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Brewster XA-32

United States (1943)

Detailing the development and operational history of the Brewster XA-32 Ground Attack / Dive Bomber Aircraft Prototype.

 Entry last updated on 5/5/2016; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ©

  Brewster XA-32  
Picture of Brewster XA-32 Ground Attack / Dive Bomber Aircraft Prototype
Picture of Brewster XA-32 Ground Attack / Dive Bomber Aircraft Prototype Picture of Brewster XA-32 Ground Attack / Dive Bomber Aircraft PrototypePicture of Brewster XA-32 Ground Attack / Dive Bomber Aircraft Prototype

The Brewster XA-32 series was intended as a ground attack aircraft though only two prototypes were ever completed.

The United States Army Air Corps appreciated the tactical scope of the German Luftwaffe Junkers Ju 87 "Stuka" dive bombers and set about to stock a similar aircraft of its own. This charge was given to the Brewster Aeronautical Corporation in 1941. However, Brewster was slow in its response and a mockup was not made ready until the middle of 1942. A functioning prototype (XA-32) was therefore not in play until 1943 and this featured an all-new vertical tail fin design. By this time, America was fully committed to world war along several major fronts and piston-engined technology had advanced by a large margin.

The XA-32 was given a rather conventional design configuration though the implementation of an internal bomb bay generated a rather portly fuselage appearance. At its core, the XA-32 certainly appeared a serviceable mark, with well-rounded mid-set monoplane wings, a forward-set cockpit, front-mounted radial piston engine and conventional tail unit and undercarriage. Power was developed from a single Pratt & Whitney R-2800 series air-cooled radial piston engine driving a four-bladed propeller assembly. Primary armament was to be 8 x 0.50 Browning heavy machine guns. As a bomber, the XA-32 was given provision for 1,000lb bombs under each wing and a 1,000lb munition in the internal bomb bay.

During formal evaluation of the XA-32 in 1943, the aircraft came in underpowered and heavy. An attempt to improved performance was made by fitting of the Pratt & Whitney R-4360 "Wasp Major" air-cooled radial engine of 3,000 horsepower but this did little to circumvent inherently gross problems in the design. The initial prototype managed a cruising speed of less than 200 miles per hour and this was without its intended armament in place. Furthermore, ranges under a combat load were equally limited to just 500 miles - hardly acceptable as a military-minded mount that would be called to attack targets over long distances. A second prototype - the XA-32A - emerged and this was eventually fitted with 4 x 20mm cannons but even this form failed to improved upon the original in any way.

The forgettable XA-32 was officially cancelled in 1944 and the disastrous effort that was the XA-32 ultimately doomed the Brewster Aeronautical Corporation in full - becoming its last foray into aircraft design and development, the company dismantled on April 5th, 1946 after years of utterly terrible management. Its primary claim to fame would forever be the equally-portly "Brewster Buffalo" of the late 1930s/early 1940s which had beaten out the classic Grumman F4F Wildcat as the first US Navy monoplane carrier-borne fighter. The USAAC instead moved forward and procured the North American A-36A "Apache" series in number (500 examples) - a dedicated ground attack version of the famous P-51 Mustang - for its strike/dive bombing needs. This aircraft gave a good account of itself in limited, interim service before they, themselves, were replaced by improved ground-attack-minded P-51 and Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter-bombers.
Picture of the Brewster XA-32 Ground Attack / Dive Bomber Aircraft Prototype
Picture of the Brewster XA-32 Ground Attack / Dive Bomber Aircraft Prototype

Any available statistics for the Brewster XA-32 Ground Attack / Dive Bomber Aircraft Prototype are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).
Cockpit picture from the Brewster XA-32 Ground Attack / Dive Bomber Aircraft Prototype
Brewster XA-32 Cockpit Picture
Brewster XA-32 Specifications
National Flag Graphic
United States
Year: 1943
Type: Ground Attack / Dive Bomber Aircraft Prototype
Manufacturer(s): Brewster Aeronautical Corporation - USA
Production: 2
Supported Mission Types
Ground Attack
Close-Air Support
Airborne Early Warning
Electronic Warfare
Aerial Tanker
Passenger Industry
VIP Travel
Business Travel
Special Forces
Crew: 1
Width: 44.88 ft (13.68 m)
Empty Weight: 13,481 lb (6,115 kg)

Installed Power
1 x Pratt & Whitney R-2800-37 air-cooled radial piston engine developing 2,100 horsepower.

Standard Day Performance
Maximum Speed: 311 mph (500 kph; 270 kts)
Maximum Range: 500 mi (805 km; 435 nm)

8 x 12.7mm Browning heavy machine guns

4 x 20mm cannons

Up to 3,000lbs of internal (1,000lbs) and external (2,000lbs - underwing) stores.

Operators List
United States

Series Model Variants
• XA-32 - Base Series Designation; fitted with 8 x 12.7mm machine guns.
• XA-32A - Second prototype fitted with 4 x 20mm cannons.

Supported Weapon Systems
Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft heavy machine gun
Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon

Images Gallery