Douglas BTD Destroyer


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Douglas BTD Destroyer

Early service use of the Douglas SBD Dauntless had convinced the US Navy of its capability as a dive-bomber: its later wartime record, in such actions as the Battle of the Coral Sea (May 1942) and the Battle of Midway (June 1942), merely provided confirmation. Long before that date, however, the US Navy had initiated the procurement of a more advanced dive-bomber, leading to the development by Douglas of a two-seat aircraft in this category, of which two prototypes were ordered by the US Navy in June 1941.


Designated Douglas XSB2D-1 Destroyer, the first prototype made its initial flight on 8 April 1943. But instead of being ordered into production, it was used as the basis of a new aircraft which the cut-and-thrust of war in the Pacific had shown to be more essential. As the XSB2D-1, the prototype was a clean and purposeful-looking two-seat dive-bomber, introducing an internal bomb bay and, for the first time for an aircraft to operate from an aircraft-carrier, retractable tricycle landing gear. The US Navy's new requirement was for a single-seat torpedo/dive-bomber, and the XSB2D-1 was modified for this new role by conversion to a single-seat cockpit, the addition of two wing-mounted 20mm cannon, enlargement of the bomb bay and the provision of increased fuel capacity. Airbrakes were installed in each side of the fuselage, and the big Wright Cyclone 18 engine of the XSB2D-1 was retained to give the requisite high performance.

A contract on 31 August 1943 increased earlier orders for this aircraft, designated BTD-1 and retaining the name Destroyer, to 358. Deliveries of production aircraft began in June 1944, but only 28 had been delivered before contract cancellation was initiated soon after VJ-Day. The Destroyer's performance was disappointing and, so far as is known, the type was not used operationally. Two aircraft were provided experimentally with a mixed powerplant, a 680kg thrust Westinghouse WE-19XA turbojet being fitted in the rear fuselage and fed with air through a dorsal inlet aft of the cockpit. Thus designated XBTD-2, the aircraft were the first jet-powered machines of Douglas and the US Navy. A first flight was made in May 1945, but at speeds over 322km/h the downward-angled turbojet could not be used. The project was cancelled in late 1945.

Douglas BTD DestroyerA three-view drawing (800 x 545)

 ENGINE1 x Wright R-3350-14 Cyclone 18 radial piston engine, 1715kW
  Take-off weight8618 kg19000 lb
  Empty weight5244 kg11561 lb
  Wingspan13.72 m45 ft 0 in
  Length11.76 m39 ft 7 in
  Height5.05 m17 ft 7 in
  Wing area34.65 m2372.97 sq ft
  Max. speed554 km/h344 mph
  Ceiling7195 m23600 ft
  Range2382 km1480 miles
 ARMAMENT2 x 20mm cannon, one torpedo or 1450kg of bombs

Douglas BTD Destroyer

Paul Christiansen, e-mail, 01.12.2017 22:32

Does anyone have photos of the XBTD-2 with a Westinghouse 19A or 19B engine installed for flight tests?
If so, please contact me.


Phil Gilliland, e-mail, 20.03.2016 02:46

The BTD-1 is now located at the Hixson Flight Museum in Rome Georgia.


deaftom, e-mail, 03.04.2011 06:06

Is this the same aircraft (the prototype XBT2D-1) that used to be displayed at the now-closed Florence Air Museum in Florence, South Carolina? I always wondered what became of that unique aircraft.


Pat Robinson, e-mail, 07.01.2011 16:42

With the closing of the W.O.E. Center, what is the status and plans for the BTD-1?


Al Cole, e-mail, 19.09.2010 22:33

Last surviving BTD-1 is located at the WINGS OF EAGLES museum located in Elmira NY.

I spent six years restoring it. It still needs lots of work but is far better than when we got it.


Aram Sweeney, e-mail, 26.06.2008 07:28

Hi I've been trying to get some more specific measurements on the BTD as I'd like to create a radio controled scale model replica of the aircraft. if you have more detailed measurements or know of where I could find some I would very apreciative and when I finish the model would be happy to send you some photos' if your at all interested.


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