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Cessna A-37 Dragonfly Light Attack Aircraft (1967)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 2/4/2010

The Cessna A-37 Dragonfly proved to be a successful close-support aircraft.

The Cessna A-37 Dragonfly was born out of a need for close-support aircraft to assist in the Vietnam War. As such, the T-37 jet trainer was converted for the role and became the A-37 series of aircraft. The system would go on to see usage in that conflict and make its way into the inventories of other nations around the globe but in particular, throughout South America.

The A-37 differed from its training counterpart in that the Dragonfly was could field a variety of munitions on eight underwing hardpoints. Additionally, the crew of pilot and trainer was scaled down to a single pilot and increasingly powerful General Electric engines were used. The A-37A was the first of the Dragonfly series fielded and were bascially converted T-33 trainers with wintip fuel tanks and better engines. The A-37B model version featured larger fuel tanks, an inflight refuling probe for extended loitering time and a reinforced internal structure to combat the rigors of low-level combat. A Forward Air Control variant existed as the OA-37B.

Standard armament for the Dragonfly consisted of a six-barrel minigun. The underwing hardpoints could mount a variety of air-dropped munitions in the form of bombs. Additionally, the Dragonfly could engage ground targets with forward-firing high-explosive rockets and / or gunpods.

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Specifications for the
Cessna A-37 Dragonfly
Light Attack Aircraft


Focus Model: Cessna A-37B Dragonfly
Country of Origin: United States
Manufacturer: Cessna Aircraft Company - USA
Initial Year of Service: 1967
Production: 616


Crew: 1


Length: 29.30ft (8.93m)
Width: 35.86ft (10.93m)
Height: 8.89ft (2.71m)
Weight (Empty): 6,210lbs (2,817kg)
Weight (MTOW): 13,999lbs (6,350kg)


Powerplant: 2 x General Electric J85-GE-17A turbojet engines generating 2,850lbs.


Maximum Speed: 507mph (816kmh; 441kts)
Maximum Range: 460miles (740km)
Service Ceiling: 41,762ft (12,729m; 7.9miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 6,990 feet per minute (2,131m/min)


Hardpoints: 8
Armament Suite:
1 x 7.62mm minigun

Mission-Specific loadout can include any combination of the following:

Iron Bombs
Air-to-Surface HE Rockets
Gun Pods


Variants:
T-37 Tweet - Base Trainer Aircraft


T-37B

YAT-37D - Trial prototype of T-37B model; Fitted with 2 x General Electric J85-GE-5 turbojet engines.

A-37A - Production light attack standard designation - combat evaluation variant of which 25 were produced; The aircraft featured the introduction of 8 x external hardpoints, increase fuel capacity, improved armor protection from small arms fire, Integrated attack avionic systems, increased wheel size, wing-tip fuel tanks and an internal 7.62mm minigun.

A-37B - Major production model featuring increased engine power, increased fuel capacity, an integrated inflight refueling probe for extended flight time and a reinforced airframe.

OA-37B - Forward Air Control variant with specialized avionics for the observation role.


Operators:
Chile; Colombia; Ecuador; El Salvador; Guatemala; Honduras; Peru; South Korea; Uruguay; United States