National Museum of the USAF   Right Corner Banner
Join the Air Force

Home > Fact Sheets > Douglas XB-42


Posted 7/7/2009 Printable Fact Sheet
Previous ImageNext Image
Douglas XB-42
The first Douglas XB-42 built (S/N 43-50224). (U.S. Air Force photo)
Download HiRes

The Douglas XB-42 was the last twin-engine propeller driven bomber tested by the Army Air Forces. Initially ordered as attack aircraft (XA-42) in the summer of 1943, the first of two aircraft built flew on May 6, 1944, after being redesignated XB-42. The medium bomber design featured two Allison V-12 engines housed within the fuselage driving dual contra-rotating pusher propellers aft of the empennage. Each engine used five P-39 propeller drive shafts connected to a complex gearbox arrangement to turn the propellers. The purpose of the design was to test a long-range medium bomber that could fly as far as the B-29 but required less resources to build, operate and maintain. Like the other bombers ordered as insurance against a failure of the B-29 program, the XB-42 was never ordered in quantity.

The Mixmaster carried only three crewmen -- a pilot, copilot who doubled as a gunner, and bombardier. Because the design had a 410 mph maximum speed, defensive armament was relatively light -- only six .50-cal. machine guns. One gun was mounted in a fixed position on either side of the forward fuselage for head-on defense, and the other four guns were mounted in pairs on the trailing edge of the wing between the flaps and ailerons. These guns were flex-mounted for rearward defense and could be controlled and fired by the copilot-gunner who faced rearward during defensive operations.

The first XB-42 was later modified by adding a small nacelle-mounted Westinghouse jet engine to each wing. This aircraft was redesignated XB-42A.

Type Number built/
XB-42 2 Medium bomber with pusher props

Armament: Six .50-cal. machine guns and 8,000 lbs. of bombs
Engine: Two Allison V-1710-125 V-12 engines of 1,800 hp each
Maximum speed: 410 mph. at 23,500 ft.
Cruising speed: Approx. 310 mph
Range: 1,840 miles; 5400 miles maximum ferry range
Service ceiling: 29,400 ft.
Span: 70 ft. 6 in.
Length: 53 ft. 7 in.
Height: 20 ft. 9 in.
Weight: 35,702 lbs. (maximum gross weight)
Crew: Three (pilot, copilot/gunner, bombardier)
Serial numbers: 43-50224 and 43-50225 

Click here to return to the Bomber Aircraft index.

 Inside the Museum

ima cornerSearch

ima cornerAircraft


tabRelated Links

Museum Virtual TourMuseum Facebook PageMuseum Twitter PageMuseum Instagram
Museum Google Plus PageMuseum Pinterest PageMuseum YouTube ChannelMuseum Flickr Page
Museum PodcastsMuseum E-newsletter Sign-upMuseum RSS Feeds

Site Map      Contact Us     Questions     Security and Privacy notice     E-publishing  
Suicide Prevention    SAPR   IG   EEO   Accessibility/Section 508   No FEAR Act