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Inside Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress, QTVR file, 540Kb, 320x200.

Boeing Model 299 (B-17 Flying Fortress)
B-17B Flying Fortress: In the early summer of 1934 the US Army Air Corps released a requirement for a multi-engined medium bomber intended primarily for the coast-defense role: the task of such bombers was to serve as flying coastal artillery, probing deep into the ocean areas off the USA's eastern and western coasts to detect and then to destroy hostile fleets and their supporting ships. The requirement called for the ability to deliver a 2,000 lb (907 kg) weapons load over a range of at least 886 nm (1,020 miles; 1641 km) but preferably 1,911 nm (2,200 miles; 3540 km) at a speed of at least 174 kt (200 mph; 322 km/h) but preferably 217 kt (250 mph; 402 km/h). Boeing realized that the resulting competition, which called for the delivery of a flying prototype by August 1935, would result in a hard-fought battle between the major companies in the American aircraft industry and therefore sought to give itself a comfortable edge over its rivals in a type that could prove a very profitable production exercise. Boeing had already developed its Models 214 and 246 for limited production as the B-9 series of twin-engined bombers, and fully appreciated that such a monoplane layout offered little scope for improvement in its twin-engined form given the relative lack of power available from the radial piston engines that were currently available or foreseeable in the immediate future.

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