In order to achieve perfection, it is necessary to make adjustments. This is exactly what was done to achieve the Consolidated B-24 Liberator.
The design of the Liberator came from the tweaking of another flying boat model which has a proven airframe. The previous B-17 Flying Fortress design has been successful enough however; the enlargement of the fuselage and the mounting of the wing assembly to a much higher position would prove that the resulting B-24 design would out-perform it in all aspects. Because of this, the B-24 Liberator would become that most-produced WW2 US aircraft.
The high-wing design of the Liberator allowed it to have an increased drag and lift. This made this heavy bomber to reach greater speeds and have a wider range. The installations of four radial engines across its wings helped the B-24 to successfully reach these increased speed and range.
The Consolidated B-24 Liberator had various preproduction models which included seven “YB-24″ designs and nine “A-model” designs. The preproduction models had a variety of armaments which were combined for a more effective defense or offense depending on the need of the operator. The armaments that were used by the B-24 series included 12.7mm and heavy machine guns of .50-caliber. The engines used by the different preproduction models also had varied ratings but the most commonly used were the 1,200 HP engines of the Pratt & Whitney radial engine series.
Out of all the preproduction model designs of the B-24, only the “J” series came out as the best. The B-24J models were able to accommodate a minimum of ten personnel that can be stationed in various positions to man the different armaments of the Liberator. The B-24J was also installed with an improved radial engine and had an autopilot function. Finally, the J series was able to carry almost 9,000 pounds of internal storage which made it adaptable to a variety of roles which include that of a fuel tanker, a reconnaissance plane and for patrolling the skies. The B-24J model of the Liberator had a production total of not less than 6,600 units.
|Type:||minimum ten-man crew multiple-role floatplane|
|Design:||Boeing Aircraft Firm|
|Engine(s):||4 x 1,200 HP Pratt & Whitney R-1830-65 radial piston engines|
|Max Speed:||467 km/h|
|Empty Weight:||16,556 kg|
|Loaded Weight:||29,484 kg|
2 x 12.7mm machine guns in nose position
2 x 12.7mm machine guns in tail position
2 x 12.7mm machine guns in dorsal turret
2 x 12.7mm machine guns in ventral turret
1 x 12.7mm machine gun in left-waist fuselage position
1 x 12.7mm machine gun in right-waist fuselage position.
Up to 8,800lbs of internal ordnance