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B-29 "Superfortress"

Strategic Bomber


B-29 Superfortress

This machine, developed by Boeing already during the war, marked a new stage in the development of aircraft of this class. Progressive technology, excellent hardware and instrumentation for those times, pressurized cockpits, excellent flight performance, powerful defensive weapons, a large bomb load and flight range - all this was inherent in the B-29. In a word, all the best achievements of technology were combined in this aircraft. With a speed of 560 - 570 km / h at an altitude of 10 km, it was difficult to access for interceptor fighters. True, the B-29 had a heavier control than the B-17 and B-24 (the first experience of pressurized inputs), and the worst view (frequent binding of the pressurized cabin and distorting glazing).

Great America is rich in other people's talents, the chief designer of this aircraft is A. Jordanov, a Bulgarian by nationality. He came to the US in the 1920s, where he gained fame as the chief designer of the famous Douglas DC-3 transport aircraft. During the development of the B-29, designers solved many scientific and technical problems, not only in relation to the design and layout, but also radar equipment, remote control systems for mobile machine gun installations. The aircraft had a pressurized cockpit and non-pressurized bomb bays. The task of increasing the survivability of the aircraft and the interchangeability of the crew was solved with the help of a manhole passing through the entire aircraft.

The B-29 became an aircraft of paramount importance and by January 1942 (even before the first flight in September) more than 500 machines had already been ordered. The first flight took place on September 21, 1942 when Boeing test pilot Edward Allen flew an XB-29 (41-002). By this time, 1664 aircraft had been ordered. The unarmed XB-29 was powered by four Wright R-3350-13 engines with three-bladed propellers. The second XB-29 (41-003) took off on December 28, 1942. This second XB-29's engine caught fire on approach on February 18 and crashed, killing 11 Boeing crew members, including test pilot Edward Allen. In the future, fires on engines accompanied the entire career of the B-29.

Production of the B-29 began in 1943. In the fighting against Japan, success came after the use of tactics of night bombing with incendiary bombs at low altitude (1500-3000m), because conventional bombing from the echelon was impossible due to weather conditions - strong winds , reducing the accuracy of bombing and lack of visibility. Yes, it seems that the Americans were not very concerned about the very fact of the bombing of civilians during a raid on military installations.

It should be noted that the B-29 remained in history not only as the most technically advanced bomber of the Second World War period, but also as the aircraft with which atomic weapons were used for the first time in the history of mankind. Two atomic bombs, on August 6 and 8, 1945, dropped from B-29 bombers on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, claimed the lives of tens of thousands of civilians.

With the advent of atomic weapons, the strike power of heavy bombers has increased immeasurably. The role of aircraft of this class in the system of the armed forces has also increased significantly.

The need to have strategic bombers similar to the American ones forced the Soviet aviation industry after the war to create an exact analogue - the Tu-4, the design solutions and details of which were later used to create bombers and airliners. Created on the direct orders of Stalin, it was an exact copy of the American super-fortress. The electronic equipment used on American aircraft in various modifications was used on Soviet aircraft for a long time.

Before the end of the war, American industry produced 3760 bombers of this type, which were used in the Pacific theater of operations.

B-29 Specification
Crew 11
Wing span, m 43.05
Length, m 30.18
Height, m 9.02
4 × PE R-3350-23-23A/-41 Pratt & Whitney , hp 2,200
Weight, kg:
Empty weight 34,020
Maximum takeoff weight 62,500
Maximum speed, km/h 576
Time to 6100m, min 5
Service ceiling, m 11,150
Maximum range with max weight, km 3,140
20-mm cannon и 2х12.7-mm machine guns in the forage
Remotely-controlled 2х12.7-mm machine guns X 4 barbette, bombs, int. kg

Photo Description
Drawing B-29r

Drawing B-29

B-29 in flight

B-29 in flight

The B-29 'Enola Gay'

Evening on August, 6, 1945. The B-29 "Enola Gay" on aerodrome North-Field before a raid to Hiroshima.

F-13A "Superfortress"

Strategic Reconnaissance Aircraft

F-13 Superfortress

The F-13 prototype made its first flight on August 4, 1944 from the airfield of the Continental-Denver Center, where the aircraft was being converted. The first F-13A was sent to the Pacific Ocean on October 30, 1944. On this theater of operations, F-13A aircraft used two units: a photographic reconnaissance detachment at XX Bomber Command (from February 13, 1945, the “C” link of the 1st photographic reconnaissance squadron) with a base in Shinklin, China, as well as in the 3rd photographic reconnaissance squadron with a base at Islay Field, Saipan. The first sortie to Japan was made by F-13A (42-93852, "Tokyo Rose") on November 1, 1944.

Usually the F-13A crew consisted of 11 people who performed the same duties as the B-29 crew, as well as one camera operator and photographic equipment. There were six cameras on the plane. Three K-17 cameras formed a trimetrogon - one camera carried out vertical, and two diagonal shooting. These cameras together covered from 52 to 78 km2 depending on the flight altitude. K-17 cameras were refueled with 150 feet (45 m) of tape. Pictures are 9x9 inches (22.86x22.86 cm). Two K-22 cameras stood vertically and were used for detailed shooting. From a height of 6,096 m (20,000 ft), K-22 cameras filmed a strip two miles (3.2 km) wide. The K-18 also stood upright, taking less detailed 9x18-inch (22.86x45.72 cm) shots. Additionally, during night reconnaissance flights, the aircraft could be equipped with a K-19 camera.

All cameras were mounted in the rear pressurized cabin. The shooting was carried out through windows covered with 3/4 inch (1.9 cm) thick glass. In the nose of the aircraft there was a B-3 drift meter serviced by a photo navigator. In 1947, the name of the aircraft was changed from F-13A to RB-29.

The conditions of the war in the Pacific, primarily the vast distances that aircraft had to cover, required the creation of a long-range strategic reconnaissance aircraft. Initially, the F-5 aircraft, a reconnaissance modification of the Lockheed R-38 Lightning fighter, and the F-7, a reconnaissance modification of the Consolidated B-24 Liberator bomber, were used for this purpose. But these machines did not fully meet the requirements for them. In April 1943, the American Air Mapping Committee determined that the B-29 would be the best aircraft for the long-range strategic reconnaissance role. The reconnaissance modification of this aircraft received the designation F-13. The first reconnaissance aircraft was the B-29A-20-BW (42-6412). This aircraft served as the prototype for the subsequent series of 117 F-13As. All F-13As were built by Boeing: 30 at the Wichita plant (B-29-BW) and 87 at the Renton plant (B-29-BN). Four machines, designated as TF-13A, were released in a training version for crew training.

F-13A Superfortress

Variants B-29 "Superfortress"

  • XB-29: three prototypes (41-002, and 1-003 and 41-18335) with R-3350-13 engines and three-bladed propellers: one airframe for static tests also built;
  • YB-29: 14 military test aircraft armed with R-3350-21 engines and four-blade propellers;
  • B-29: main production variant; produced by Boeing (a branch in Wichita). Bell and Martin (Omaha plant): 2200 hp R-3350-23 engines. (R-3350-41 and -57 were installed on later aircraft), three-barreled tail gun mount; or all three - 12.7 mm machine guns, or two machine guns and one 20 mm cannon;
  • B-29A: 1,119 production aircraft similar to the B-29. but with a wingspan increased to 43.36 m; four-barreled forward upper machine gun turret and R-3350-57 or -59 engines; was built at the Boeing plant in Renton;
  • FB-29A: new F-13A designation after 1945;
  • RB-29A: new designation for FB-29A after 1948;
  • TV-29A: B-29A training variant;
  • ETV-29A: one aircraft (44-62093) modified after the war to carry EF-84E fighters on wings;
  • B-29B: 310 serial vehicles built by Bell with weapons completely dismantled, except for the tail turret; motors R-3350-51;
  • EB-29B: one B-29B. converted into the carrier of the XF-85 "Goblin" suspended fighter;
  • B-29C: a project with the latest modifications of the R-3350 engine; order for 5,000 vehicles canceled due to end of war;
  • B-29D: large modification with larger keel and R-4360-35 engines; renamed B-50:
  • XB-29E: one B-29. redesigned to test a new weapon control system;
  • B-29F: six aircraft modified after the war, lightened and equipped for service in Alaska, intended for reconnaissance flights over the Soviet Union;
  • XB-29G: One B-29B converted into a flying engine test lab;
  • ХВ-29Н: one В-29А for weapons testing;
  • YB-29J: six B-29s used to test engines with modified engine nacelles;
  • RB-29J: Two YB-29Js. later used for reconnaissance; also known as FB-29J;
  • YKB-29J: two YB-29Js equipped with a Boeing refueling boom;
  • CB-29J: one B-29 converted into a transport aircraft;
  • KV-29M: V-29 and V-29A converted to towed cone tankers;
  • B-29MR: B-29 with receiving refueling equipment;
  • KV-29R: tanker aircraft based on the B-29 with a rigid boom;
  • YKB-29T: one KV-29M equipped with three aerial refueling units;
  • DB-29; control center for unmanned aircraft;
  • GB-29; aircraft carrier X-1 and other experimental aircraft;
  • QB-29: radio-controlled target;
  • SB-29: 16 examples of B-29 with a drop-down lifeboat adapted for long-range rescue operations;
  • WB-29 Weather Reconnaissance
  • XB-39: one YB-29 with V-3420-11 engines;
  • XB-44: one B-29A with R-4360-33 engines; armament is limited to two tail guns; was named XB-29D and served as the prototype for the B-50;
  • F-13A: B-29 and B-29A converted into strategic photo reconnaissance; redesignated FB-29A in 1945 and then RB-29A; later converted for electronic intelligence;
  • TF-13A: four training F-13As;
  • RB-13A: F-13A designation after 1945;
  • FB-13A: RB-1 ZA designation after 1948;
  • P2B-15: Two B-29A. transferred to the US Navy as radar patrol aircraft: additional fuel and a large radar are placed in the bomb bay;
  • P2B-2S: two similar US Navy aircraft with some equipment changes; P2Bs were later used to launch experimental aircraft.