National Museum of the USAF   Right Corner Banner
Join the Air Force

Home > Fact Sheets > North American XB-21


Posted 6/25/2009 Printable Fact Sheet
Previous ImageNext Image
North American XB-21
North American XB-21 (S/N 38-485). (U.S. Air Force photo)
Download HiRes

The North American XB-21 was submitted to the Army Air Corps in the spring of 1937 for evaluation as an improved twin-engine bomber. The improved Douglas B-18A was the competitor for the XB-21. Douglas could produce the B-18A much cheaper than North American could build the XB-21 ($64,000 vs. $122,000), so the competition was won by Douglas. Five service test models of the XB-21 were ordered as YB-21, but the contract was canceled before any aircraft were built.

The XB-21 featured power nose and ventral turrets with a single .30-cal. machine gun in each; however, the nose turret was removed and replaced by a solid metal shell and the ventral (top) turret was removed completely during testing. The XB-21 was capable of carrying a 10,000 pound bomb load for about 600 miles and 1,960 miles with a 2,200-pound bomb load.

Type Number built/
XB-21 1 Model NA 21

Armament: Five .30-cal. machine guns and 10,000 lbs. of bombs
Engines: Two Pratt & Whitney R-2180-1 supercharged radials of 1,200 hp each
Maximum speed: 220 mph at 10,000 ft.
Cruising speed: 190 mph
Service ceiling: 25,000 ft.
Range: 1,960 miles with 2,200 lbs. of bombs (600 miles with 10,000 lbs. of bombs)
Span: 95 ft. 0 in.
Length: 61 ft. 9 in.
Height: 14 ft. 9 in.
Weight: 40,000 lbs. maximum weight
Crew: Six (eight with the nose and ventral turrets)
Serial number: 38-485

Click here to return to the Bomber Aircraft index.

 Inside the Museum

ima cornerSearch


tabMuseum Foundation
tabRelated Links

Museum Virtual TourMuseum Tour PodcastMuseum Facebook PageMuseum Twitter Page
Museum Flickr PageMuseum YouTube ChannelMuseum E-newsletter Sign-upMuseum RSS Feeds

Site Map      Contact Us     Questions     Security and Privacy notice     E-publishing