The Boeing B-54 was an American strategic bomber designed by Boeing for use by the United States Air Force. Derived from the YB-50C Superfortress, construction of the prototype was canceled before completion, and the aircraft was never flown.
|Mockup of the B-54|
|National origin||United States|
|Primary user||United States Air Force (intended)|
|Developed from||B-50 Superfortress|
Begun in 1947, the B-54 was the planned production version of the YB-50C prototype. The standard Pratt & Whitney R-4360 engines of the normal B-50 bomber were replaced with R-4360-51 Variable Discharge Turbine (VDT) engines, the fuselage was lengthened by over 10 feet (3.0 m) and the wingspan was extended by 20 feet (6.1 m), which required the installation of outrigger landing gear in the first and fourth engine nacelles. Large fuel tanks under the outboard wing section were required to carry an additional 3,000 US gallons (11,000 l; 2,500 imp gal) of fuel to reach the intended 9,300 miles (15,000 km) range; 14 .50-caliber machine guns comprised the specified defensive armament.
On May 29, 1948, contracts were placed by the Air Force for 21 B-54A bombers and 52 RB-54A reconnaissance aircraft;[N 1] However, on April 18, 1949, the B-54 project was cancelled due to the development of better-performing jet aircraft; construction of the prototype B-54A had started at Seattle but was never completed. The cancellation was lambasted by the Seattle press, who claimed that it was a political decision instead of a military one.
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|Patrol and surveillance|