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Posted 6/25/2009 Printable Fact Sheet
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North American XB-21
North American XB-21 (S/N 38-485). (U.S. Air Force photo)
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The North American XB-21 was submitted to the Army Air Corps in the spring of 1937 for evaluation as an improved twin-engine bomber. The improved Douglas B-18A was the competitor for the XB-21. Douglas could produce the B-18A much cheaper than North American could build the XB-21 ($64,000 vs. $122,000), so the competition was won by Douglas. Five service test models of the XB-21 were ordered as YB-21, but the contract was canceled before any aircraft were built.

The XB-21 featured power nose and ventral turrets with a single .30-cal. machine gun in each; however, the nose turret was removed and replaced by a solid metal shell and the ventral (top) turret was removed completely during testing. The XB-21 was capable of carrying a 10,000 pound bomb load for about 600 miles and 1,960 miles with a 2,200-pound bomb load.

Type Number built/
XB-21 1 Model NA 21

Armament: Five .30-cal. machine guns and 10,000 lbs. of bombs
Engines: Two Pratt & Whitney R-2180-1 supercharged radials of 1,200 hp each
Maximum speed: 220 mph at 10,000 ft.
Cruising speed: 190 mph
Service ceiling: 25,000 ft.
Range: 1,960 miles with 2,200 lbs. of bombs (600 miles with 10,000 lbs. of bombs)
Span: 95 ft. 0 in.
Length: 61 ft. 9 in.
Height: 14 ft. 9 in.
Weight: 40,000 lbs. maximum weight
Crew: Six (eight with the nose and ventral turrets)
Serial number: 38-485

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