B-29 Turboprop


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22 January 2006
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This picture is from Boeing B-52. A Documentary History by Walter J Boyne. Schiffer.
The text is:

"Turboprops were seen as a possible powerplant for the B-29; unfortunately, the engines never materialized in time".

..."in time" would mean before the end of WW2?

Please anybody can give more information about this design?

Thanks in advance

I think US turboprop studies started seriously by 1943 but but first pratical engine came just after the War, the XT-40.

I only know two programs to replace the B-29 Wright R-3350 (2200 hp):

a) XB-39 with Allison V-3420-11 (3000 hp) which was not purchased because improved performance was not enough to justify it.

b) 1943: XB-44 with P&W R-4360-33 (3000 hp) was considered satisfactory to enter production as B-29D. First flight of XB-44 took place in May, 1945. When the first B-29D took the air in June, 1947 designation has changed to B-50A.


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Well I think the American’s lost an opportunity with not preceding with the B-29 Turboprop variant of its excellent Superfortress design. For I believe that the ultimate Superfortress – the B-50 should have been a turboprop powered aircraft.

The Chinese in an attempt to squeeze more life and capability of their 100 odd Soviet supplied Tu-4’s (unlicensed copy’s of the Boeing B-29) developed a turboprop-powered version (see pic). But I have been unable to find out why they did not implement this conversion to front line aircraft – although possibly due to the arrival of their Tu-16 ‘Badger’ bombers?

P.S. I always thought that the United States could have got some more useful life out of their B-29/B-50 design as a long-range Maritime Patrol / Anti-Submarine aircraft.
Does anyone know if a MP/ASW version of the B-29 was ever considered or studied??

Well Pioneer the ultimate B-29 development was the B-50C proposed to the USAF in 1947. The amount of modifications requested a new designation (B-54A) but contract for 7 B-54A and 23 RB-54A was cancelled in 1949. Again, no turboprop was considered for it. The engine selected was P&W R-4360-51 VDT Wasp Major.

I think at that time, SAC prefered a new fresh design instead reengining its B-29/B-50. Boeing offered its Model 474 (XB-55) in 1949...but this a post-1945 topic ;)
Hi Everyone!

Here are two illustrations that you may find interesting of Tu-4s from the People's Republic of China. (Source, Wings Pallet website.)



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pometablava said:
I think US turboprop studies started seriously by 1943 but but first pratical engine came just after the War, the XT-40.

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