A-24 Douglas & A-25
The A-25A was armed with four .50-caliber wing guns, a single .50-caliber flexible gun on a power-boosted rear cockpit mount, and an internal bomb bay for one 1,000-pound or a 1,600-pound armor-piercing bomb. Under wing racks could add two 58-gallon drop tanks or 500-pound bombs. Additional protection added under the nose and around the cockpits increased armor weight from the Navy’s 195 pounds to 669 pounds on the Army version, which had no carrier gear and different wheels than its Navy sisters, and only the first ten had folding wings.
All these changes increased the weight to 10,363 pounds empty, and 15,076 pounds gross. Performance was reduced to a top speed of 285 mph and a 24,500 foot service ceiling. This data shows what wartime increases in armament, armor, and fuel often cost in performance.
The first A-25A was flown September 29, 1942, but not accepted until December, and only ten more were accepted by March 22, 1943, when an Air Force Board rejected the dive-bomber concept. Two-seat dive-bombers like the A-24, A-25, and A-35 were too slow to evade enemy fighters and should be replaced by single-seat fighter-bombers like the A-36 and P-39.
By June 12, 1943, the A-25A contract was reduced and production ended in March 1944 with 900 built, none of them ever deployed in combat units. Australia was to get 150, but only ten were actually delivered in November 1943. The last 410 went to the Marines and Navy as SB2C-lA operational trainers, the remainder considered “in excess of all military requirements.”
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