Consolidated B-32 Dominator—Forgotten Heavy Bomber of World War II

In 1940 the U.S. Army Air Corps requested the Consolidated Aircraft Company to begin design on a heavy bomber with specifications similar to those of the Boeing B-29, which had been in development since 1938. The plane, which was designated the Consolidated B-32 Dominator, was a more conventional design than the B-29 and, based upon Consolidated’s B-24 Liberator, it was considered a back-up in case the ambitious B-29 encountered development problems.

The B-32 used the same Wright Duplex-Cyclone engines as the B-29, and therefore encountered the same problems with overheating, engine fires, and aspirated valves. These problems delayed development of the B-32 along with the B-29, and resulted in the B-32’s entering service only in May 1945, months before the end of the war. After the surrender of Japan, the type was retired in August 1945, with a total of 118 produced, many sent directly from the production line to retirement and scrapping. No exemplars exist today.