a modification of the B-50D - from May 1949 to December 1950 released 222 machines. The most noticeable external difference between the B-50D was the design of the frontal glazing, and the scorer window, which became flat. The take-off weight of the car has increased to 78472 kilogram. Also, this model had an increased capacity of the fuel system (there were two outboard tanks behind the engines under the wing), the possibility of installing a refueling rod. Strengthened tail sheathing. Also on the plane installed new electronics, which reduced the number of crew members to 8 people. The bomb compartments were rearranged in such a way as to suspend the new Mk 3 and 4 nuclear bombs.
For the first time, the B-50D took off in May 1949 of the year, and in the middle of the same year it began to be delivered to the SAC units. At the same time, the pace of production for peacetime was very high - for 19 months the air forces received 222 machines.
B-50 bombers were the main aircraft of the Strategic Command of the US Air Force not long. The peak of their service is 1951-1952 years, when 220 machines B-50А and B-50D were on the combat lists. After that, the piston "Super Fortress" rather quickly began to be replaced with reactive B-47.
The last B-50D of the 97-th bomber wing in October 1955, dismantled for parts. A small amount of B-50 together with B-29 managed to make war in Korea. After the B-29 suffered heavy losses from the MiG-15 by day, the strategic command of the United States Air Force shifted to night flights.
The main objectives of the bomber B-29 and B-50 were the airfield of Andun, hydroelectric power station in the area of the city of Singisu and the bridge over the river. Yalujiang However, in the dark Superfortress with impunity it was not possible to leave, as the Soviet pilots who control the MiG-15, also began to lead a "night" lifestyle. After several B-29s were lost, Boeing’s four-engine strategic bombers were practically not involved in combat missions.
Most of the B-50D, retired from combat service, continued his flying career in another capacity. A modified version of the DB-50D used for testing the Bedll XGAM-63 Missing Air-to-Ground missile was created. In the bomb bay, the exhaust trapeze was fixed, with which the air launch was carried out. JB-50D - flying laboratory - created to test various aviation equipment in the air. 15 training TB-50D served to train the crews of the Strategic Command. On them, the pilots mainly worked out refueling in the air, so the necessary equipment was installed on the 11 machines of this modification.
Modification "D" was used to create the aircraft tanker KB-50D. Armament was removed from the aircraft, and at the ends of the wing two outboard fueling units were mounted, one more hose was produced from the tail end.
In December, 1957, the improved version of the tanker, which received the designation KV-50J, took off. For the extreme engine nacelles under each plane on the pylon was mounted on an additional turbojet engine J47-GE-23 (2708 kgf thrust) to improve the speed and take-off characteristics of the machine. After operational tests of modifications J and K in January 1958, the company Hayes Aircraft by October of the same year, converted into air tankers 128 B-50D Superfortress. These tankers flew over the territory of the United States and beyond.
Another version of the converted B-50D was WB-50D - a weather scout released in 50 copies. Special equipment included the AN / AMQ-7 and AN / APN-82 locators to track changes in air temperature. The prototype was circled in 1955 year. Four years later, the weather intelligence service had 69 vehicles flying over the United States, England and the Pacific. And in this work "Superfortress" at the beginning of the 1960's. began to replace the reactive WC-135 and WB-47. WB-50D from the 43 Squadron made the last flight to explore the weather in September 1965. After that, the car went for scrap.
In the 1951 year, two TV-50H unmarked training machines were assembled, but they did not serve as “flying desks” for long. Soon they were converted into WB-50H - weather intelligence officers, and the car’s flying career was completed with KV-50K tankers.
The B-50 was also used for experimental flights. For example, one B-50F was turned into a flying laboratory for testing turbojet engines, which were suspended from the bottom of the fuselage. However, the largest contribution to the development of aviation was made by the EB-50D and EB-50А carrier aircraft, from which the X-2 experienced Bell supersonic aircraft, equipped with rocket engines, was dropped. Suspension X-2 on the ground was already quite a complicated operation. B-50 was installed on the powerful hydraulic ram main racks and raised in order to make it possible to roll the X-2 from the bottom. After that it was fixed with the help of special units.
During the tests of the latest technology, failures often occurred and, unfortunately, there were no human victims. 12.05.1953 during the refueling of the X-2 in flight there was an explosion and two people from the crew of the EB-50 carrier died. The explosion threw the bomber up, but, despite the damage to the aircraft, Bill Leyshop still managed to land the car on the airfield.
The second copy of X-2 was built only in 1955, and its first discharge from EB-50D was carried out in November. 23 July 1956, after separating from the X-2 Superfortress, Everest Frank, reaching speeds of 3360 km / h, became the fastest pilot in the world.
After the end of the flight career, several dozen Boeing B-50 Superfortress became ground targets for which various weapons were tested. In California at the US Navy site at the end of the 1980s, one could see B-50 and B-29, pretty much riddled with various hits. Perhaps this is a long list of professions B-50 Superfortress - the last Boeing piston bomber can be completed.
Flight performance B-50A / B-50D:
Wingspan - 43,04 m;
The length of the aircraft - 30,18 m;
Height - 10,00 m;
Wing area - 159,8 m;
Empty aircraft weight - 54658 kg / 55270 kg;
Maximum take-off weight - 76421 kg / 78471 kg;
Engine type - X-NUMX piston engine R-4-4360;
Power - 4x3500 hp;
Maximum speed - 620 / 637 km / h;
Combat radius of action - 3528 km / 3856 km;
Practical ceiling - 11369 m / 11247 m;
Crew - 11 / 8 people.
Based on materials: