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Douglas A-33



Northrop used the Gamma transport as the basis of a private-venture design for a light attack bomber, identifying this as the Northrop Gamma 2C which, powered by a 548kW Wright SR-1820F radial engine, was acquired for evaluation by the US Army Air Corps in June 1934 under the designation YA-13. Subsequently re-engined with a 708kW Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp, this aircraft was redesignated XA-16 (Northrop Gamma 2F).

Following tests of the YA-13 and XA-16, Northrop received $2 million contract for 110 attack bombers designated A-17, but because testing of the XA-16 had shown that the aircraft was over-powered, the Gamma 2.F was re-engined with a 559kW Pratt & Whitney R-1535 Twin Wasp Junior, serving as the prototype for the A-17. Following the incorporation of several other modifications, the first of 109 production A-17 aircraft was delivered in December 1935.

A contract was received in the same month for an improved A-17A, introducing retractable tailwheel landing gear and the 615kW Pratt & Whitney R-1535-13 engine. Some 129 were built, initially by Northrop, but in 1937 Douglas acquired the remaining 49% of Northrop Corporation's stock, and it was the Douglas Company which completed production of these aircraft. Of the total, 93 served with the USAAC for only 18 months, then being returned to Douglas for sale to the UK and France. The Royal Air Force received 60, designating them Nomad Mk I, and all were transferred to the South African Air Force.

Northrop A-17А
An experiment with the Northrop A-17 aircraft in 1940 consisted in changing the way the air was taken to cool the engine to which the air is fed through special channels at the root of the wing.
Northrop A-17А
These air intakes, even supported by a special suction fan (hot air was emitted through special blinds from above), turned out to be completely inadequate to supply the required air volumes. Ground tests gave normal temperature only at idle speed and without load. Any attempt to increase the amount of power led to a rapid overheating of the engine.
Northrop A-17А

Douglas also built this aircraft for export under the designation Douglas Model 8A, supplying them to Argentina, Iraq, the Netherlands and Norway. In 1939 the first SAAB built 8A-1 was completed (as the B5).

Early in 1940, the Norwegian government ordered 36 8A-5s which not had been delivered before Norway was invaded by the Germans. Completed between October 1940 and January 1941, the aircraft were delivered to a training center in Canada that had been set up for the Norwegian government-in-exile, named "Little Norway" at Toronto Island Airport, Ontario.
The 8A-5 was powered by a 1,200 hp (895 kW) Wright R-1820-87 engine, with four wing mounted 0.30 in machine guns, two 0.50 in machine guns in pods below the wing, a rear-firing flexibly mounted 0.30 in gun, and the ability carry up to 2,000 lb of bombs.
A-33/Model 8A-5
After the loss of two aircraft and a reassessment of the training needs now met by the use of other aircraft, the remaining 34 Model 8A-5Ps were sold to Peru. However, 31 were repossessed by the Army Air Corps at the start of World War II. These aircraft, designated A-33, were used for training, target tug, and utility duties. Serial numbers: 42-13584/13601; 42-109007/109019


Engine: 1 x Pratt & Whitney R-1535-13 radial, 615kW
Max take-off weight: 3421 kg/ 7542 lb
Empty weight: 2316 kg / 5106 lb
Wingspan: 48 ft 8.5 in
Length: 9.65 m / 31 ft 8 in
Height: 3.66 m / 12 ft 0 in
Wing area: 33.63 sq.m / 361.99 sq ft
Max. speed: 354 km/h / 220 mph
Ceiling: 5915 m / 19400 ft
Range: 1175 km / 730 miles
Armament:  5 x 7.62mm machine-guns, 4 x 45kg bombs


Douglas A-33
Powerplant: 1 × Wright GR-1820-G205A Cyclone, 1,200 hp (890 kW)
Propeller: 3-bladed variable-pitch propeller
Wingspan: 47 ft 9 in (14.55 m)
Airfoil: root: NACA 2215; tip: NACA 2209
Wing area: 363 sq ft (33.7 m2)
Length: 32 ft 6 in (9.91 m)
Height: 9 ft 4 in (2.84 m)
Empty weight: 5,510 lb (2,499 kg)
Gross weight: 8,600 lb (3,901 kg)
Max takeoff weight: 9,200 lb (4,173 kg)
Maximum speed: 248 mph (399 km/h, 216 kn) at 15,700 ft (4,800 m)
Service ceiling: 29,000 ft (8,800 m)
Time to altitude: 10,000 ft (3,000 m) in 5 minutes 48 seconds
4 × forward-firing .30 cal (7.62mm) 1919 Browning machine guns, 500rpg
2 × forward-firing .50 cal M2 Brownings in gun pods, 200rpg
1 × .30 cal (7.62mm) 1919 Browning machine gun in rear cockpit, 1,000 rounds
Bombs: 2,000lb max load
Internal: Up to twenty 20 lb (9.1 kg) bombs in internal racks
External: Eight hardpoints under the fuselage, four outboard hardpoints can take 500 lb (230 kg) bombs, all eight can carry 100 lb (45 kg)
Crew: 2




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