The AD-4B was a version of the AD-4 designed to carry and deliver nuclear weapons. The airframe was strengthened to make it possible for the airplane to deliver nuclear weapons by the over-the-shoulder toss bombing technique. It was also armed with 4 20-mm cannon in the wings.
28 AD-4s were converted to AD-4B standards, whereas 165 AD-4Bs were built from scratch. Tests were carried out with an externally-carried dummy atomic bomb, but no AD-4B ever dropped an actual atomic bomb in a test. It may very well be the case that the AD-4B never flew with an actual atomic weapon slung underneath it. The AD-4B was apparently used as a political tool in the Navy's battle with the Air Force over the B-36 bomber. The Navy eagerly wanted a nuclear role for its fleet of carriers.
On May 21, 1953, an AD-4B (BuNo 132363) set a new world weight-lifting record for single-engined
aircraft by taking off with a weight of 14,941 pounds of external stores.
Engine: One 2500 hp Wright R-3350-26WA Duplex Cyclone 18-cylinder air-cooled radial engine, rated at 2700 hp
for takeoff and 2100 hp at 14,500 feet.
Performance: Maximum speed 320 mph at 15,000 feet, 303 mph at sea level. Cruising speed 196 mph. Initial
climb rate 2980 feet/min.
Service ceiling 26,000 feet. Combat range 900 miles with Mk 7, 2060 miles with a Mk 8 and 2 300-gallon drop tanks.
Weights: 11,780 pounds empty, 18,700 pounds normal loaded, 24,300 pounds maximum.
Dimensions: Wingspan 50 feet 0 1/4 inches, length 39 feet 3 inches, height 13 feet 9 inches,
wing area 400.33 square feet.
Armament: Four 20-mm cannon in the wing.
127844/127879 Douglas AD-4 Skyraider c/n 7859/7894 127854/127860, 127866, and 127868/127872 converted to AD-4B. 128917/129016 Douglas AD-4 Skyraider c/n 8235/8334 128937/128943 and 128971/128978 converted to AD-4B. 132227/132391 Douglas AD-4B Skyraider c/n 8335/8499