The Boeing B-29A was an improved version of the B-29. Built exclusively at Boeing's Renton, Wash., plant, the A model featured an improved wing design and a four gun forward top turret. The new wing had a span 12 inches greater than the B-29 and was constructed in three pieces -- a center section and two outboard sections -- rather than the two sections of the earlier model. This allowed for greater strength and quicker installation at the factory plus maintenance in the field was easier.
The top turret was modified for four .50-cal. machine guns to improve the forward defensive firepower. The four gun turret was initially installed on late model B-29s and in some cases retrofitted at field depots. The turret was standard on all A models and beginning with block 40 aircraft was modified to a more aerodynamic shape (half tear drop).
B-29A production continued after the end of World War II until May 1946 when the last of 1,119 aircraft was completed. The B-29A was used extensively in the Korean Conflict during the early 1950s. By the end of the conflict, however, it was clear the B-29 was not capable of defending itself against the jet fighters of the period. The B-29 was quickly phased out of firstline service as the new jet bombers became operational.
TECHNICAL NOTES: Armament: 12 .50-cal. machine guns and one 20mm cannon plus 20,000 lbs. of bombs Engines: Four Wright R-3350-23, -41 or -57 Cyclone" radials, each equipped with two type B-11 turbo superchargers and each producing 2,200 hp at takeoff power Maximum speed: 357 mph at 25,000 ft. Cruising speed: 220 mph Range: 6,000 miles maximum ferry range and 4,100 miles with 16,000 lbs. of bombs Service ceiling: 33,600 ft. Span: 142 ft. 2 in. Length: 99 ft. 0 in. Height: 27 ft. 9 in. (at rest); 27 ft. 6.7 in. (taxi position) Weight: 141,100 lbs. (max overload) Crew: Normal crew of 10 consists of pilot, co-pilot, flight engineer, bombardier, navigator, radio operator, two side gunners, top gunner and tail gunner Serial numbers: 42-93824 to 42-94123; 44-61510 to 44-62328