The majority of
military aircraft produced by the us industry during the 'between wars'
years evolved from requirements of the nation's armed forces and,
because of this, enjoyed the benefit of government finance during the
development stages. When, in due course, examples became available for
export markets, they were costed at a realistic price, one which was
not saddled with a share of high development costs. The Vultee
V-11/V-12 single-engined light attack bomber was, however, an exception
to the foregoing. Developed as a private venture it was sold in the
middle and late 1930s, in what were then considered large numbers, to
Brazil, China, Turkey and the USSR. When, in late 1938, the US Army Air
Corps became interested in the type, only seven were built for service
trials under the designation YA-19, but no production order
Development of the
basic design continued, and bearing in mind the interest in
dive-bombing techniques which had evolved in the USA and Germany, and
been demonstrated as effective in the Spanish Civil War, Vultee ensured
that its new V-72 would have the capability of deployment in such a
role. In 1940 a British purchasing mission, which had received plenty
of confirmation of the capabilities of the dive-bomber, placed an order
for 700 of these aircraft under the designation Vengeance, and the
first of these aircraft for Britain (AN838), flew for the first time in
July 1941. A fairly large mid-wing monoplane of all-metal construction,
it had hydraulically operated air-brakes on the wings for control in
the dive and hydraulically retracted tailwheel type landing gear, and
the powerplant comprised of one 1,600 hp (1194 kW) Wright GR-2600-A5B5
(GR-2600-19) Cyclone 14 twin-row radial engine.
The British order
comprised 400 Mk I aircraft and 300 Mk II, built by Northrop and Vultee
respectively, since the latter had insufficient production capacity.
Subsequently, after the introduction of Lend-Lease in 1941, the USAAF
ordered 300 more aircraft for Britain, allocating the designation A-31.
Northrop built examples off this latter contract had the designation
Vengeance Mk IA in Britain and the Vultee built aircraft became the
Vengeance Mk III.
A Vultee V-72 built for the RAF but requisitioned by the U.S. Army Air
Corps, serving at the Gunnery Training Centre at Patterson Field in
German Junkers Ju 87
dive-bombers, which had been deployed against vital targets in England
during the Battle of Britain, had been found to be very vulnerable to
high performance fighters. The RAF realised that its new Vengeance
aircraft would be totally unsuited for operations in Europe and,
instead, transferred them to equip Nos. 45, 82, 84 and 110 Squadrons
operating in Burma where, with Hawker Hurricanes flying escort, they
were operated with considerable success against difficult jungle
When the US became
involved in the war, at least 243 of the aircraft intended for Britain
were commandeered by the USAAF and put into service as V-72 or RA-31s.
Further production was initiated for the USAAF, these equipped to US
Army standards, and with armament comprising of five 12.7 (0.50 in)
machine-guns. Vultee built 99 under the designation A-35A; followed by
831 A-35Bs with the Wright R-2600-13 engine and increased armament. Of
this total 29 were assigned to Brazil, and the 562 supplied to Britain
were known to the RAF as Vengeance Mk IV, of which a small number were
transferred to Royal Australian Air Force units. Some of the RAF's
aircraft were converted for target towing duties as Vengeance TT.IV,
but almost all of those which served with the USAAF were converted for
Variants included one
XA-31B with a 3,000 hp (2237 kW) Wright XR-4360-1 Wasp Major radial
engine installed for test purposes, and five YA-31Cs with 2,200-hp
(1640 kW) R-3350-13/ -37 Cyclone engines installed for development
Vultee V-72 (Model 72)
- After the virtual rejection of the previous YA-19 (V-11/V-12) design
by the US Army Air Corp, work continued on the type keeping in mind the
new techniques developed by the United States for dive bombing, and
those by Germany, which proved the concept so well during the Spanish
Civil War. The new aircraft was given the company designation Vultee
Model 72. In 1940, a British Purchasing Mission ordered 700 of these
aircraft. 400 were built by Northrop and designated Vengeance Mk I,
while 300 were built by Vultee and designated Vengeance Mk II. Other
than the manufacturer, they were identical. They were equipped with
four American built 7.62 mm (0.30 in) Browning machine-guns in the
wings and two more 7.62 mm (0.30 in) Browning machine-guns on a
trainable mount in the rear cockpit. In the field, the rear
machine-guns were usually replaced by the more reliable British 7.7 mm
(0.303 in) machine-guns. The standard powerplant was a 1,600 hp (1194
kW) Wright R-2600-A5B5 (R-2600-19) radial engine.
Vultee A-31 - In 1941
after the introduction of Lend-Lease, the USAAF ordered 300 more
aircraft for Britain, allocating them the designation A-31. In British
use the type was designated Vengeance Mk IA (Northrop built) and
Vengeance Mk III (Vultee built). The standard powerplant was a 1,600 hp
(1194 kW) Wright R-2600-A5B5 (R-2600-19) radial engine.
Vultee RA-31 (Model 85)
- When the United States entered the war, at least 243 aircraft
intended for Britain (designation A-31) were impressed into service
with the USAAF. These aircraft built for Britain (with RAF camouflage,
serial numbers and armament) were initially referred to a V-72s and
used for air gunnery training. Later aircraft in the same series were
redesignated RA-31 in USAAF service. All aircraft shared the company
designation Model 85.
Vultee XA-31A - A
single aircraft (serial 42-35824) used for static airframe testing
Vultee XA-31B - The
single XA-31A aircraft redesignated for flight testing of a 3,000 hp
(2237 kW) Pratt & Whitney XR-4360-1 Wasp Major radial engine.
Vultee XA-31C - A
single aircraft redesignated for flight testing of the 2,200 hp (1640
kW) Wright R-3350 Series Cyclone engine.
Vultee YA-31C - Five
aircraft redesignated for flight testing of the 2,200 hp (1640 kW)
Wright R-3350-13 or 37 Cyclone engine with four-bladed propellers for
development testing with the Boeing B-29 programme at Wright Field.
Vultee A-35 (Model 88)
- After the USAAF impressed 243 aircraft originally intended for
Britain into USAAF service, they further ordered more aircraft but this
time conforming to US Army Air Corps standards. They were built in two
versions, all with the company designation Model 88.
Vultee A-35A - 99
aircraft produced by Vultee in Nashville with four 12.7 mm (0.50 in)
machine-guns in the wings and a single 12.7 mm (0.50 in) machine-gun on
a trainable mount in the rear cockpit plus two 500 lbs (227 kg) bombs
held in an internal fuselage bomb-bay with an additional overload
capacity of two 250 lbs (113 kg) carried externally on under wing
racks. (Serials 41-31148 to 41-31246).
Vultee A-35B - 831
aircraft built by Vultee in Nashville with six 12.7 mm (0.50 in)
machine-guns in the wings and a single 12.7 mm (0.50 in) machine-gun on
a trainable mount in the rear cockpit plus up to 2,000 lbs (907 kg) of
bombs. The powerplant was the 1,700 hp (1268 kW) Wright R-2600-13
Cyclone 14-cylinder air-cooled radial engine. In British service this
type was designated Vengeance DB.Mk IV Series I (104 aircraft) with a
1,600 hp (1194 kW) Wright R-2600-13 Cyclone engine and the Vengeance
DB.Mk IV Series II (458 aircraft) with a 1,600 hp (1194 kW) Wright
R-2600-8 Cyclone engine. This type used the heavier American 12.7 mm
(0.50 in) machine-guns. By the time deliveries started, the type was no
longer needed for the dive-bombing role and many were converted at
Cunliffe Owen to serve as the Vengeance TT.Mk IV in the capacity as a
target tugs. More than 100 of these aircraft with the Type B.Mk IIB
winch installed were transferred by the RAF to the Fleet Air Arm for
use in this role.
Type: Two Seat
Pilot and an Observer/Gunner sitting in tandem in an continuous
enclosed cockpit with sliding sections over each seat. Armour
protection was provided for both positions.
Aircraft Incorporated Design Team developed from the previous Vultee
Vultee Aircraft Incorporated at Nashville Tennessee and Northrop
Aircraft Incorporated at Hawthorne California. In March 1943, Vultee
Aircraft Incorporated and the Consolidated Aircraft Corporation merged
together to become The Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation.
1,700 hp (1268 kW) Wright R-2600-13 Cyclone 14-cylinder air-cooled
radial engine driving a three-bladed Hamilton Standard Hydromatic
Maximum speed 279 mph (449 km/h) at 13,500 ft (4115 m); cruising speed
230 mph (370 km/h); service ceiling 22,300 ft (6795 m).
Ten self-sealing fuel cells in the wings and fuselage interconnected to
form three seperate fuel tanks with a total capacity of 275 US Gallons
(316.8 litres or 69.7 Imperial Gallons).
miles (3701 km) on internal fuel.
10,300 lbs (4672 kg) with a maximum take-off weight of 16,400 lbs (7439
48 ft 0 in (14.63 m); length 39 ft 9 in (12.12 m); height 15 ft 4 in
(4.67 m); wing area 332.0 sq ft (30.84 sq m).
forward firing 12.7 mm (0.50 in) Browning machine-guns and a single
rearward firing 12.7 mm (0.50 in) Browning machine-gun on a trainable
mount in the rear cockpit plus up to 2,000 lbs (907 kg) of bombs.
Variants: V-72 (company designation), A-31 (USAAF Lend-Lease
allocation), RA-31 (USAAF), XA-31A, XA-31B, XA-31C, YA-31C, A-35 (redesignation
from A-31), A-35A, A-35B. Commonwealth Service: Vengeance Mk I
(Northrop), Vengeance Mk IA (Northrop), Vengeance Mk II (Vultee),
Vengeance Mk III (Vultee), Vengeance DB.Mk IV, Vengeance TT.Mk IV
Standard communication and navigational equipment.
Unit: The wings were of a mid-wing cantilever monoplane design with
a flat centre-section with swept-back leading-edge and straight
trailing-edge. Outer sections have straight leading-edges and
swept-forward trailing-edges. All metal single-spar structure with
stressed skin covering. Hydraulically operated dive-brakes on both
upper and lower surfaces of outer sections hinging upwards and
backwards and forward and downward respectively. Differentially
operated and statically, and aerodynamically balanced ailerons have
metal frames and smooth sheet covering. Electrically operated trim-tabs
in both ailerons. Hydraulically operated slotted trailing-edge flaps
between ailerons and fuselage. The fuselage is an oval shaped all-metal
structure in two main sections. The forward section is a semi-monocoque
and the rear section a monocoque type. The entire skin is flush-riveted
and lap-jointed. The tail unit is a cantilever monoplane type. The fin
is forward of the tailplane. Fin and tailplane are all-metal
structures. The elevators have metal frames with both metal and fabric
covering. The rudder has a metal frame with fabric covering.
Controllable trim-tabs in rudder and port elevator.
The landing gear are of a retractable type. The cantilever oleo legs
retract backwards and rotate through 90 degrees for wheels to lie flat
in the undersurface of the centre section. Legs are enclosed by hinged
fairings. Partially retractable non-steerable tailwheel. Hydraulic
flight (AN838) July 1941 for Britain; end production Autumn 1944;
retired from RAF service in 1946.
United States (USAAF), United Kingdom (RAF), Australia (RAAF), India (RIAF),