Fletcher FD-25

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FD-25 Defender
Fletcher FD-25B Defender.jpg
Role Counter-Insurgency aircraft
Manufacturer Fletcher
Designer John Thorp
First flight 1953
Primary users Royal Cambodian Air Force
Republic of Vietnam Air Force
Number built 13

The Fletcher FD-25 Defender was a light ground-attack aircraft developed in the United States in the early 1950s.

Design and development[edit]

The Defender was a conventional low-wing cantilever monoplane with fixed tailwheel undercarriage. Provision was made for two machine guns in the wings, plus disposable stores carried on underwing pylons. Construction throughout was all-metal, and the pilot sat under a wide perspex canopy.

Operational history[edit]

Three prototypes were built, two single-seaters and a two-seater, but no orders were placed by the US military. In Japan, however, Toyo acquired the rights to the design, and built around a dozen aircraft, selling seven (three single-seater attack versions and three two-seat trainers) to Cambodia,[1] and four to Vietnam. One example remains extant and in an airworthy condition today, and appeared at the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh airshow in 2010. Built under licence in New Zealand from the mid-1950s in many variations, its much improved descendants are available under the Fletcher name in 2014.

Specifications[edit]

Fletcher Defender at Fullerton, California, in 1971

General characteristics

  • Crew: one pilot
  • Length: 20 ft 11 in (6.38 m)
  • Wingspan: 30 ft 0 in (9.14 m)
  • Height: 5 ft 3 in (1.60 m)
  • Wing area: 150 ft2 (13.9 m2)
  • Empty weight: 1,421 lb (645 kg)
  • Gross weight: 2,696 lb (1,223 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Continental E-225-8, 225 hp (167 kW)

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 190 mph (300 km/h)
  • Range: 834 miles (1,335 km)
  • Service ceiling: 16,400 ft (5,000 m)
  • Rate of climb: 1,720 ft/min (8.8 m/s)

Armament

  • 2 fixed, forward-firing .30 (7.62 mm) machine guns in wings
  • 500 lb (230 kg) of disposable stores on eight underwing pylons, including bombs, rockets, and napalm tanks

See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ Grandolini 1988, p. 39.

Bibliography

  • Grandolini, Albert. "L'Aviation Royale Khmere: The first 15 years of Cambodian military aviation". Air Enthusiast (Bromley, UK: Fine Scroll) (Thirty-seven, September–December 1988): pp. 39–47. ISSN 0143-5450.
  • Taylor, Michael J. H. Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. London: Studio Editions. 1989. p. 393. ISBN 0-517-69186-8.
  • World Aircraft Information Files. London: Bright Star Publishing, 1985, pp. File 894 Sheet 25.

External links[edit]