The Douglas B-18A was an improved version of the B-18. The most obvious change to the A model was the addition of the "Shark Nose," which placed the bombardier's station ahead and above the nose gunner position. The dorsal power turret was modified by adding a dome top, which provided limited viewing even when the turret was in its retracted position.
A total of 217 B-18As were purchased by the Air Corps in 1937-1939 with the majority (177) ordered in 1937. The B-18s formed the bulk of the bomber force into the late 1930s and early 1940s. The B-18 was underpowered and had poor defensive armament (three .30-cal. machine guns) and by early 1942, the aircraft was relegated to second-line duties as newer and better bombers assumed first-line bomber duty.
TECHNICAL NOTES: Armament: Three .30-cal. machine guns and 4,500 lbs. of bombs Engines: Two Wright R-1820-53 radials of 1,000 hp each Maximum speed: 215 mph at 15,000 ft. Cruising speed: 167 mph Service ceiling: 23,900 ft. Range: 2,100 miles maximum Span: 89 ft. 6 in. Length: 57 ft. 10 in. Height: 15 ft. 2 in. Weight: 27,000 lbs. gross weight Crew: Six Serial numbers: 37-458 to 37-634; 38-585 to 38-609; 39-12 to 39-26