Weaponeer's Position

Immediately to the left of the radio operator, directly behind the flight engineer, was the special crew position added to monitor the health of the complex weapon the aircraft was carrying. It contained everything needed to check the status of the critical systems contained in the bomb, including its radar fuses. The drawings and photographs of the time refer to this position as the "SP-1" position.

Weapon monitoring panel (from the 1946 Operation Crossroads tests)

The panel currently in the Enola Gay is not the original one used in August of 1945. As soon as the Silverplate aircraft returned from the Pacific, they began to be modified and updated for other roles. The flexibility built into the various avionics installations meant that equipment could be removed and installed on a daily basis, so the original panel has been lost for decades. The flight logs contain some of these modifications, but not all. We know that all of the countermeasures gear was removed, and when the Smithsonian took possession of the Enola Gay for the NASM collection, there was no SP-1 panel, either. The one in the photo above was located in another acquisition to the museum, and reflects the aircraft's participation in Operation Crossroads, the Bikini bomb tests.

A photograph of the original panel is shown below. You can see that changes were made between this one and the Crossroads version, not unexpected in a time of rapid technical advances.

Original 1945 installation

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