B 5B / Northrop Model 8A-1

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B5B: Northrop 8A-1 Bomber Aircraft

Summarized background history:

The B5 (Swedish Designation), also known as the Northrop A-17 / Northrop Model 8. Is a American two-seated attack bomber designed by Northrop. The Initial variant: the A-17 entered service in 1936 by the United States Army Air force. The aircraft was also bought by several other nations including Iraq and Netherlands. However we’re going to focus on the Swedish export variant of the Northrop A-17:

In September 1938, the Swedish goverment ordered 40 export version of the Northrop A-17, designated as Northrop Model 8A-1. Which the Swedish Air force designated as: B 5B. However, due to the increasing tensions in Europe as the Second world war was drawing ever so closer: In August 1939, The Swedish goverment opted to order a additional 24 more B 5B bombers to the Air Force (Most of which was locally produced under a licence production agreement in 1937). Making the total around 64 Aircrafts which was then divided to the F4 “Jämtlands flygflottilj” and F6 “Västgöta flygflottilj”.

In total the Swedish Air Force operated around 100 of the B5 Bomber, in which they purchased additional 38 aircrafts in May 1940. Which would be designated as “B 5C”. However by 1944 the aircraft began to be replaced by the more modern SAAB 17 (B 17 divebomber): The reasons varied from the slow mobility and vulnerability against more modern aircrafts of the time. However, it wasn’t till the early 1950’s, which the last B 5’s was taken off from Swedish service: As it continued to serve the Swedish Air force. Ranging from training aircraft for cadets to reconnassiance operations.

b5d

Now, what made the Swedish B 5 any different from the original American Northrop A-17?
Compared to the American variant which had a Pratt & Whitney R-1535-13 engine with 750 hp. The Swedish air force had the aircraft equipped with a more powerful “Nohab Mercury XXIV” Engine, which gave the aircraft 980 hp.

There were also several different changes in the design (See the images below).

B5_sidovy_3
American Northrop 8A-1 had a more straight hood and smaller engine cover.

B5_sidovy_4_redigerad-1
The Swedish B 5, which had a raised hood for better visibility over the larger engine cover.

The offensive and defensive armament was also changed. Instead of the 7.62mm machineguns. It was replaced with the Swedish 8mm Flygplankulspruta m/22 as both its offensive and defensive armament. The maximum bomb load weight was also increased from roughly 500kg to roughly 700~800kg. Which increased its bombing capabilities and load.

However, the most notable difference was the usage of the aircraft; While it was a attack bomber in design, the Swedish Air Force operated the aircraft as a unconventional dive bomber. Because it was not designed to be used as such. However, the B 5B proved very useful in that role as well.

Specifications:

B5B: Northrop 8A-1
Weight (Gross weight): ~3400 Kilograms
Weight (Max Weight): ~4000 Kilograms
Length: 9.70 meters
Width: 14.55 meters
Height: 3.76 meters
Wing area: 33.75 m2
Crew: 2 crew members
Climb rate: 3000 meters / 8 minutes
Max Speed: 330km/h at ~1800 meters
Service ceiling: ~6900 meters
Engine: Nohab Mercury XXIV Engine, 980 hp
Max Range: 800 km
Armament (Guns): Offensive armament: 4 x 8mm ksp m/22 Fh, Defensive armament: 1 x 8mm ksp m/22-37R
Armament (Bombs): Wings: 4 x 50kg, 4 x 12kg, 4 x 6kg. Internal bomb bay (x2): 12 x 12kg, 12 x 6kg. Underbelly: 1 x 500kg, 1 x 250kg, 7 x 50kg.
Max Bomb load: 700~800kg
Ammunition Capacity: Offensive Armament: 400 rounds per gun (1600 rounds), Defensive Armament: 75 rounds per magazine (7 Magazines / 525 rounds)
Number in Service: 102 B5 (All variants, 64 of which were of the B5B variant)

Sources:

B5 Bombflygplan  Störtbombflygplan.  Notis 1

B5 Bombflygplan  Northrop 8A-1          Notis 2

B 5 – Beskrivning mm – Svensk Militär Flygplanshistorik

https://www.aef.se/Flygvapnet/Tidskrifter/FV_Nytt/Flygvapennytt_1971-2-3.pdf (Page 25)

Northrop Model 8 – Wikipedia (Both English and Swedish)

3 Likes

Looks like a nice low tier CAS plane, I love it!

I think Norway has a floatplane varient, the N-3PB.
Northrop N-3PB Nomad - Wikipedia

1 Like

A +1 from me

all for more low tier stuff to be added, could we get the US version too? trying to figure out if it would be foldered with the TBD or after it