Tokyo tanks were internally mounted self-sealing fuel tanks used in the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and Consolidated B-24 Liberator bombers 4,000–5,000 pounds (1,800–2,300 kg) of bombs by about 1,000 miles (1,600 km) and the combat radius was doubled to about 650 miles (1,050 km). Although nicknamed "Tokyo" tanks, the name was also hyperbole in the fact that no B-17 ever had the range to bomb Japan from any base in World War II.during World War II. The tanks increased the B-17's total range at combat weight with
These fuel tanks consisted of eighteen removable containers, called cells, made of a rubberized compound, installed inside the wings of the airplane, nine to each side. The wings of the B-17 consisted of an "inboard wing" structure mounted to the fuselage which held the engines and flaps, and an "outboard wing" structure joined to the inboard wing and carrying the ailerons. The Tokyo tanks were installed on either side of the joint (a load-bearing point) where the two wing portions were connected.
Five cells, totaling 270 US gallons (1,000 L) capacity, sat side by side in the outboard wing and were joined by a fuel line to the main wing tank, which delivered fuel to the outboard engine. The sixth cell was located in the space where the wing sections joined, and the remaining three cells were located side-by-side in the inboard wing; these four cells delivered 270 US gallons (1,000 L) of fuel to the feeder tank for the inboard engine. The same arrangement was repeated on the opposite wing. The Tokyo tanks added 1,080 US gallons (4,100 L) of fuel to the 1,700 US gallons (6,400 L) already carried in the six regular wing tanks. 820 US gallons (3,100 L) could be carried in an auxiliary tank that could be mounted in the bomb bay, for a combined total of 3,600 US gallons (14,000 L).
All B-17F aircraft built by Boeing from Block 80, by Douglas from Block 25, and by Vega from Block 30 were equipped with Tokyo tanks, and the entire run of B-17Gs by all three manufacturers had Tokyo tanks. B-17s with factory-mounted Tokyo tanks were first introduced to the Eighth Air Force in England in April 1943 with the arrival of the 94th and 95th Bomb Groups, equipped with new aircraft. By June 1943, aircraft that were so equipped began to appear in greater numbers as replacements, and from the beginning of July 1943, all replacement aircraft that did not have the tanks already installed were equipped before issue.
Although the tanks were removable, this could only be done by first removing the wing panels, and so was not a routine maintenance task. A drawback to the tanks was that there was no means of measuring remaining fuel quantity within the cells. Fuel was moved from the cells to the engine tanks by opening control valves within the bomb bay so that the fuel drained by gravity. Although the tanks were specified as self-sealing, vapor buildup within partially drained tanks made them explosive hazards in combat, such as when struck by flak or cannon shells.
The Heinkel He 111 is a German airliner and bomber designed by Siegfried and Walter Günter at Heinkel Flugzeugwerke in 1934. Through development, it was described as a "wolf in sheep's clothing". Due to restrictions placed on Germany after the First World War prohibiting bombers, it was presented solely as a civil airliner, although from conception the design was intended to provide the nascent Luftwaffe with a heavy bomber.
The Dornier Do 17 is a twin-engined light bomber produced by Dornier Flugzeugwerke for the German Luftwaffe during World War II. Designed in the early 1930s as a Schnellbomber intended to be fast enough to outrun opposing aircraft, the lightly built craft had a twin tail and "shoulder wing". Sometimes referred to as the Fliegender Bleistift, it was popular among its crews due to its handling, especially at low altitude, which made the Do 17 harder to hit than other German bombers.
The Consolidated B-24 Liberator is an American heavy bomber, designed by Consolidated Aircraft of San Diego, California. It was known within the company as the Model 32, and some initial production aircraft were laid down as export models designated as various LB-30s, in the Land Bomber design category.
The Boeing B-47 Stratojet is a retired American long-range, six-engined, turbojet-powered strategic bomber designed to fly at high subsonic speed and at high altitude to avoid enemy interceptor aircraft. The primary mission of the B-47 was as a nuclear bomber capable of striking targets within the Soviet Union.
The Messerschmitt Bf 110, often known unofficially as the Me 110, is a twin-engined Zerstörer, fighter-bomber, and night fighter (Nachtjäger) developed in Nazi Germany in the 1930s and used by the Luftwaffe during World War II. Hermann Göring was a proponent of the Bf 110, believing its heavy armament, speed, and range would make the Bf 110 the Luftwaffe’s premier offensive fighter. Early variants were armed with two MG FF 20 mm cannon, four 7.92 mm MG 17 machine guns, and one 7.92 mm MG 15 machine gun for defence. Development work on an improved type to replace the Bf 110 - the Messerschmitt Me 210 - began before the war started, but its shakedown troubles resulted in the Bf 110 soldiering on until the end of the war in various roles. Its intended replacements, the aforementioned Me 210 and the significantly improved Me 410 Hornisse, never fully replaced the Bf 110.
The Dornier Do 217 was a bomber used by the German Luftwaffe during World War II as a more powerful development of the Dornier Do 17, known as the Fliegender Bleistift. Designed in 1937 and 1938 as a heavy bomber but not meant to be capable of the longer-range missions envisioned for the larger Heinkel He 177, the Do 217's design was refined during 1939 and production began in late 1940. It entered service in early 1941 and by the beginning of 1942 was available in significant numbers.
The Consolidated B-32 Dominator was an American heavy strategic bomber built for United States Army Air Forces during World War II, which had the distinction of being the last Allied aircraft to be engaged in combat during World War II; that engagement also resulted in the last American to die in air combat in World War II. It was developed by Consolidated Aircraft in parallel with the Boeing B-29 Superfortress as a fallback design should the B-29 prove unsuccessful. The B-32 reached units in the Pacific only in mid-May 1945, and subsequently saw only limited combat operations against Japanese targets before the formal end of the war on 2 September 1945. Most of the extant orders of the B-32 were canceled shortly thereafter and only 118 B-32 airframes of all types were built.
The Ryan FR Fireball was an American mixed-power fighter aircraft designed by Ryan Aeronautical for the United States Navy during World War II. It was the Navy's first aircraft with a jet engine. Only 66 aircraft were built before Japan surrendered in August 1945. The FR-1 Fireball equipped a single squadron before the war's end, but did not see combat. The aircraft ultimately proved to lack the structural strength required for operations aboard aircraft carriers and was withdrawn in mid-1947.
The Kawasaki Ki-100 (キ100) is a single-seat single-engine monoplane fighter aircraft used by the Imperial Japanese Army Air Service during World War II. The Japanese Army designation was "Type 5 Fighter". It was not assigned an Allied code name.
The Mitsubishi J2M Raiden is a single-engined land-based fighter aircraft used by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service in World War II. The Allied reporting name was "Jack".
Conformal fuel tanks (CFTs) are additional fuel tanks fitted closely to the profile of an aircraft that extend the endurance of the aircraft.
The Boeing XPBB-1 Sea Ranger was a prototype twin-engined flying boat patrol bomber built for the United States Navy. The order for this aircraft was canceled, to free production capacity to build the Boeing B-29, and only a single prototype was completed.
The Boeing B-54 was an American strategic bomber designed by Boeing for use by the United States Air Force. Derived from the YB-50C Superfortress, construction of the prototype was canceled before completion, and the aircraft was never flown.
The Savoia-Marchetti SM.82 Marsupiale is an Italian bomber and transport aircraft of World War II. It was a cantilever, mid-wing monoplane trimotor with a retractable, tailwheel undercarriage. There were 875 built, the first entering service in 1940. Although able to operate as a bomber with a maximum bombload of up to 8,818 lb (4000 kg), the SM.82 saw very limited use in this role. The SM.82 was the foreign aircraft used in largest number by the Luftwaffe, which operated several hundreds of this aircraft, as a transport. Post-war about 30 SM.82s continued in service with the Aeronautica Militare Italiana, many remaining in service until the early 1960s.
Supermarine Spitfire variants powered by early model Rolls-Royce Merlin engines mostly utilised single-speed, single-stage superchargers. The British Supermarine Spitfire was the only Allied fighter aircraft of the Second World War to fight in front line service from the beginnings of the conflict, in September 1939, through to the end in August 1945. Post-war, the Spitfire's service career continued into the 1950s. The basic airframe proved to be extremely adaptable, capable of taking far more powerful engines and far greater loads than its original role as a short-range interceptor had called for. This would lead to 19 marks of Spitfire and 52 sub-variants being produced throughout the Second World War, and beyond. The many changes were made in order to fulfil Royal Air Force requirements and to successfully engage in combat with ever-improving enemy aircraft. With the death of the original designer, Reginald J. Mitchell, in June 1937, all variants of the Spitfire were designed by his successor, Joseph Smith, and a team of engineers and draftsmen.
The Curtiss XBTC was a prototype single-seat, single-engined torpedo/dive bomber developed during World War II for the United States Navy. Four aircraft were ordered, powered by two different engines, but the two aircraft to be fitted with the Wright R-3350 radial engine were cancelled in late 1942, leaving only the pair using the Pratt & Whitney R-4360 radial. By this time, Curtiss Aircraft was overwhelmed with work and the Navy gave the XBTC-2 prototypes a low priority which delayed progress so the first flight did not take place until the beginning of 1945. One aircraft crashed in early 1947 and the other was disposed of later that year.
The Curtiss XBT2C was a prototype two-seat, single-engined dive/torpedo bomber developed during World War II for the United States Navy. Derived from the Curtiss SB2C Helldiver dive bomber, it was an unsuccessful competitor to meet a 1945 Navy specification for an aircraft to combine the roles that previously required separate types. Unlike the other competitors, the XBT2C was designed to accommodate a radar operator.
Over twenty variants of the North American P-51 Mustang fighter were produced from 1940, when it first flew, to after World War II, some of which were employed also in the Korean War and in several other conflicts.
Yankee Lady is a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, owned by the Yankee Air Museum of Van Buren Township, Michigan. Originally delivered to the U.S military in 1945, the plane did not see combat action; it was used by the United States Coast Guard for over a decade. Purchased by the museum in 1986, it has since been restored to a World War II configuration and is flown for flight experience rides and airshow appearances.