Boeing XB-40 'Fortress'

  Base model:B-40
  Designation System:U.S. Air Force
  Designation Period:1924-Present
  Basic role:Bomber

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 Guy E. Franklin
 Deatsville, AL
Serial numbers: XB-40 (B-17F-1-BO): 41-24341; YB-40 (B-17F-VE): 42-5732 to 42-5744, 42-5871, 42-5920, 42-5921, 42-5923 to 42-5925, 42-5927; TB-40 (B-17F-VE): 42-5833, 42-5834, 42-5872, 42-5926
First flight of the XB-40 was Nov. 10, 1942

Span: 103 ft. 9 in.
Length: 74 ft. 9 in.
Height: 19 ft. 1 in.
Weight: 63,500 lbs. (max. gross weight)
Armament: 14 .50-cal. machine guns standard, various numbers and types of machine guns and cannon were also tested
Engines: Four Wright R-1820-65 engines of 1,200 hp each
Crew: Nine

Maximum speed: 292 mph at 25,000 ft.
Cruising speed: 196 mph
Range: 2,260 miles
Service ceiling: 29,200 ft.

03/06/2007 @ 10:40 [ref: 15792]
 Guy E. Franklin
 Deatsvsille, AL
The XB-40 was developed to test the bomber escort concept. Early in World War II, before long-range fighters like the P-51D became available, the Air Corps developed plans to modify bombers with additional defensive armament. These aircraft would accompany regular bomber formations and provide protection from attacking fighters. Unfortunately, the modified escort bombers were not maneuverable enough to protect large formations. They were also excessively tail heavy and overweight. A standard B-17F formation returning from a mission (after bomb release) outpaced the escort bombers. The YB-40 participated in only a few operational missions in mid-1943 before being withdrawn from service.

The prototype XB-40 was modified by Lockheed Vega (Project V-139) by converting the second production B-17F-1-BO (S/N 41-24341). Defensive armament consisted of 14 .50-cal. machine guns in seven gun positions: chin turret, two dorsal turrets, ball turret, two waist positions and the tail. The first flight of the XB-40 was on Nov. 10, 1942. Twenty service test aircraft were ordered (Vega Project V-140) as YB-40 along with four crew trainers designated TB-40. Because Vega had higher priority production projects, the YB-40/TB-40 assembly job was transferred to Douglas.

03/06/2007 @ 10:39 [ref: 15791]
 Harold Lowery
 Clinton, SC
The Boeing XB-40 was the prototype for the YB-40's. Among the changes between the two aircraft, was the upper rear turret was moved a few inches thus giving it a greater arc of firing. Also the small blister on the port waist postion was removed from the YB-40's. Also there was only one XB-40 built and that was from the second Boeing B-17F.
05/23/2001 @ 20:29 [ref: 2341]


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