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B-50 Superfortress

B-50 Superfortresses from Strategic Air Command deployed to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, for 90-day rotations to support operations in Korea.

KB-50s were B-50 bombers modified as aerial tankers, generally after they had become surplus to Strategic Air Command requirements. These alterations involved the removal of armament and the installation of additional fuel tanks and probe-and-drogue equipment to permit the aerial refueling by hose of up to three fighter-type aircraft at one time. KB-50s went into service with the Tactical Air Command (TAC) in 1957. As the performance of operational jet fighters increased, a J47 jet engine was installed under each wing on some KB-50s to boost speed while refueling and to increase altitude capability. Hayes Aircraft Corporation converted 136 tankers in this manner (KB-50Js and -Ks). Deliveries of these improved tankers to TAC began in early 1958. They were replaced by jet KC-135 tankers in the mid-1960s, but a few were still available in 1965 for use in Southeast Asia for emergency refueling of fighters over hostile territory.


Lenth/span (feet) 99.0/141.2
Wing area (square feet) 1,720
Weights (pounds) Empty - 84,714
Combat - 121,850
Maximum takeoff, normal - 158,250 (limited by performance)
Maximum takeoff, overload - 173,000 (limited by strength)
Engine (4) Pratt & Whitney R-4360-35
General Electric CH-7-B1 (The Air Force added jet engines to some B-50s)
Takeoff ground run (feet) Sea level - 5,940
Over 50-ft obstacle - 7,425
Rate of climb (feet per minute) Sea level - 620
Combat rate (Maximum power) - 2,200
Service ceiling (feet) 24,000 (100 feet per minute climb)
36,900 at combat weight (100 feet per minute climb)
35,650 - combat ceiling (500 feet per minute climb)
Speed (knots)
212 (average)
343/30,000 (knots/feet - maximum speed, optimum altitude, maximum power)
337/25,000 (knots/feet - basic speed at altitude, maximum power)
Combat radius (nautical miles) 2,082
Total mission time (hours) 19.53
Armament (13) .50-caliber machine guns
Maximum load (pounds) 28,000 (bombs)
Crew Pilot
Radio-electronic countermeasures operator
Left-side gunner
Right-side gunner
Top gunner
Tail gunner

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