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  • Beechcraft XA-38 Grizzly / Destroyer Tactical / Heavy Attack Aircraft

    The Beechcraft XA-38 Grizzly heavy fighter would have been a potent ground-attack component to the Allied cause of World War 2 had it been adopted.

     Updated: 3/19/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    The XA-38 was a developmental twin-engine heavy fighter produced by the Beech Aircraft firm. By all accounts, she was a stable and fast aircraft comparable to even the single engine speedsters of her day. As promising as her design was, her potential was never realized as the engines slated for the type were reserved for the four-engined Boeing B-29 Superfortress heavy bombers taking precedence. As such, only two XA-38 prototypes were ever built with the project ultimately shelved at the end of the war. Should she have flown in quantity, she might have presented the Empire of Japan with a formidable adversary capable of engaging tanks, vehicles, ships and submarines with equal - and lethal - fervor.

    The United States Army Air Force (USAAF - forerunner to the United States Air Force) entered into a contractual agreement with Beech Aircraft in December of 1942 after considering the company's Beechcraft Model 28 system. The contract called for two initial prototypes to be built as the XA-38 to fulfill a requirement that involved replacing the Douglas A-20 Havocs then in service. This new aircraft would have to exceed in all areas the A-20 excelled at wile making for one truly potent ground attack component vital to eliminating the dug-in Japanese foes throughout the Pacific Theater. The A-20, itself, had its origins in 1939 design and was introduced into operational service in 1941. Its armament and light bombing capabilities allowed the Havoc to make a name for itself in the early years of the war, eventually being fielded by the United States, French, British and Soviet forces. Production of the type finally ended on September 20th, 1944 and a need for its replacement was inevitable. The XA-38 achieved first flight on May 7th, 1944 with Beech test pilot Vern Carstens at the controls, launching from the Beech Aircraft airfield in Wichita, Kansas. It was then flown to Elgin Field in Florida to undergo testing with the US Army.

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    Beechcraft XA-38 Gizzly Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1944
    Type: Tactical / Heavy Attack Aircraft
    National Origin: United States
    Manufacturer(s): Beechcraft / Beech Aircraft Corporation - USA
    Production Total: 2

    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

    Operating Crew: 2
    Length: 51.67 feet (15.75 meters)
    Width: 67.06 feet (20.44 meters)
    Height: 15.49 feet (4.72 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 22,481 lb (10,197 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 36,330 lb (16,479 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

    Engine(s): 2 x Wright GR-3350-43 Cyclone radial piston engines developing 2,300 horsepower each.

    Maximum Speed: 370 mph (595 kph; 321 knots)
    Maximum Range: 1,625 miles (2,615 km)
    Service Ceiling: 28,999 feet (8,839 meters; 5.49 miles)

    Armament / Mission Payload

    1 x 75mm T15E1 cannon in nose
    2 x 12.7mm Browning air-cooled heavy machine guns fixed in lower fuselage nose.
    2 x 12.7mm Browning air-cooled heavy machine guns in remote-controlled dorsal turret.
    2 x 12.7mm Browning air-cooled heavy machine guns in remote-controlled ventral turret.

    OPTIONAL (up to 2,000lbs of external stores):
    Conventional Drop Bombs
    Fuel Droptanks
    Smoke Screen Chemical Tanks
    Depth Charges

    Global Operators / Customers

    United States

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

    Model 28 - Beechcraft Company Designation

    XA-38 "Grizzly" - Demonstrator Designation