Monday, March 15, 2010

DOUGLAS “DAUNTLESS”


1941–44



STANDARD DATA: Seats 2. Gross wt. 10,500. Empty wt. 6,450. Engine 1,200-hp Wright Cyclone.
PERFORMANCE: Top mph 255. Cruise mph 185. Stall mph 78. Initial climb rate 1,428. Ceiling 25,200. Range 773.

The Dauntless was produced in land-based and shipboard attack bomber variations. The two scout and dive bomber aircraft differed from each other only in minor items of equipment and in the elimination of carrier arrester gear on the land-based versions. The A-24 was built for the U.S. Army Air Force from 1941-43, and 863 were delivered for service. The Dauntless was powered by a 1,200-hp Wright Cyclone nine-cylinder radial engine and could achieve a top speed of 255 mph at 14,000 feet. Seating was in tandem fashion, and the rear cockpit was fitted with two machine guns on flexible mounts. Other armament included two fixed .50-calibet guns mounted in the fuselage, which were synchronized to fire through the propeller. A swinging bomb cradle for one bomb in the 500-1,000-pound class was carried underneath the fuselage, while other bomb racks were attached under the wing roots. Hydraulically operated dive brakes above and below the trailing edges of the outer wings and the center section of the fuselage set it apart as a dive bomber. By 1944, 5,936 Dauntlesses had been built and put into service. It was replaced by other advanced aircraft in the middle 1940s, but many stayed active.



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