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A-26 Invader, U.S. Medium Bomber


Photograph of A-26 Invader

U.S. Air Force. Via Wikipedia Commons.


Douglas A-26B Invader


Specifications:


Crew

2

Dimensions

51’3” by 50'8"” by 18’3”
21.34m by 15.47m by 5.64m

Wing area

540 square feet
50.2 square meters

Weight

22,803-34,927 lbs
10,174-15,876 kg

Maximum speed

355 mph at 15,000 feet
571 km/h at 4571 meters
Cruise speed 284 mph
457 km/h

Climb rate

33 feet per second
10 m/s

Service ceiling

22,100 feet
6736 meters

Power plant

2 2000hp (1491 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-2800-79 Double Wasp 18-cylinder radial engines driving three bladed propellers

Armament

6 to 22 nose 0.50 machine guns
Ventral twin 0.50 machine gun turret
Dorsal twin 0.50 machine gun turret

Bomb load

4000 lbs (1800 kg) of bombs internal
2000 lbs (900 kg) of bombs or rockets under the wings

Range

1400 miles (2250 km) with bomb load
Fuel
1332 gallons (5042 liters) internal

Production

2450 from 1944:

1355 A-26B
1091 A-26C
Variants The A-26C had a transparent nose and only two 0.50 nose machine guns. It was often fitted with radar.


The A-26 Invader came into service in 1944 and was the fastest U.S. bomber of the war. It was derived from the A-20, but was even hotter and more heavily armed and armored, with 6 0.50 caliber nose machine guns. In addition, the top turret could be locked forward to contribute to strafing firepower. Some were modified in the field to carry up to 22 machine guns. With its heavy gun armament, it was a very potent strafer and proved particularly effective in the anti-shipping role. It was also equipped with rockets, but these turned out to be unsuitable for low-level strafing attacks: The fast-moving A-26 was almost on top of the target when the rockets hit, and was in serious danger from the debris kicked up by its own attack.

The A-26 was slow to come into production because of disputes over the correct nose armament configuration, which originally was to include a 75mm nose gun. A proposal to design a modular nose that could be swapped for different configurations proved impractical.

The aircraft was later redesignated the B-26 (not to be confused with the B-26 Marauder, which had been phased out by then) and was still being manufactured as late as 1963 for use in Vietnam.

Although the A-26 made its combat debut in New Guinea, only about 20% of A-26 crews were deployed to the Pacific.

References

AAFSD

Dunnigan and Nofi (1998)

Gunston (1986, 1988)

Wilson (1998)


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