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United States' North American A-36 Apache dive bomber


  • North American A-36 Apache
  • North American A-36A Apache



The British Purchasing Commission asked North American to build a licensed version of the Curtiss H87A (P-40E) in April 1940. The President of North American, J. H. "Dutch" Kindelberger, suggested that he could build a new plane around the Allison V-1710 engine. This design became the NA-73.

After the initial order for the planes was placed by the British, the United States took two of the aircraft, named the XP-51, and had them tested at Wright Field in August 1941.

The United States Army issued a requirement for a XA-32 that became the A-36A, in 1942. 500 of these were ordered.

In 1942 the Army diverted from Lend Lease 55 Mustang IAs and these became the P-51.

Dive Bombing Effectiveness

Many were skeptical of the A-36As ability to dive bomb accurately with a dive speed of 390 mph.

Nick Name

Initially the A-36s were nicknamed the Apache and then the Invader, but reporters always called them Mustangs.


On October 26, 1940 the NA-73 prototype first flew.


Great Britain placed an order for 320 A-36s in May 1940. This was later increased to 620.

  • North American A-36A: 148 initially ordered, 500
    • Delivered: September 1942 and March 1943, October 1942 - March 1943
    • Manufacturer: North American Aviation Inc.
    • Manufacturing location: Inglewood, California


  • Mustang I: Two .50 cal machines guns in nose, two .50 cal machine guns and four .30 cal machine guns in the wings.
  • Mustang IA: Four 20 mm Hispano cannons in the wings. Used Allison V-1710-81 engine.
  • North American A-36A: Dive bomber, ground attack. Had wing bomb shackles. Had four machine guns / 20 mm cannons in the wings. There were dive brakes in the wings.


United States' Initial Use

The USAAC initially ordered 50 aircraft to be used for reconnaissance. Later 500 A-36As were ordered as dive bombers.

In April 1943 A-36As with the 27th Fighter Bomber Group of the 12th Air Force flew missions against Rasel Ma in French Morocco. In June 1943 the same A-36As took part in missions against Pantelleria.

In India the 311th Fighter Bomber Group of the 10th Air Force were equipped with the A-36As.


23,373 combat missions were flown by the A-36As. 8,014 tons of bombs were dropped.



  North American A-36
Type Ground attack
Crew 1
Wings 6: 0.5" MG
Bombs 2: 1,000 lb
2: 454 kg
  North American A-36A
Type Dive bomber
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Allison V-1710-87
Cylinders V 12
Cooling Water
HP 1,323
Propeller blades 3 constant speed
Span 37'
Length 32' 3"
Wing area 233'2
Empty 6,630 lb
Loaded 8,370 lb
Speed @ 5,000' 366 mph
Cruising speed 250 mph
Service Ceiling 25,100'
Range - loaded 550 miles
Range - max 2,300 miles
Nose 2: .50 cal MG
Wings 4: .50 cal MG
Bombs 1,000 lb


  1. American Attack Aircraft Since 1926, E. R. Johnson, 2012
  2. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  3. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, General Editor Chris Bishop, 1998
  4. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  5. World War II Airplanes Volume 2, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  6. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site