Elias XNBS-3

Last revised July 5, 1999

The Elias XNBS-3 was built in response to a 1922 Army program intended to produce an aircraft that would replace the Martin-designed NBS-1 bomber. The N prefix meant that the aircraft was intended for the night bombardment role.

A single prototype of the XNBS-3 was ordered in 1922 by the USAAS. The XNBS-3 had much the same configuration as the Martin NBS-1, being a wooden, fabric-covered biplane powered by a pair of 425 hp Liberty 12A engines mounted inside nacelles attached to the lower wing. It differed from the NBS-1 in having a boxlike biplane tail, which was somewhat of a retrograde step. The armament consisted of five Lewis machine guns, two in the front cockpit, two in the rear, and one aimed downwards and to the rear.

The single XNBS-3 (serial number 68567) was tested in August of 1924 and did 101 mph while carring a 1692 pound bombload. However, the XNBS-3 offered essentially no advance over the existing NBS-1 and was not ordered into production.

Specification of Elias XNBS-3:

Two 425hp Liberty 12A liquid-cooled Vee engines. Maximum speed 101 mph at sea level and 96 mph at 6500 feet. Landing speed 65 mph. Initial climb rate 405 feet per minute. Service ceiling 8680 feet. Maximum ceiling 11,500 feet. Range 485 miles with 1692 pounds of bombs. 8809 pounds empty, 14,343 pounds gross. Wingspan 77 feet 6 inches, length 48 feet 5 inches, height 16 feet 10 inches, wing area 1542 square feet Armament consisted of five 0.30-inch machine guns. A bombload of up to 1692 pounds could be carried.


  1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.

  2. American Combat Planes, 3rd edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982.