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  • Douglas C-47 (Skytrain / Dakota) Medium Transport Aircraft

    The Douglas C-47 Skytrain was perhaps the most famous of the many transport aircraft employed during World War 2 - seeing combat service into the Vietnam War years.

     Updated: 6/19/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    The C-47 Skytrain was a product of the Douglas Aircraft Company and achieved its first flight in prototype form on December 23rd, 1941. Earlier that same month, the United States officially committed to World War 2 after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (December 7th). The C-47 transport series is regarded as the best transport of the entire conflict. The aircraft held its roots in the Douglas DC-3 passenger hauler which began operations in the 1930s, setting new levels of performance for a commercial aircraft of the period. The series would become an instrumental component of the American and Allied war effort concerning the Second World War as the C-47 entered into service during 1942 and would serve throughout the war and beyond while seeing service with a plethora of nations and in a variety of combat and peace time roles.

    The product was also produced locally, under license, by the Soviet Union as the Lisunov Li-2. Total C-47 production was greater than 10,000 units before the end.

    The original DC-3 was modified from commercial airliner to military transport which required some changes to her base design - the passenger cabin was revised to carry 27 combat-ready personnel in more spartan conditions. The passenger seats were removed to make room for bench-style seating where the passenger now faced centerline, seated in bucket seats. Pratt & Whitney radial engines were then added in place of the Wright "Cyclones" found in the DC-3.

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    Douglas C-47 Skytrain / Dakota Mk I Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1942
    Type: Medium Transport Aircraft
    National Origin: United States
    Manufacturer(s): Douglas Aircraft Company - USA / Lisunov - Soviet Union / Japan
    Production Total: 12,748

    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

    Operating Crew: 3
    Length: 63.75 feet (19.43 meters)
    Width: 95.51 feet (29.11 meters)
    Height: 16.99 feet (5.18 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 18,199 lb (8,255 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 25,999 lb (11,793 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

    Engine(s): 2 x Pratt & Whintey R-1830-92 14-cylinder radial piston engines developing 1,200 horsepower each.

    Maximum Speed: 230 mph (370 kph; 200 knots)
    Maximum Range: 1,600 miles (2,575 km)
    Service Ceiling: 23,999 feet (7,315 meters; 4.55 miles)
    Rate-of-Climb: 1,041 feet-per-minute (317 m/min)

    Armament / Mission Payload

    None. Post-war gunship models were outfitted with miniguns for close support work.

    Global Operators / Customers

    Argentina; Australia; Belgium; Benin; Biafra; Bangladesh; Bolivia; Brazil; Burma; Cambodia; Canada; Chad; Chile; China; Colombia; Republic of the Congo; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Cuba; Czechslovakia; Denmark; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; Egypt; El Slavador; Ethiopia; Finland; France; Gabon; Nazi Germany; West Germany; Greece; Guatemala; Haiti; Honduras; Hungary; Iceland; India; Indonesia; Iran; Israel; Kingdom of Italy; Ivory Coast; Jordan; Japan; Laos; Libya; Madagascar; Malawi; Mali; Mauritania; Mexico; Monaco; Morocco; Netherlands; New Zealand; Nicaragua; Niger; Nigeria; Northern Rhodesia; Norway; Oman; Pakistan; Panama; Papua New Guinea; Paraguay; Peru; Philippines; Poland; Portugal; Rhodesia; Romania; Rwanda; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; South Africa; South Korea; Somalia; Soviet Union; Sri Lanka; Spain; Sweden; Syria; Taiwan; Thailand; Togo; Turkey; Uganda; Uruguay; United Kingdom; United States; Venezuela; Vietnam; South Vietnam; Yemen Yugoslavia; Zaire; Zambia

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

    DC-3 - Civilian Airliner Passenger Transport on which the militarized C-47 is based on; entered commercial service in 1935; fitted with Wright Cyclone engines.

    C-47 - Initial Production Model Designation for the US Army Air Corps; adopted for service in 1940; redesigned interior passenger compartment; fitted with Pratt & Whitney R-1830 radial piston engines; 93 examples produced.

    C-47A - Revised electrical system; 4,931 examples produced.

    C-47B - "Southeast Asia" models with improved supercharged engines of R-1830-90 type; improved high altitude performance; 3,241 examples produced.

    TC-47B - Trainer Variant of the C-47B production model; some 133 examples produced.

    C-53 "Skytrooper" - Multi-purpose Variant.

    Lisunov Li-2 (PS-84) - Soviet license-production model; between 5,000 and 6,200 examples produced.

    L2D - Japanese Production Designation

    Dakota Mk I - British Model Designation for the C-47.

    Dakota Mk II - British Model Designation for the C-53 "Skytrooper" multi-purpose variant.

    Dakota Mk III - British Model Designation for the C-47A production models.

    Dakota Mk IV - British Model Designation for the C-47B production models.

    R4D - United States Navy Variant Designation