North American A-36 Apache
This was the dive-bomber version of the P-51 Mustang. The USAAF bought this version first, but full priority was later given to the fighter version, and no more than 500 A-36's were built. It was unofficially known as 'Invader'.
In June 1943, the plane went into action from North Africa. During the Italian campaign, A-36A pilots flew bomber escort and strafing missions as well as ground support bombing attacks. A-36As also served with the 311th Fighter Bomber Group in India. Dive brakes in the wings gave greater stability in a dive, but they were sometimes wired closed due to malfunctions. In 1944, AAF A-36As were replaced by P-51s and P-47s when experience showed that these high-altitude fighters, equipped with bomb racks, were more suitable for low-level missions than the A-36As.
|General characteristics A-36A|
|Primary function||Dive bomber|
|Power plant||One Allison V-1710-F3R engine|
|Thrust||1,140 HP||850 kW|
|Wingspan||37 ft||11.29 m|
|Height||12.2 ft||3.72 m|
|Speed||max.||392 mph||630 km/h|
|cruising||250 mph||402 km/h|
|Ceiling||30,020 ft||9,150 m|
|Range||435 miles||700 km|
|Armament||6x 12.7mm machine gun, 900 kg bombs|
|Number built||No more than 500|