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Douglas XB-31

From PlaneSpottingWorld, for aviation fans everywhere
A model of the XB-31.
Type Heavy bomber
Manufacturer Douglas Aircraft
Status Design only
Primary user U.S. Army Air Force
Number built 0

The Douglas XB-31 (Douglas Model 423) was the design submitted by Douglas after the request by the United States Army Air Forces for a very heavy bomber, the same request that led to the B-29 Superfortress and B-32 Dominator.

Around 1938, General Henry H. 'Hap' Arnold, the head of the Army Air Force, was growing alarmed at the possibility of war in Europe and in the Pacific. Hoping to be prepared for the long-term requirements of the Air Force, Arnold created a special committee chaired by Brigadier General W. G. Kilner; one of its members was Charles Lindbergh. After a tour of Luftwaffe bases, Lindbergh became convinced that Nazi Germany was far ahead of other European nations. In a report in 1939, the committee made a number of recommendations, including development of new long-range heavy bombers. When war broke out in Europe, Arnold requested design studies from several companies on a Very Long-Range bomber capable of traveling 5,000 miles (8,000 km). Approval was granted on December 2.

Despite the promising design, it never progressed past the design stage, mainly because Boeing had a huge head start with its B-29 Superfortress.

Specifications (as designed)

General characteristics

  • Crew: 12
  • Length: 117 ft 3 in (35.7 m)
  • Wingspan: 207 ft 0 in (63.1 m)
  • Height: ()
  • Wing area: 3,300 ft² (310 m²)
  • Empty weight: 109,200 lb (49,530 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 134,200 lb (60,870 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 198,000 lb (89,800 kg)
  • Powerplant:Wright R-3350-13 "Cyclone" radials, 2,200 hp (1,600 kW) each
  • ** Powerplant after later redesign:Pratt & Whitney R-4360 "Wasp Major" radials, 3,000 hp (2,200 kW) each


  • Wing loading: 41 lb/ft² (200 kg/m²)
  • Power/mass: 0.066 hp/lb (108 kW/kg) originally, later upgraded to 0.089 hp/lb (147 W/kg)


  • Guns:
  • Bombs: 25,000 lb (11,000 kg)

References and links

Related content

Comparable aircraft

Designation sequence

Related lists

See also

ja:XB-31 (爆撃機)