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B-50 Superfortress

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The Boeing B-50 Superfortress was basically a post-World War II revision of the wartime B-29 Superfortress with new, more powerful (3,500-HP Pratt & Whitney R-4360-35) radial engines and numerous other improvements.

The original designation was B-29D, but the designation was switched because the US Air Force (rightly) believed Congress in 1945 would not fund further development of a World War II-era design, no matter how advanced.

While superficially identical to the B-29, the B-50 was actually quite different. In its primary role, it mostly served as a stop-gap between the obsolete B-29 and the jet-powered B-47 Stratojet.

Boeing built 371 of these between 1947 and 1953, some serving until 1965. A reconnaissance variant, the RB-50B (a B-50B conversion) existed and played an important role in Cold War espionage. An aerial refueling tanker conversion designated KB-50 was used in the Vietnam War.

While not many were ordered, the B-50 was the ultimate expression of the B-29 family and one of the last piston-engined bombers built. The B-50 was retired from its main role as atomic bomber in 1955, and was removed completely from inventory ten years later. No flying examples exist today, although several can be found in various air museums.

Related content

Related development: B-29 Superfortress - Tupolev Tu-4

Comparable aircraft:

Designation sequence: B-47 - XB-48 - YB-49 - B-50 - XB-51 - B-52 - B-53

Related lists: List of military aircraft of the United States - List of bomber aircraft


Lists of Aircraft | Aircraft manufacturers | Aircraft engines | Aircraft engine manufacturers

Airports | Airlines | Air forces | Aircraft weapons | Missiles | Timeline of aviation

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