Consolidated B-32 Dominator

by Daniel Russ on November 9, 2016

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The Consolidated B-32 Dominator oddly was not just a fallback should the B-29 fall behind in production, it ironically became the plane that couldn’t keep up.

 

Side view of Consolidated B-32-1-CF (S/N 42-108471). (U.S. Air Force photo) Side view of Consolidated B-32-1-CF (S/N 42-108471). (U.S. Air Force photo)

 

The Consolidated B-32 Dominator was one of those projects with a promising start and an abrupt end.the level of spending in the US government on weapons requisitioning was so high, the War Department was more than eager to say no to further copies of this new heavy bomber. The fact is the B-32 Dominator was built while Boeing was putting out the B-29 Superfortress and this parallel path was decided upon to bolster the US bomber squadrons should the B-29 show operational problems.

 

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Consolidated B-32-1-CF (S/N 42-108471), the first B-32 built after modification to Block 20 standards. (U.S. Air Force photo) Consolidated B-32-1-CF (S/N 42-108471), the first B-32 built after modification to Block 20 standards. (U.S. Air Force photo)

 

Originally designers built remotely controlled gun turrets firing 8 .50 caliber guns and an assortment of 20mm cannons, some configured to fire backwards. The guns were stabilized by a computer built by Sperry. These guns were eliminated by engineers as aiming malfunctions led them to believe that those were a bit too ambitious on a tight delivery timeline. Eventually the plan was to go to ten .50 caliber guns.

Other production models had pressurization problems, and flight stability failures. One had a noise wheel collapse on landing and another crashed on takeoff. 118 copies were made and entered combat in the middle of 1945 when the USAAF was already launching bombing missions out of China. The bombers mostly performed reconnaissance over Tokyo after bombing missions, and a few engaged in a air combat, claiming some air to air kills of Japanese fighters.

Production was halted in September 1945 and by the time another bomber was created, the jet age was already here, cutting swaths through the skies.

 

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