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Douglas B-18 Bolo


The Douglas Aircraft Co. developed the B-18 to replace the Martin B-10 as the Army Air Corps' standard bomber. The Bolo's design was based on the Douglas DC-2 commercial transport. During Air Corps bomber trials at Wright Field in 1935, the B-18 prototype competed with the Martin 146 (an improved B-10) and the four engine Boeing 299, forerunner of the B-17. Although many Air Corps officers believed the Boeing design was superior, only 13 YB-17s were initially ordered. Instead, the Army General Staff selected the less costly Bolo and, in January 1936, ordered 133 as B-18s. Later, 217 more were built as B-18As with a "shark" nose in which the bombardier's position was extended forward over the nose gunner's station.
By 1939, underpowered and with inadequate defensive armament, the Bolo was the Air Corps' primary bomber. Some B-18s were destroyed by the Japanese on December 7, 1941. By early 1942, improved aircraft replaced the Bolo as a first-line bombardment aircraft. Many B-18's were then used as transports, or modified as B-18Bs for anti-submarine duty in the Carribean, with MAD detectors.
General characteristics B-18A
Primary function Bomber
Power plant Two Wright R-1820-53 engines
Thrust 2x 992 HP 2x 740 kW
Wingspan 89.5 ft 27.28 m
Length 57.8 ft 17.63 m
Height 15.2 ft 4.62 m
Wingarea 965 sq ft 89.65 sq m
Weight empty 16,321 lb 7,403 kg
max. 27,672 lb 12,552 kg
Speed max. 215 mph 346 km/h
cruising 167 mph 270 km/h
Ceiling 23,900 ft 7,285m
Range 1,180 miles 1,900 km
Armament 3x 7.62mm machine gun; 2,950 kg bombs
Crew Six
Cost $80,000
Date deployed 1937


Jirka Wagner

 

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Last updated 01.01.2017