Douglas BTD Destroyer Torpedo / Dive Bomber Aircraft
The end of World War 2 in 1945 signaled the end of Destroyer production, ending with 30 examples with none seeing combat service.
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The awkward-looking Douglas BTD Destroyer was developed by the Douglas Aircraft Company for use on American carriers in World War 2. The type was intended to succeed the SBD Dauntless (another Douglas product) and the Curtiss SB2C Helldiver torpedo bombers in the same role. Due to the end of the war in August of 1945, total production of BTD Destroyers was limited to 30 examples, signaling the end of the program as well as many others currently in development or fulfilling massive production orders. Its introduction was in 1944 to which the type was quickly retired in 1945 amidst changing U.S. Navy requirements of its carrier-based aircraft.
The BTD Destroyer was born in the XSB2D-1 prototype commissioned by the United States Navy in June of 1941. Design was attributed to successful aviation engineer Ed Heinemann who lent his talents to the development of the A-20 Havoc, A-26 Invader, A-1 Skyraider and several more light and medium mounts. He is perhaps remembered for heading the A-4 Skyhawk jet fighter design. The XSB2D-1 offered up many novel design qualities including a powered tricycle undercarriage, a pair of remote-controlled machine gun-armed turrets and an inverted gull wing arrangement (similar to the Vought F4U Corsair fighter).
The fuselage was well-streamlined and highly tubular in its shape with the engine mounted to the extreme front-end of the aircraft powering a three-bladed propeller through a conical spinner. The cockpit was fitted aft of the engine and covered amidships with the crew of two under a framed canopy assembly. The fuselage tapered to the rear to which a distinct vertical tail fin was affixed. Horizontal tail planes were traditional and mounted as such. The main wing sections, mid-mounted along the fuselage sides, were cranked upwards at mid-chord, providing the Destroyer with a most unique appearance. Armament included 2 x 20mm cannons in the wings (inboard of the bend) as well as 4 x .50 caliber heavy machine guns mounted across two remote-controlled turrets (two guns to a turret). The latter armament was intended for self-defense while the former could be used effectively for strafing ground targets or suppressing anti-aircraft guns. A torpedo would be mounted into the internal bomb bay.