The Douglas BTD Destroyer is a dive/torpedo bomber of American origin that was developed for the United States Navy during the course of World War II.
Although a limited quantity of these aircraft had been produced prior to the conclusion of the war, none were deployed in active combat.
On the 20th of June 1941, the Douglas Aircraft Company received an order from the United States Navy for two prototypes of a new two-seat dive bomber, designated XSB2D-1, intended to replace both the Douglas SBD Dauntless and the Curtiss SB2C Helldiver.
The aircraft, designed by a team led by Ed Heinemann, was a large single-engined mid-winged monoplane featuring a laminar flow gull wing and a tricycle undercarriage, which was unusual for a carrier-based aircraft at the time.
It was equipped with a bomb bay and underwing racks capable of carrying up to 4,200 lb (1,900 kg) of bombs or one torpedo, typically the Mark 13.
Defensive armament consisted of two wing-mounted 20 mm (0.79 in) cannons and two remote-controlled turrets, each with two .50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns.
The prototype of the XSB2D-1 successfully completed its first flight on the 8th of April 1943, demonstrating superior performance compared to the Dauntless and capable of carrying a greater bombload.
However, it was heavier and more complex.
The U.S. Navy requested a new torpedo bomber developed from the XSB2D-1, leading Douglas to rework the design by removing the turrets and second crewman, while adding more fuel and armour.
The wing racks were also modified to carry two torpedoes instead of one, resulting in the BTD-1 Destroyer.
As a result, orders for the SB2D-1 were converted to the BTD-1, with the first BTD-1 taking flight on the 5th of March 1944.
The BTD-1 was heavier than the XS2BD-1 and had poorer performance.
Consequently, Ed Heinemann requested the cancellation of the BTD-1.
Variants XSB2D-1 Prototype two-seat torpedo/dive bomber. Two built. SB2D-1 Proposed production version of XSB2D-1. 358 were ordered, but the order was converted to BTD-1 before any was completed. BTD-1 Single seat variant. 26 built. XBTD-2 In prototypes with mixed propulsion, the additional Westinghouse 19B turbojet in the rear fuselage giving 1,500 lbf (6.7 kN) thrust did not sufficiently improve performance. First flight May 1944. Two built. Specifications Crew 1 Length 38 ft 7 in (11.77 m) Wingspan 48 ft 0 in (14.64 m) Height 16 ft 7 in (5.05 m) over airscrew, one blade vertical Wing area 373 sq ft (34.7 m2) Empty weight 12,900 lb (5,851 kg) Gross weight 18,140 lb (8,228 kg) Max take-off weight 19,000 lb (8,618 kg) Powerplant 1 × Wright R-3350-14 Cyclone 18, 18-cyl two-row air-cooled radial piston engine, 2,300 hp (1,700 kW) Propellers 4-bladed constant-speed propeller Performance Maximum speed 344 mph (554 km/h, 299 kn) Cruise speed 188 mph (303 km/h, 163 kn) Range 1,480 mi (2,380 km, 1,290 nmi) Ferry range 2,140 mi (3,440 km, 1,860 nmi) Service ceiling 23,600 ft (7,200 m) Rate of climb 1,650 ft/min (8.4 m/s) Wing loading 48.6 lb/sq ft (237 kg/m2) Power/mass 7.9 lb/hp (4.83 kg/kW) Armament Guns 2 × 20 mm (0.787 in) AN/M2 cannon with 200 rpg Bombs Up to 3,200 lb (1,500 kg) of bombs in the bomb bay Or Two 1,947 lb (883 kg) Torpedoes. Sources Naval Fighters No.30, Douglas XSB2D-1 & BTD-1 Destroyer by Bob Kowalski & Steve Ginter. McDonnell Douglas aircraft since 1920: Volume I-René J Francillon. San Diego Air and Space Museum Archive. The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.