Photo & Drawings
High Altitude Bomber
B-28 Dragon. Development of the high-altitude bomber began in 1939 based on the basic design of the B-25 Mitchell. The new aircraft, designated NA-63, was powered by two 2000 hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800 radial engines. with a single-fin vertical tail, a circular fuselage and a pressurized cockpit for five crew members. Its bomb bay could hold 1,814 kg of bombs, dorsal, ventral and tail turrets with coaxial 12.7 mm machine guns were remotely controlled from the cockpit, there were also three similar machine guns for course fire.
On November 15, 1939, USAAC ordered the construction of the first of two aircraft prototypes, which received the military designation XB-28 and the unofficial nickname Dragon. This aircraft (serial number 40-3056) was flown around on 24 April 1942. On tests, the aircraft showed high flight characteristics: at an altitude of 7620 m, it reached a speed of 599 km / h and could carry bomb loads over a distance of 3283 km.
The second prototype of the NA-67 aircraft (XB-28A, serial number 40-3058) was ordered on December 14, 1940, while USAAC ordered to convert the aircraft into a high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft. For these purposes, four K-17 aerial cameras were mounted on the lower part of the fuselage. On the plane with the same power plant, new machine-gun turrets from General Electric were installed. The first flight of the XB-28A took place on April 24, 1943, but already on August 4, 1943, the plane crashed and fell into the ocean.
Tests of the XB-28 showed that the aircraft was superior in all characteristics to the serial B-25 Mitchell bombers, but by that time the demand for high-altitude bombers was very low - the main bomb strikes were delivered from medium and low altitudes. By the end of the war, the US Air Force began to focus on heavy four-engine strategic bombers, in connection with which work on the creation of a serial version of the B-28 (North American NA-69) aircraft was canceled. The results of tests and developments in pressurized cabins were later used in the development of the Boeing B-29 "Superfortress" bomber.
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