Originally the D model of the B-29, the Boeing B-50 was an improved variant of the B-29, intended for Strategic Air Command (SAC) nuclear delivery missions, as a stopgap while the B-36 and jet bombers were being developed.
In comparison with a standard B-29, the airframe was made of a stronger but lighter aluminium alloy, control surfaces and ground steering were improved, de-icing features would be added. The B-29 R-3350 reciprocating propeller engines were replaced with more powerful R-4360 engines with reversible pitch propellers.
There were enhancements to the basic B-50A through H, but were stopgaps until the B-47 deployed. A few reconnaissance versions, including weather and electronic intelligence, flew into the mid-fifties. There were some exchanges of fire with Soviet fighters along their borders.
Some KB-50 tanker conversions flew until a safety flaw was found in the sixties.
- B-50 Superfortress, Globalsecurity.org
- "Border Incidents", Time, 30 March 1953
- Operation Upshot-Knothole, 1953 - Nevada Proving Ground