A carrier-based dive-bomber/reconnaissance aircraft.
The most well-known U.S. Navy bomber, and perhaps the most significant dive-bomber of the war. Despite the fact that the decision to write off the SBD as outdated was made before the war, the bomber was still actively involved in combat, and in 1942 it sunk more enemy ships than all other Navy aircraft combined.
Originally, the series was called the XBT, and showed as many innovations as it did drawbacks. This aircraft had a revolutionary honeycomb wing structure and a reasonably small fuselage. But its wings could not be folded, and occasionally it would spontaneously go into a barrel roll, which caused a series of catastrophic accidents. After intensive research in conjunction with NASA, the dive-bomber was radically redesigned, most of its shortcomings were removed, and it was named the Scout Bomber.
The SBD-3 variant was a Scout Bomber which was finally fit for combat. It had self-sealing fuel tanks, armor, and bulletproof cockpit glass. To keep its performance characteristics, the aircraft’s weight was reduced by replacing its duralumin sheeting with a much lighter material. Also, all equipment designed to keep the plane afloat in the event of a water landing was removed.
Soldiers dubbed the SBD the “Slow But Deadly”. This aircraft destroyed the pride of the Japanese carrier force at the Battle of Midway, inflicting damage from which the Japanese Imperial Navy was never able to recover.