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      Vultee XA-41 Dive Bomber / Low-Level Attack Aircraft  

    Vultee XA-41 Dive Bomber / Low-Level Attack Aircraft


    Originating as a dive bomber, the Vultee XA-41 was evolved into an attack platform until passed on by the United States Army.





     Updated: 5/11/2016; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com


    It was during September of 1942 that the United States Army commissioned the Vultee Aircraft concern to develop a viable single-engine, single-seat dive bombing platform. The dive bomber has proven its worth in the opening stages of World War 2 (1939-1945) through the exploits of the German Luftwaffe though its vulnerability began to show through once Allied airpower rose up to the challenge. Vultee engineers returned with the "Model 90" based around the massive Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major engine of 3,000 horsepower. The Model 90 sufficiently impresses Army authorities as an order for two prototypes followed on November 10th, 1942.

    While originally envisioned as a dive bomber, the changing war situation in Europe soon showcased the inherent vulnerabilities of dive bomber types like the German Junkers Ju 87 Stuka line. This led to a rethinking on the part of the Army to request a low-level attack-minded platform instead and this only led to the inevitable delays witnessed time and again throughout a myriad of American World War 2 aircraft projects whose type was consistently changed over the course of development - usually to the detriment of entire programs.

    A new developmental contract was signed and work on the first XA-41 proceeded into the latter half of 1943. However, by this time, the war in Europe began to showcase original fighter designs like the North American P-51 Mustang and Republic P-47 Thunderbolt increasingly taking on the role of fighter-bombers and ground attack, leading many in the Army to believe that there served no purpose in putting the time and money into a specialized aircraft like the XA-41. This led to a termination of the contract and essentially an end to the XA-41 as a possible operational aircraft.

    However, there were some in the Army that had originally pushed for the aircraft and worked to secure some future for it. Material Division was granted a single example for the continued testing of the Wasp Major engine in conjunction with new technologies that may perhaps be featured elsewhere. This finally led to a first flight for the prototype on February 11th, 1944. Subsequent tests revealed a rather solid, if unspectacular, aircraft and only minor modifications were enacted to the design over its test phase.


    Vultee XA-41 Technical Specifications


    Service Year: 1944
    Type: Dive Bomber / Low-Level Attack Aircraft
    National Origin: United States
    Manufacturer(s): Vultee Aircraft - USA
    Production Total: 1



    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)


    Operating Crew: 1
    Length: 48.65 feet (14.83 meters)
    Width: 52.49 feet (16.00 meters)
    Height: 13.91 feet (4.24 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 13,404 lb (6,080 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 24,185 lb (10,970 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance


    Engine(s): 1 x Pratt & Whitney R-4360 28-cylinder radial piston engine developing 3,000 horsepower.

    Maximum Speed: 364 mph (585 kph; 316 knots)
    Service Ceiling: 29,199 feet (8,900 meters; 5.53 miles)
    Rate-of-Climb: 2,730 feet-per-minute (832 m/min)

    Armament / Mission Payload


    PROPOSED:
    4 x 0.50 caliber M2 Browning heavy machine guns in wings.
    4 x 37mm Autocannons in wings

    OPTIONAL:
    Up to 6,500lbs of total stores, internally and externally. Approximately 2,000lbs internally and 1,600lbs held under the wings. Ordnance support included rockets, torpedoes and conventional drop bombs.

    Global Operators / Customers


    United States

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)


    Model 90 - Vultee Company Model

    XA-41 - Base Series Designation

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