The Army ordered 38 B-24As in 1939 as an improved version of the XB-24; however, only nine aircraft were actually built to A model specifications. The B-24A had better overall performance than the XB-24, mainly due to aerodynamic improvements in the design.
Nine aircraft (of the original 38 A models ordered) were converted on the assembly line to B-24C and the remaining 20 to Liberator Mk. I (LB30B) for use by the British in a coastal patrol and defense squadron. France ordered a version of the B-24 in May 1940, but these aircraft were diverted to Britain as LB30s after France was overrun by the Axis.
The B-24A was actually ordered into production before any version of a B-24 flew because of the immediate need for bomber aircraft. Also, the Army General Staff reversed the trend of the late 1930s preferring many medium bombers over fewer heavy bombers. The need for a four-engine heavy bomber was clearly demonstrated in the early stages of World War II.
Only nine actual B-24As built
TECHNICAL NOTES: Armament: Six .50-cal. and two .30-cal. machine guns, plus 8,800 lbs. of bombs (max) Engines: Four Pratt & Whitney R-1830-33 radials of 1,200 hp each (take-off power) Maximum speed: 293 mph Cruising speed: 228 mph Range: 4,000 miles (ferry range); 2,200 miles with 4,000 lbs. of bombs Service ceiling: 32,000 ft. Span: 110 ft. 0 in. Length: 63 ft. 9 in. Height: 18 ft. 8 in. Weight: 46,400 lbs. maximum Serial numbers: 40-2349 to 40-2386 ordered (only nine aircraft delivered as B-24A [S/N 40-2369 to 40-2377]; nine aircraft delivered as B-24C [S/N 40-2378 to 40-2386]; 20 aircraft delivered to Great Britain as LB30B [U.S. S/N 40-2349 to 40-2368 assigned British S/N AM910 to AM929])