DescriptionThe Douglas B-23 Dragon is an American twin-engined bomber developed by the Douglas Aircraft Company as a successor to (and a refinement of) the B-18 Bolo.
Douglas proposed a number of modifications designed to improve the performance of the B-18. Initially considered a redesign, the XB-22 featured 1,600 hp Wright R-2600-1 Twin Cyclone radial engines. The complete B-18 redesign was considered promising enough by the USAAC to alter the original contract to produce the last 38 B-18As ordered under Contract AC9977 as the B-23] The design incorporated a larger wingspan with a wing design very similar to that of the DC-3, a fully retractable undercarriage, and improved defensive armament. The B-23 was the first operational American bomber equipped with a glazed tail gun position. The tail gun was a .50 calibre (12.7 mm) machine gun, which was fired from the prone position by a gunner using a telescopic sight.
The first B-23 flew on July 27, 1939 with the production series of 38 B-23s manufactured between July 1939 and September 1940.
For the operational history of the B-23 and details of the three variants, click here.
- Crew: 6
- 58 ft 4 3⁄4 in (17.799 m)
- 92 ft 0 in (28.04 m)
- 18 ft 5 1⁄2 in (5.626 m)
- Wing Area:
- 993 sq ft (92.3 sq m)
- Empty Weight:
- 19,089 lb (8,659 kg)
- 32,400 lb (14,696 kg), Gross weight: 26,500 lb (12,020 kg)
- 2 × Wright R-2600-3 radial engine, 1,600 hp (1,200 kW) each
- Maximum speed: 282 mph (454 km/h, 245 kn) at 12,000 ft (3,660 m)
- Cruise Speed:
- 210 mph (340 km/h, 180 kn)
- 1,400 mi (2,300 km, 1,200 nmi)
- Rate of Climb:
- Time to altitude: 6.7 minutes to 10,000 ft (3,050 m)
- Service Ceiling:
- 31,600 ft (9,600 m)