Designation: KB-50J

Boeing KB-50J

Boeing KB-50J Superfortress

A picture of the Boeing KB-50J Superfortress

The Boeing B-50 began as an upgrade to the highly successful B-29.  However, the large number of changes made, new engines, modified wings, and a larger tail being just a few, resulted in a new designation for the aircraft.  The first aircraft entered service in 1947 and eventually 370 were built.  As the B-50s began to be replaced by other types of bombers they were modified for use as aerial refueling tankers by the Tactical Air Command.  The first modifications involved removing all armament and installing extra fuel tanks in the fuselage and under the wings.  Eventually, greater speed was needed to keep up with the faster fighters in use and the external tanks were replaced by two J-47 turbojet engines.  In this form they continued to serve well into the 1960s.

Wingspan 141 ft 3 in.


Length 105 ft 1 in.


Height 33 ft 7 in.


Weight 179,500 lbs (loaded)


Max. Speed 444 MPH

Maximum Speed

Service Ceiling 39,700 ft

Service Ceiling

Range 2,300 miles


Engines Four Pratt & Whitney R-4360-35 radial engines with 3,500 horsepower each, and two General Electric J47-GE-23 turbojets with 5,200 pounds of thrust each


Crew 5



4505th Air Refueling Wing, Turner AFB, Georgia, 1959

Serial Number


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