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Douglas Skypirate

The Douglas XTB2D Skypirate, also known as the Devastator II, was developed as a torpedo bomber to serve on the United States Navy’s Midway- and Essex-class aircraft carriers, as it was deemed too large for earlier decks.

The project was initiated in 1939 by Douglas designers Ed Heinemann and Bob Donovan, who began work on a VTB Proposal to replace the outdated TBD Devastator torpedo bomber.

In 1942, the team led by Heinemann and Donovan commenced work on a new project named the “Devastator II”.

On 31 October 1943, just four days after the very large Midway-class aircraft carriers were ordered into production, Douglas received a contract for two prototypes, designated TB2D, receiving the official name: “Skypirate”.

The TB2D was powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major driving contra-rotating propellers.

It could carry four torpedoes, such as the Mark 13 torpedo, or an equivalent bomb load on underwing pylons.

Defensive armament consisted of two 20 mm (.79 in) cannons in the wings and .50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns mounted in a power-operated dorsal turret.

The TB2D was a single-engined aircraft and was the largest carrier-borne aircraft at the time.

It could carry four times the weapon load of the Grumman TBF Avenger.

However, with only limited support from the US Navy, the TB2D project faced a recommendation for cancellation on 20 May 1944 due to the aircraft being designed only for the CVB and CV9 carriers, even at the design and mock-up stage.

Ultimately, the dedicated torpedo bomber was becoming an outdated concept, and with the end of World War II, the type was deemed unnecessary and cancelled.
XTB2D-1 Skypirate
46 ft 0 in (14.02 m)
70 ft 0 in (21.34 m)
22 ft 7 in (6.88 m)
Wing area
605 sq ft (56.2 m2)
ES SH 4518
ES SH 4516
Empty weight
18,405 lb (8,348 kg)
Gross weight
28,545 lb (12,948 kg)
Max take-off weight
34,760 lb (15,767 kg)
Fuel capacity
320 US gal (270 imp gal; 1,200 L) fuselage tank – Torpedo bomber mission
501 US gal (417 imp gal; 1,900 L) fuselage tank – Bomber mission
501 US gal (417 imp gal; 1,900 L) fuselage tank
273 US gal (227 imp gal; 1,030 L) wing tanks
2x 300 US gal (250 imp gal; 1,100 L) drop-tanks – Overload scout mission
1 × Pratt & Whitney R-4360-8 Wasp Major,
28-cylinder 4-row air-cooled radial piston engine,
3,000 hp (2,200 kW)
8-bladed Hamilton-Standard Super Hydromatic contra-rotating individually fully feathering constant-speed propeller,

14 ft 1 in (4.29 m) diameter forward propeller section,

14 ft 3 in (4.34 m) diameter aft propeller section
Maximum speed
340 mph (550 km/h, 300 kn) at 15,600 ft (4,800 m)
Cruise speed
168 mph (270 km/h, 146 kn)
1,250 mi (2,010 km, 1,090 nmi)
Ferry range
2,880 mi (4,630 km, 2,500 nmi)
Service ceiling
24,500 ft (7,500 m)
Rate of climb
1,390 ft/min (7.1 m/s)
Wing loading
47.2 lb/sq ft (230 kg/m2)
0.1053 hp/lb (0.1731 kW/kg)
4 × wing-mounted 0.50 in (13 mm) machine guns
2 × 0.50 in (13 mm) machine guns in dorsal turret
1 × 0.50 in (13 mm) machine gun in ventral bath
Up to 8,400 lb (3,800 kg)) of bombs or four torpedoes
McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Company 1st 75 Years Aviation Book-McDonnell Douglas.
McDonnell Douglas Aircraft since 1920, Volume 1-René J Francillon.
San Diego Air and Space Museum Archive.
The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.
Naval fighters No.36, Douglas XTB2D-1 Skypirate-Bob Kowalski.

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