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Brewster SB2A Buccaneer


Carrierborne Scout Bomber Aircraft


United States | 1941



"The Brewster SB2A Buccaneer scout bomber led a rather nondescript service life heading into World War 2."



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 05/14/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
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Firepower
Performance
Survivability
Versatility
Impact
The Brewster Aeronautical Corporation managed to sell the United States Navy (USN) its proposed aircraft design for a new scout bomber requirement during the 1930s. This work eventually produced the Brewster "SBN" line which first flew in 1936, was produced in 30 examples by the Naval Aircraft Factory of Philadelphia, and formally introduced into USN service during 1941. Work began on a more developed form which was also built along the lines of scout-bomber as the Brewster "Model 340". The new aircraft was dimensionally larger than the earlier SBN and fitted with a stronger engine for improved output but retained the same general form and function as the design before it. First flight of an "XSB2A" prototype occurred on June 17th, 1941, months ahead of the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in December to thrust American into war. The type was accepted into USN service as the SB2A "Buccaneer" and went on to live a rather nondescript service life despite the 771 models produced by Brewster.

The final form included mid-mounted monoplane wing assemblies along a tubular fuselage for its crew of two - pilot and rear gunner. The cockpits were under a long, greenhouse style canopy which held a pair of sliding sections that could be left open for excellent viewing out-of-the-cockpit. The pilot sat just behind the engine compartment at front, the engine driving a three-bladed propeller assembly. The undercarriage was only partially retractable and this at the main legs - the tail wheel was fixed during flight. The empennage including the usual single, rounded vertical tail fin and low-set horizontal planes - on the whole the Buccaneer was a very conventional product but consistent for the period.

Only one XSB2A-1 prototype was completed, this known to Brewster as the "Model 340-7". The initial production models, of which 80 were manufactured, were designated as SB2A-2 and differed only in a change of the guns but lacked folding wing assemblies. SB2A-3 became the first version of the series to feature folding wings and an arrestor hook - a must for carrierborne aircraft - and some 60 production examples followed. The SB2A-4 were originally aircraft destined for the Netherlands (Dutch East Indies) but, with the rapid Japanese advance in the Pacific and the German conquests in Europe, this stock was taken on across 162 examples by the USN. Desperate for any manner of capable aircraft, the British (both the Royal Air Force and Fleet Air Arm services) took on the type via Lend-Lease and knew it as the A-34 "Bermuda". 750 of the aircraft were originally on order (as "Bermuda Mk.1") but only 468 of this total were actually realized. British versions included changes such as the original Buccaneer's complex rear-mounted powered turret being replaced by a simpler flexible machine gun mounting. Three Bermuda airframes were evaluated by the Canadians and later used for instruction. The Australians also showed some interest in the line but did not become official operators. Any additional Buccaneers not having made their way to Britain were taken on by the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) under the model number of "R340" and used solely for the ground training role.

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Aircraft were powered by a single Wright R-2600-8 series radial engine at front, delivering 1,700 horsepower for maximum speeds reaching 275 miles per hour, ranges out to 1,675 miles, and a service ceiling nearing 25,000 feet. Standard armament included 2 x 0.50 caliber M2 Browning heavy machine guns in the engine cowling as well as 4 x M1919 Browning medium machine guns in the wings. The rear gunner managed a 2 x 0.30 caliber machine gun arrangement in the back. A power-operated turret was seen in early forms. The optional bomb load was up to 1,000lb of conventional drop stores held in an internal bay.

Despite its usefulness and relatively high pre-war production numbers, the Buccaneer was another light bomber design that was more less made obsolete by the fast-paced nature of the war. It was replaced by more modern types as soon as possible and the British themselves opted for the Vultee Vengeance to help shore up its light bomber stocks then to continue receiving more Buccaneers.

Time was not good to this Brewster product for only two whole Buccaneer airframes are known to exist today (2014) - one resides on display at the National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola, Florida and the other at the Pima Air and Space Museum of Tucson, Arizona.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Brewster SB2A-2 Buccaneer Carrierborne Scout Bomber Aircraft.
1 x Wright R-2600-8 radial piston engine developing 1,700 horsepower.
Propulsion
273 mph
440 kph | 238 kts
Max Speed
24,934 ft
7,600 m | 5 miles
Service Ceiling
1,678 miles
2,700 km | 1,458 nm
Operational Range
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Structure
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Brewster SB2A-2 Buccaneer Carrierborne Scout Bomber Aircraft.
2
(MANNED)
Crew
39.2 ft
11.94 m
O/A Length
47.0 ft
(14.33 m)
O/A Width
15.4 ft
(4.70 m)
O/A Height
9,921 lb
(4,500 kg)
Empty Weight
14,330 lb
(6,500 kg)
MTOW
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
RANGE
ALT
SPEED
Armament
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Brewster SB2A Buccaneer Carrierborne Scout Bomber Aircraft .
STANDARD:
2 x 0.50 caliber Browning M2 heavy machine guns in fuselage.
4 x 0.30 caliber Browning M1919 medium machine guns in wings (2 per wing).
2 x 0.30 caliber Browning M1919 medium machine guns in power-operated rear turret OR flexible mounting.

OPTIONAL:
Up to 1,000lb of conventional drop stores held in an internal bomb bay.
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the Brewster SB2A Buccaneer family line.
SB2A "Buccaneer" - Base Series Designation
XSB2A-1 - Single Prototype Example
SB2A-2 - Initial production model; fixed wing; modified armament; 80 examples.
SB2A-3 - Folding wings; arrestor hook assembly; 60 examples.
SB2A-4 - Dutch East Indies order; taken on by USN in 162 examples.
A-34 "Bermuda" - British Designation
Bermuda Mk.1 - British RAF/FAA model; power-operated turret replaced with flexible gun mounting; 468 examples.
R340 - USAAF designation for Bermuda Mk.1 not delivered to Britain.
Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Brewster SB2A Buccaneer. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 771 Units

Contractor(s): Brewster Aeronautical Corporation - USA
National flag of Canada National flag of the United Kingdom National flag of the United States

[ Canada; United Kingdom; United States ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 300mph
Lo: 150mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (273mph).

Graph Average of 225 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
771
36183
44000
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
MACH Regime (Sonic)
Sub
Trans
Super
Hyper
HiHyper
ReEntry
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
Aviation Timeline
EarlyYrs
WWI
Interwar
WWII
ColdWar
Postwar
Modern
Future
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Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
GROUND ATTACK
MARITIME / NAVY
RECONNAISSANCE
Recognition
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Brewster SB2A Buccaneer Carrierborne Scout Bomber Aircraft appears in the following collections:
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