WB-29 AEW

by George Wintermute

 

It's been a long  time since 1952-1953, and I don't remember much back then. I do remember the some of the equipment that was installed. First was the search radar and that was the APS-20C . I radar_set_control_aps20.JPG (34053 bytes)remember that the Magnetron was in two parts with a tube that was separate from the magnet. I seem to remember that we had to use a piece of paper between the poles and the magnetron tube to get the proper separation between the two units. 

The
Antenna was installed in the radome on top of the plane and it was not part of theradar_techs_monitor.JPG (35087 bytes) pressurized compartment. But unlike the APS-45 Radome, we had to crawl up from the tail area to get access to it. The Ground Stabilization was from the APA-57. We had Three Scopes APA-81. We also had ART-26 Video Transmitter, and ARR-28 Video Receiver. The  IFF  Interrogator was The APX-7 .

If you know anything about the B-29, you know that the normal pressurized area was divided into two parts with the bomb-bays separating the forward area from the gunnery and radar bombardier in the aft section . In our modification, the operating compartment was in the front section except the forward pressurized section was extended to include the forward Bombay. There originally were three planes with this Mod, but one of the test acft at Wright-Patterson blew its Radome. And then there were two --- The one that we had and an un-pressurized one at Wright-Pat. Most of our missions were flown at The Proving Ground Command at Eglin AFB , Florida. 

They were mission designed to determine if the WB-29 could pick up a target of the size of a MIG at 50 miles range. And of course the Transmitter power/Receiver sensitivity combination wouldn't hack it. During the period we were running the tests we made some TDY trips back to Barksdale AFB, LA and the General of 2nd AF flew with us on some Max effort training missions. He used our plane to observe the formations. The units stationed there at Barksdale hated to see us show up because they really had to fly close formations with us observing . I don't remember the generals name but he was hard-of-hearing and wore a hearing aid which I had to connect into the intercom.

There isn't too much more that I recall at this time so for what it is worth there it is.

George Wintermute

Note: Another major problem was the upper radome interrupted the air flow to the rudder and made the aircraft difficult to control. (D Boys)