Boeing B-54

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B-54
RB-54A mockup nose.jpg
Mockup of the B-54
Role Strategic bomber
National origin United States
Manufacturer Boeing
Status Canceled
Primary user United States Air Force (intended)
Number built 0
Developed from B-50 Superfortress

The Boeing B-54 was an American strategic bomber designed by Boeing for use by the United States Air Force. Derived from the YB-50C Superfortress, construction of the prototype was canceled before completion, and the aircraft was never flown.

Design and development[edit]

Begun in 1947, the B-54 was the planned production version of the YB-50C prototype. The standard Pratt & Whitney R-4360 engines of the normal B-50 bomber were replaced with R-4360-51 Variable Discharge Turbine (VDT) engines, the fuselage was lengthened by over 10 feet (3.0 m) and the wingspan was extended by 20 feet (6.1 m), which required the installation of outrigger landing gear in the first and fourth engine nacelles. Large fuel tanks under the outboard wing section were required to carry an additional 3,000 US gallons (11,000 l; 2,500 imp gal) of fuel to reach the intended 9,300 miles (15,000 km) range; 14 .50-caliber machine guns comprised the specified defensive armament.[1]

On May 29, 1948,[1] contracts were placed by the Air Force for 21 B-54A bombers and 52 RB-54A reconnaissance aircraft;[2][3][4] However, on April 18, 1949, the B-54 project was cancelled due to the development of better-performing jet aircraft; construction of the prototype B-54A had started at Seattle but was never completed.[1] The cancellation was lambasted by the Seattle press, who claimed that it was a political decision instead of a military one.[5]

Variants[edit]

B-54A
Production version of the YB-50C
RB-54A
Reconnaissance version

Specifications[edit]

Data from [2]

General characteristics

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 430 mph (690 km/h, 370 kn)
  • Cruise speed: 305 mph (491 km/h, 265 kn)
  • Range: 9,000 mi (14,000 km, 7,800 nmi)
  • Ferry range: 10,562 mi (16,998 km, 9,178 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 40,000 ft (12,000 m) service

Armament

  • Guns: 14 x .50-caliber machine guns in turrets
  • Bombs: 36,000 pounds (16,000 kg)

See also[edit]

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

Related lists

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Jones 1974, p. 183.
  2. ^ a b NMUSAF 2009
  3. ^ Redding and Yenne 1989, p.117.
  4. ^ Andrade, John (1979). U.S.Military Aircraft Designations and Serials since 1909. Midland Counties Publications. ISBN 0-904597-22-9.
  5. ^ Olson 2003, p.184.

Bibliography[edit]