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Home > Fact Sheets > Boeing RB-50B


Posted 7/7/2009 Printable Fact Sheet

All but one of the Boeing B-50Bs (S/N 47-119 to 47-162) built were modified for photo reconnaissance, weather data gathering and observation missions. These converted aircraft were redesignated RB-50B. In addition to the changes necessary for the nine reconnaissance cameras installed at four stations, the RB-50Bs were modified to accept two 700-gallon auxiliary fuel tanks. These tanks were mounted on pylons on the outboard wings and could be dropped in flight in necessary. The aircraft were also capable of in-flight refueling using the early British-type system. The No. 2 bomb bay (aft) was modified to hold a crew capsule for the extra crewmen operating the reconnaissance equipment.

All but one of the RB-50Bs were later converted to RB-50E, -F or -G models. The RB-50E was essentially an improved version of the RB-50B and was assigned photographic reconnaissance and observation missions. The RB-50F had a SHORAN [SHOrt RANge (radio/radar) Navigation] system installed and was used for mapping related missions. The RB-50G had an improved radar system, electronic counter measures equipment, a larger crew and a new B-50D nose section.

Type Number built/
RB-50B 44 (cv) Reconnaissance modification of B-50B

TECHNICAL NOTES (standard B-50B):
Armament: 12 .50-cal. machine guns, one 20 mm cannon and 20,000 lbs. of bombs; RB-50Bs usually carried only photoflash bombs in the forward bomb bay
Engines: Four Pratt & Whitney R-4360-35 Wasp Major turbosupercharged radials of 3,500 hp each
Maximum speed: 385 mph at 25,000 ft. and combat weight of 121,700 lbs.
Cruising speed: 235 mph
Range: 4,650 miles with 10,000-lb. bomb load; 5,270 miles maximum ferry range
Service ceiling: 37,000 ft.
Span: 141 ft. 3 in.
Length: 99 ft. 0 in.
Height: 32 ft. 8 in.
Weight: 170,400 lbs. (maximum takeoff weight)
Crew: 10 or 11 normally [pilot, copilot, flight engineer, navigator, bombardier, radar operator, radio operator and four gunners (top, tail, left and right)]; RB-50Bs had additional crewmen (photo technicians, etc.) in a bomb bay mounted crew module
Serial numbers: 47-119 to 47-162

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