24 May 2019

Douglas A2D-1 Skyshark: Wyvern to the Max!

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The Douglas A2D-1 Skyshark was created as part of a concept to replace the piston-engine AD-1 Skyraider with a more modern and powerful turboprop model.

Briefly: The Skyshark will suit fans of the attack aircraft, particularly those familiar with the Skyraider models. The same excellent vehicle but with even better dynamics and firepower.

History

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.

A2D-1 Skyshark. Fighter-attacker, USA, rank IV. Premium.

Pros:

  • Powerful turboprop engines
  • Impressive load
  • Premium bonuses

Cons:

  • Still slower than some jet fighters it may counter
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Despite the fact that the Douglas A2D-1 Skyshark never made it into mass production in reality, players will have the opportunity to experience this “Shark” in combat in the 1.89 update.

Fun fact:  There is a large fuel tank behind the cockpit with hot engine exhaust pipes running under it, so attention was paid to the insulation and fire-extinguishing equipment. In the event the tank were to take damage, the engineers provided a special drainage system that drained the fuel spilling it into the fuselage cavity to flow overboard.

Externally, the aircraft looks large and clunky. However, it’s a deceptive misconception. Twin turboprop engines provide 5,500 horsepower, allowing the vehicle to reach speeds of about 800 km/h near the ground and more than 770 km/h at medium altitudes. To harness this power and eliminate the harmful effects of torque on the aircraft, it was decided to use counter-rotating propellers.

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Naturally, the turboprop engine increased the combat capabilities of the aircraft. The Skyshark is equipped with four 20mm AN-M3 cannons mounted in the wing panels, each loaded with 200 rounds of ammunition. It is also capable of carrying HVAR rockets, torpedoes, and bombs weighing 500 to 2,000 pounds. Rocket fans will especially appreciate the ability to suspend 20 HVARs in one load.

The engineers also considered defence: the cockpit, fuel tank, and the lower engine are covered in armoured sheets up to 10 mm thick.  Overall, this aircraft is like an upgraded version of the Skyraider AD-4, so mastering it will be a simple and straightforward process.

The Douglas A2D-1 Skyshark will be the first American aircraft in the game with a contra-rotating propeller and a turboprop engine. It will be a rank IV premium US aircraft. After 1.89 “Imperial Navy”, the Wyvern will no longer be the only aircraft to strike fear into the hearts of ground forces hearing its sound.


The War Thunder Team

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