Role                        Light bomber
Manufacturer          Douglas Aircraft Company
First flight              10 July 1942
Retired                   1980 Colombian Air Force
Primary users        United States Army Air Forces, United States
                 Air Force, United States Navy,
                  French Air Force
Number built           2,452
Unit cost                  US$  242,595
Variants                  On Mark Executive, Marketeer,
                  and Marksman

Crew:                       3  (pilot, bombardier/navigator/pilot and gunner)
Length:                    50 ft 0 in (15.24 m)
Wingspan:                70 ft 0 in (21.34 m)
Height:                     18 ft 3 in (5.64 m)
Wing area:                540 ft² (50 m²)
Empty weight:           22,850 lb (10,365 kg)
Loaded weight:          27,600 lb (12,519 kg)
Max. takeoff weight: 35,000 lb (15,900 kg)
Powerplant:               2 × Pratt & Whitney R-2800-27
                   "Double Wasp" radials, 2,000 hp
Maximum speed:      373 mph (308 kn, 570 km/h)
Range:                      1,400 mi (1,200 nmi, 2,300 km)
Service ceiling:         22,000 ft (6,700 m)
Rate of climb:           1,250 ft/min (6.4 m/s)
Wing loading:           51 lb/ft² (250 kg/m²)
Power/mass:              0.145 hp/lb (108 W/kg)
Armament Guns:      Up to 8 0.50 in (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine
                    guns in the nose (1,600 rpg)
                    8 0.50 in (12.7 mm) M2 machine guns paired in four
                     optional underwing pods
                    2 0.50 in (12.7 mm) M2 machine guns in
remote-                                        controlled dorsal turret
Bombs:                      6,000 lb (2,700 kg) capacity -
                     4,000 lb (1,800 kg) in the bomb bay
plus                                                     2,000 lb (910 kg) carried on the
ABOUT The Douglas A-26 Invader (B-26 between 1948–1965)
was a
United States twin-engined light attack bomber built by the
Douglas Aircraft Co. during World War II that also saw service
during several of the Cold War's major conflicts. A limited number of
highly modified aircraft (designation A-26 restored) served in combat
until 1969.
The redesignation of the type from A-26 to B-26 has led to popular
confusion with the Martin B-26 Marauder. Although both types used
the R-2800 engine, they are completely different designs.
The last A-26 in active US service was assigned to the
Air National
; that aircraft was retired from military service in 1972 by the
US Air Force and the National Guard Bureau and donated to the
National Air and Space Museum.

DESIGN The A-26 was an unusual design for an attack bomber of
the early 1940s period, as it was designed as a single-pilot aircraft
(sharing this characteristic with the
RAF's de Havilland Mosquito,
among others). The aircraft was designed by
Edward Heinemann,
Robert Donovan,
and Ted R. Smith. The project aerodynamicist on
the program was
A.M.O. Smith, who designed the wing making use
of the then-new NACA 65-215 laminar flow airfoil. The
Douglas XA-
prototype first flew on 10 July 1942 at Mines Field, El Segundo,
with test pilot
Benny Howard at the controls. Flight tests revealed
excellent performance and handling, but there were problems with
engine cooling which led to cowling changes and omission of the
propeller spinners on production aircraft, plus modification of the
nose landing gear after repeated collapses during testing.
The A-26 was originally built in two different configurations. The A-
26B had a "solid" nose, which originally could be equipped with a
combination of anything from .50 caliber machine guns, 37mm auto
cannon, 20mm or even a 75mm pack howitzer, but normally the solid
nose version housed six (or later eight) .50 caliber machine guns,
officially termed the "all-purpose nose", later commonly known as the
"six-gun nose" or "eight-gun nose". The A-26C's "glass" nose,
officially termed the "Bombardier nose", contained a Norden
bombsight for medium altitude precision bombing. The A-26C nose
section included two fixed M-2 guns, later replaced by underwing
gun packs or internal guns in the wings.
After about 1,570 production aircraft, three guns were installed in
each wing, coinciding with the introduction of the "eight-gun nose"
for A-26Bs, giving some configurations as many as 14 .50 in (12.7
mm) machine guns in a fixed forward mount. An A-26C nose section
could be exchanged for an A-26B nose section, or vice versa, in a
few man-hours, thus physically (and officially) changing the
designation and operational role. The "flat-topped" canopy was
changed in late 1944 after about 820 production aircraft, to a
clamshell style with greatly improved visibility. Alongside the pilot in
an A-26B, a crew member typically served as navigator and gun
loader for the pilot-operated nose guns. In an A-26C, that crew
member served as navigator and bombardier, and relocated to the
nose section for the bombing phase of an operation. A small number
of A-26Cs were fitted with dual flight controls, some parts of which
could be disabled in flight to allow limited access to the nose section.
A tractor-style "jump seat" was located behind the "navigator's seat."
In most missions, a third crew member in the rear gunner's
compartment operated the remotely-controlled dorsal and ventral gun
turrets, with access to and from the cockpit only possible via the
bomb bay when that was empty.
TB-26C Unarmed variant converted from B-26C for training

OPERATIONAL HISTORY  Please click here to learn more
about the A-26C's Operational History
Douglas A-26C AirTanker  "Lead Sled"
"LEAD SLED" The Museum's
A-26C Air Tanker was
delivered just prior to the end of
WWII, she sat unused for a while.
Bombardment (Light) Squadron,
National Guard)
at Mitchell Field, NY,
the 106th Composite Group (ANG),
Floyd Bennett Field, NY, 106th
Bombardment (Light) SAC,
Field, CA
She then moved to storage at Warner Robins Air Material area at Robins AFB, GA, then to the Sacramento Air
area at McClellan AFB, CA. She was dropped from the active USAF inventory by transfer to the
MAP. She wound up at
Tan Son Nhut where she was assigned to the 1/25 Tunisie Bombing Group of the
French Air Force. After combat time with the French, she went into open storage at Clark AB, Philippines.
converted her to an executive transport and was sold to Raytheon as a transport, then to Air Spray in
Alberta, Canada as an aerial firefighter.

The Museum purchased her in 2006 and flew her to Oregon as part of their collection. The
Classic Aircraft Museum
owns,flies,and displays the A-26C Air Tanker. (Shown here)