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Douglas A-26 Invader


The A-26 was the follow-on design to the A-20 and entered combat in late 1944. The type had early developmental difficulties, and it took 28 months to go from first flight to combat operations. After being redesignated as B-26 in 1948, it was the only attack airplane available when war broke out in Korea. Crews flew their first mission against North Korea on June 29, 1950, when they bombed an airfield at Pyongyang. Air Force B- 26s were credited with the destruction of 38,500 vehicles, 3,700 railway cars, 406 locomotives, and seven enemy aircraft on the ground in Korea. On September 14, 1951, while flying a night intruder mission, Capt. John S. Walmsley, Jr., attacked a North Korean supply train, but after his guns jammed he used his search light to light the way for his wingmen to finish destroying the train. Captain Walmsley was shot down, died, and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. On July 27, 1953, 24 minutes before the cease-fire was signed, a B-26 crew from the 3d Bomb Wing dropped the last bombs of the Korean War. Some holdover RB-26s were part of the initial cadre of aircraft sent to Vietnam as part of Operation Farm Gate. In the early 1960s, On-Mark Engineering converted approximately 40 aircraft into the B-26K Counter Invader for counterinsurgency missions in Vietnam. These aircraft were later redesignated A-26A because of an agreement with the Thai government that no bombers would be stationed there. This type was flown by more than a dozen other countries. A number of aircraft were converted into executive transports for the civilian market. The Navy version, designated JD-1, was used into the 1960s for target towing. Most Air National Guard planes were retired by 1957, but the last VB-26 was retired in 1972.
General characteristics A-26B
Primary function Attack/bomber aircraft
Contractor Douglas Aircraft Company
Power plant Two Pratt&Whitney R-2800-27 Double Wasp 18-cylinder, twin-row radials engines
Thrust 2x 2,000 HP 2x 1,491 kW
Wingspan 70 ft 21.34 m
Length 50 ft 15.24 m
Height 18.5 ft 5.64 m
Wingarea 540 sq ft 50.17 sq m
Weight empty 22,850 lb 10,365 kg
max. 35,000 lb 15,876 kg
Speed 355 mph 571 km/h
Initial climb rate 2,001 ft/min 610 m/min
Ceiling 2,1200 ft 6,700 m
Range 1,800 miles 2,900 km
Armament 8-16x 12.7mm machine gun, 2725 kg external weapons
Crew Three
First Flight July 10, 1942
Date deployed 1944
Cost $172,000
Number built 2,452
General characteristics B-26K
Primary function Attack/bomber aircraft
Power plant Two Pratt&Whitney R-2800-103W engines
Wingspan 70 ft 21.34 m
Length 51.2 ft 15.60 m
Height 18.4 ft 5.60 m
Wingarea 540 sq ft 50.17 sq m
Weight empty 23,695 lb 10,748 kg
max. 43,380 lb 19,677 kg
Speed 365 mph 587 km/h
Initial climb rate 2,001 ft/min 610 m/min
Ceiling 21,505 ft 6,555 m
Range 1,330 miles 2,140 km
Armament 8x 12.7m machine gun, 5443 kg external weapons
Crew Two
Date deployed 1965
Number built 2,025 (all versions)

Jirka Wagner

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Last updated 13.11.2012