In the early years following the war, jet engines underwent rapid development. This attracted the interest of the US Navy, which sought to arm itself with aircraft that were superior to that of potential opponents in speed, altitude, payload, and flight range.
As it turned out, jet engines were perfect for fighter aircraft but too “voracious” for strike aircraft, as they significantly reduced their range. The best engineering solution was to introduce the turboprop engine, which was a task the Douglas company undertook.
Initially, engineers simply wanted to replace the piston engine of the Skyraider attack aircraft with a turboprop engine. However, this led nowhere and the vehicle required significant modification. In the end, the engineers settled on a prototype with Allison Т-40А-2 turboprop engines and coaxial propellers.
The first flight of the XA2D-1 prototype, called the Skyshark, took place on May 26, 1950, but engine vibration nearly destroyed the aircraft and it was forced to land after only two minutes. By December 1950, the prototype had already completed over a dozen flights. However, a routine flight on December 19, 1950, ended in tragedy. Due to issues with the engine, the vehicle and pilot crashed. Nevertheless, testing continued and, despite the many technical problems that plagued the aircraft, the army ordered 10 pre-production models of the A2D-1. However, on August 5, 1954, another accident occurred when the main gearbox failed, and the aircraft crashed a short distance outside Los Angeles. This time, the pilot managed to escape the aircraft, but the project was closed and it was decided to dismantle any existing prototypes. Apparently, this decision was influenced by the fact that in the same year for the first time Douglas got another project in the air, this later became the famous A4D Skyhawk - a new generation of jets.