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Lockheed Vega B-38

The B-38 was a long-range bomber developed by the American firm Lockheed Vega based on the long-range bomber Boeing B-17. With one of the participants in the BVD-Vega division of Lockheed, USAAF signed a contract for the re-equipping of one B-17E glider with 12-cylinder Allison V-1710-89 V-shaped liquid-cooled V-engines powered by 1425 hp, used on the Lockheed P- 38. The aim was to increase the high-speed characteristics of the V-17 and provide a spare version of the aircraft in case of a possible deficit of the Wright Cyclone radial motors. In addition, the management of Vega Airplane Division intended to use this project as a model for the production of a new aircraft. For the aircraft sample of this project, serial number 42-73515 was reserved, which was never used because of the project closure.

Negotiations on the development of a new project, called Vega Model V-134-1, began in March 1942, and on July 10 a contract was signed under the number AS-28120. Since the aircraft of the new project was significantly different from the standard B-17E, it received a new designation with a different number of the series - XB-38. To study the design of Flying Fortress in the process of production development as part of the BVD association, Vega was given the ninth serial B-17E (serial number 41-2401). Subsequently, this aircraft and used for conversion in the XB-38.

By design, the XB-38 glider was similar to the standard B-17E except for minor changes associated with the installation of other engines. If oil coolers were installed on the front edge of the wing on the B-17E, they were moved to the XB-38 for engines. Allison engine coolant radiators were installed in the leading edge of the wings between the nacelle. Generally, the nacelle received a form close to P-38. In addition to the new engines, the aircraft received more fuel and completely flown-up propellers.

The XB-38 made it's first flight on May 19, 1943. Thanks to more powerful Allison engines, the XB-38 showed higher speed characteristics than the standard B-17E, but a lower service ceiling. After several flights, the test had to be stopped because of permanent destruction of the exhaust manifolds of the engines. After this problem was established, the tests continued. During the ninth flight on June 16, 1943, the right engine (- 3 on specification) caught fire in the air. The test pilots could not bring down the flames and left the plane. XB-38 crashed to the ground and was completely destroyed.

In any case, the improvement in the characteristics of the aircraft was not impressive, and Allison's liquid-cooling engines were required in large numbers to equip the P-38 Lightning and P-40 Warhawk fighters. Due to these reasons, the USAAF refused further work on the XB-38. The order for two more XB-38s was canceled on August 12, 1943.

Modification B-38
Wingspan, M 31.67
Length, M 22.56
Height, M 5.84
Wing area, m2 131.92
Weight, kg
Empty aircraft 15761
Normal takeoff 25401
Maximum Takeoff 29030
Fuel, L 9432
Engine type 4 PD Allison V-1710-89
Power, HP 4 x 1425 in.
Maximum speed, km/h 526
Cruising speed, km/h 364
range, km 10123
Practical range, km 5794
Combat Range, km 3862
Practical Ceiling, M 9050
Crew, Pax 9
  • One 7.62 mm machine gun Colt-Browning M-2 with ammunition 500 rounds, which could be installed in any of the six K-1 type ball units placed in the windows and the bow.
  • Top turret with a power drive type Sperry N. 654473e with paired 12.7-mm machine gun Colt-Browning M-2 with ammunition of 500 rounds per barrel.
  • Sperry N. 645849j is an underfuselage turret with a paired 12.7-mm machine gun Colt-Browning M-2 with a ammunition of 500 rounds per barrel.
  • Lateral embrasures-one 12.7-mm machine gun Colt-Browning M-2 on embrasure with ammunition of 400 rounds.
  • Rear-paired 12.7-mm machine gun Colt-Browning M-2 with ammunition of 500 rounds per barrel.
  • Bomb load up to 2721 kg.

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    Page last modified: 10-08-2018 02:01:06 ZULU