The Brewster SB2A Buccaneer was a single-engine mid-wing monoplane scout/bomber aircraft .
The SB2A was developed for the US Navy, and also ordered in large quantities by the Dutch, French, and British Governments.
The Dutch order was later taken over by the US Navy and the French order by Britain.
The Buccaneer was underpowered and poorly constructed, and all of its operators considered it to be unsuitable for combat.
SB2As were used as target tugs by the RAF and US Navy, trainers by the USMC, and “hacks” by the USAAF.
In early 1939 the United States Navy’s Bureau of Aeronautics launched a program to develop larger scout / bombers to operate from the Navy’s aircraft carriers.
In April that year the Brewster Aeronautical Corporation was selected to build a prototype of its Model 340 design to meet this requirement; this aircraft was to be designated the XSB2A-1.
The XSB2A-1’s design was heavily based on the earlier Brewster SBA scout-bomber.
It shared the single engined, mid-winged monoplane layout of the earlier aircraft, but was larger and had a more powerful engine.
The XSB2A-1 was powered by a single Wright R-2600 engine which drove a three-bladed propeller.
It was armed with two forward-firing 0.50 inch calibre machine guns in the fuselage and two 0.30 machine guns in each wing.
The type was also initially intended to have an enclosed gun turret.
The aircraft could carry up to 1,000 pounds (450 kg) of bombs in an internal bomb bay.
The first XSB2A-1 prototype commenced flying trials on 17 June 1941.
The results of this testing and changing requirements led to significant changes to the design.
These included the airframe being lengthened by 1 foot and two inches, the turret being replaced by a flexible mount in the rear of the cockpit for a pair of 0.30 machine guns, the addition of armor and self-sealing fuel tanks, and changes to the design of the fins and canopy.
The combined effect of these changes resulted in the aircraft’s weight increasing by almost 3,000 pounds (1,400 kg), which greatly reduced its speed, weapons load, and flying range.
In its final form, the SB2A weighed 9,924 pounds (4,501 kg) empty and had a maximum take-off weight of 14,289 pounds (6,481 kg).
It had a maximum speed of 274 miles per hour (441 km/h), a cruising speed of 161 miles per hour (259 km/h), and a maximum range of 1,675 miles (2,696 km).
The airframe was not well designed, and could be easily damaged.
The SB2A was manned by a crew of two, a pilot and airman who served as both an observer and a gunner.