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Douglas Jetmaster

The Douglas XB-43 Jetmaster is a prototype bomber powered by jet engines that was developed in the United States during the 1940s.

This aircraft was an evolution of the XB-42 and featured two General Electric J35 engines, each capable of producing 4,000 lbf (17.8 kN) of thrust, in place of the piston engines used in the XB-42.

Although it was the first jet-powered bomber to be flown by the United States, the XB-43 experienced stability problems and was not put into production.

Leaders within the Air Materiel Command of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) began contemplating the potential of jet-propelled bombers as early as October 1943.

During this time, Douglas Aircraft was in the initial stages of designing a twin-engine bomber, known as the XB-42, which showed great promise.

The aircraft was powered by reciprocating engines that were situated within the fuselage, resulting in a laminar flow-airfoil wing that was free of any drag-inducing pylon mounts or engine cowlings.

The airframe was deemed highly suitable for testing turbojet propulsion.

Following confirmation of the feasibility of the concept by Douglas, the USAAF amended the XB-42 contract in March 1944 to include the development of two turbojet-powered XB-43 prototypes, which was a reduction from the initial order of 13 test aircraft.

The Douglas design team successfully convinced the Army that modifying the XB-42 static test airframe into the first XB-43 was a relatively straightforward process that would save time and money compared to developing a brand-new design.

The two Allison V-1710 engines were replaced with a pair of General Electric (GE) J35 turbojets, which were the first American axial-flow jet engines ever used.

Two air intakes were cut into each side of the fuselage, aft of the pressurized cockpit.

The removal of the propellers and drive shafts created enough space for two long jet exhaust ducts.

The entire ventral fin/rudder unit of the earlier XB-42’s full four-surface cruciform tail was omitted, as there was no chance of striking the blade tips on the runway without any propellers present.

Douglas compensated for the loss of yaw stability by enlarging the dorsal fin/rudder unit.

Douglas Aircraft was eager to mass-produce the new bomber, and the USAAF considered ordering 50.

The company was prepared to roll out as many as 200 B-43s per month in two versions: a bomber equipped with a clear plastic nose for the bombardier, and an attack aircraft without the clear nose and bombing station but carrying 16 forward-firing .50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns and 36 5 in (127 mm) rockets.

However, these plans did not come to fruition.
The USAAF was already moving forward with a new bomber, the XB-45 Tornado, which was designed from the outset for turbojet power and promised significant improvements in every category of performance.
51 ft 2 in (15.60 m)
71 ft 2 in (21.69 m)
24 ft 3 in (7.39 m)
Wing area
563 sq ft (52.3 m2)
Douglas G-17
Empty weight
21,775 lb (9,877 kg)
Gross weight
37,000 lb (16,783 kg)
Max take-off weight
39,533 lb (17,932 kg)
2 × General Electric J35-GE-3 turbojet engines,
3,750 lb (16.7 kN) thrust each.
Maximum speed
515 mph (829 km/h, 448 kn) at sea level
Cruise speed
420 mph (680 km/h, 360 kn)
1,100 mi (1,800 km, 960 nmi)
Ferry range
2,840 mi (4,570 km, 2,470 nmi)
Service ceiling
38,500 ft (11,700 m)
Wing loading
65.7 lb/sq ft (321 kg/m2)
2× 0.50 in machine guns in a remotely operated tail mount, never installed.
Planned attack variant.
8× 0.50 in machine guns in a solid nose
8,000 lb (3,600 kg).
Charles Daniels Photo Collection
Russell Thaw Photo Collection
The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
McDonnell Douglas aircraft since 1920: Volume I-René J Francillon.

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