The Vultee XA-41 was originally ordered as a dive bomber.
After combat experience led the Army Air Corps to believe dive-bombers were too vulnerable to enemy fighters, the contract was amended to change the role to low-level ground attack.
Although the XA-41 was a potent weapons system, the design was overtaken by more advanced technology, and never entered production.
The Vultee engineering team decided early in the design process to build the XA-41 (company Model 90) around the 3,000 hp Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major four-row, 28-cylinder radial engine.
The Model 90’s large, tapered wing resembled that of Vultee Model 72 – a two-seat attack aircraft/dive bomber better known as the Vultee Vengeance (A-31/A-35) – including a straight leading edge, forward-swept trailing edge, and pronounced dihedral on the outer wing panels.
Designed to carry both a large internal load and external stores, the XA-41 was large for a single-engine aircraft.
The single-place cockpit, set in line with the wing root, was 15 ft (4.6 m) off the ground when the airplane was parked.
As operational priorities shifted during its development phase, the original order for two XA-41 prototypes was cancelled, although the USAAF pressed for the completion of one prototype as an engine testbed for the R-4360.
48 ft 8 in (14.83 m)
54 ft (16 m)
13 ft 11 in (4.24 m)
540 sq ft (50 m2)
13,336 lb (6,049 kg)
18,690 lb (8,478 kg)
Max take-off weight
24,188 lb (10,971 kg)
350 US gal (290 imp gal; 1,300 l) normal
1,140 US gal (950 imp gal; 4,300 l) with long-range tanks in bomb bay
1 × Pratt & Whitney R-4360-9 Wasp Major,
28 cylinder four row radial piston engine,
3,000 hp (2,200 kW)
4-bladed constant-speed airscrew,
13 ft 2 in (4.01 m) diameter
363 mph (584 km/h, 315 kn) in high gear supercharger at 15,500 ft (4,700 m)
(Mid gear supercharger)
354 mph (308 kn; 570 km/h) at 5,100 ft (1,600 m)
(Low gear supercharger)
334 mph (290 kn; 538 km/h) at sea level
296 mph (476 km/h, 257 kn) at 12,000 ft (3,700 m) on 1,475 hp (1,100 kW)
74 mph (119 km/h, 64 kn) with flaps
800 mi (1,300 km, 700 nmi)
3,000 mi (4,800 km, 2,600 nmi) with long-range tanks
29,300 ft (8,900 m) in high gear supercharger
Rate of climb
2,900 ft/min (15 m/s)
Time to altitude
10,000 ft (3,000 m) in high gear supercharger 3.9 minutes
34.4 lb/sq ft (168 kg/m2)
(Normal loaded weight)
6.2 lb/hp (3.77 kg/kW)
Take-off to 50 ft (15 m)
500 yd (460 m)
4x .50 cal M2 Browning machineguns in the wings with 600 rpg
4x 37 mm (1.457 in) cannon mounted in the inner wings (proposed)