Curtiss A-8

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A-8 "Shrike"
Curtiss A-8 No.60.jpg
Curtiss A-8 No.60 of the 13th Attack Squadron
Role Attack
Manufacturer Curtiss
Designer Don Berlin[1]
First flight June 1931
Introduction April 1932
Primary user U.S. Army Air Corps
Produced 13
Variants YA-10 Shrike
A-12 Shrike

The A-8 was a low-wing monoplane ground-attack aircraft built by the United States company Curtiss, designed in response to a 1929 United States Army Air Corps requirement for an attack aircraft to replace the A-3 Falcon. The Model 59 "Shrike" was designated XA-8 (the "Shrike" nickname was not officially adopted).

Development[edit]

The XA-8 won a competition against the General Aviation/Fokker XA-7, after which 13 service test aircraft were ordered (five as YA-8s and eight as Y1A-8s). After the completion of testing, 11 of these aircraft were redesignated A-8.

The A-8 was the first Curtiss machine of all-metal low-wing monoplane configuration with advanced features such as automatic leading edge slats and trailing-edge flaps.[2]

Four forward-firing .30 in (7.62 mm) machine guns were mounted in the wheel fairings, and an additional weapon of the same calibre was fitted in the observer's cockpit for rear defense. The standard bomb load was four 100 lb (45 kg) bombs.[3]

One YA-8 was fitted with a radial engine and designated YA-10, while another was used for testing of the Curtiss V-1570 Conqueror engine as the Y1A-8A. This aircraft was redesignated A-8 upon the completion of testing.

46 aircraft were ordered as A-8Bs, however the order was changed to the Model 60 A-12s before production began.

Operational history[edit]

The A-8 created a sensation in US aviation circles when it went into service with the 3rd Attack Group at Fort Crockett, Texas in April 1932. All other standard aircraft were of biplane configuration, and the first monoplane fighter (the Boeing P-26A) did not become operational until eight months later.[2]

Variants[edit]

XA-8
Model 59, one prototype, serial number 30-387, length 32 ft 6 in (9.9 m), wingspan 44 ft (13.4 m), gross weight 5,413 lb (2,455 kg) Curtiss V-1570-23 direct drive engine[4]
Curtiss YA-8 Shrike
YA-8
service test aircraft, 5 built, serial numbers 32-344 to 32-348, gross weight 5,706 lb (2,588 kg),[4] one was reworked as the YA-10 prototype with the 625 hp (466 kW) Pratt & Whitney Hornet radial engine[2]
Y1A-8
service test aircraft, 8 built, gross weight 5,710 lb (2,590 kg)[4]
A-8
12 redesignated YA-8 and Y1A-8 aircraft[4]
Y1A-8A
last Y1A-8 with Curtiss V-1570-57 geared engine, length 33 ft 7 in (10.24 m), gross weight 6,287 lb (2,852 kg)[4]
A-8A
redesignated Y1A-8A aircraft[4]
A-8B
cancelled, replaced by A-12 Shrike[4]

Operators[edit]

 United States

Specifications (YA-8)[edit]

Data from Curtiss Aircraft 1907–1947

General characteristics

  • Crew: Two
  • Length: 32 ft 10 in (10.00 m)
  • Wingspan: 44 ft 0 in (13.41 m)
  • Height: 9 ft 0 in (2.74 m)
  • Wing area: 256 sq ft (23.78 m²)
  • Empty weight: 3,910 lb (1,777 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 5,888 lb (2,676 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Curtiss V-1570-31 Conqueror Vee, 600 hp (447 kW)

Performance

Armament

  • Guns:
    • 4 × forward-firing 0.3 in (7.62 mm) M1919 Browning machine guns were mounted in the wheel fairings
    • 1 × 0.3 in (7.62 mm) machine gun mounted in the observer's cockpit for rear defense
  • Bombs: Up to 4 × 100 lb (45 kg) bombs carried under the wings[3] or up to 10 × 30 lb (13.6 kg) fragmentation bombs in fuselage chutes either side of the main fuel tank[1]

See also[edit]

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the 20th Century Weapons and Warfare" Editor: Bernard Fitzsimons (Purnell & Sons Ltd., ISBN 0-8393-6175-0) 1967/1969, Vol. 21
  2. ^ a b c "The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft" Editors: Paul Eden & Soph Moeng, (Amber Books Ltd. Bradley's Close, 74-77 White Lion Street, London, NI 9PF, 2002, ISBN 0-7607-3432-1), 1152 pp.
  3. ^ a b "United States Military Aircraft Since 1909" by F. G. Swanborough & Peter M. Bowers (Putnam New York, ISBN 0-85177-816-X) 1964, 596 pp.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "U.S. Army Aircraft 1908-1946" by James C. Fahey, 1946, 64pp.

External links[edit]

Media related to Curtiss A-8 at Wikimedia Commons