After completion of service testing, the Y1A-18s were assigned to operational attack groups and re-designated A-18. The aircraft were initially sent to the 3rd Attack Group at Barksdale Field, La. The A-18 was only used for a short time before being replaced by more advanced attack aircraft. The A-18 was out of service before World War II started and was never used in combat.
In the years leading up to WWII, the Air Corps was interested in attack aircraft capable of carrying larger bomb loads with greater firepower. The A-18 had only five .30-cal. machine guns, including a flexible mount gun for the gunner/observer. The observer/gunner position was eliminated during the late 1930s in Air Corps aircraft. Newer aircraft had gunners in turrets or at aft fuselage stations (waist, tail, belly, etc.). The .30-cal. machine gun was generally replaced by the .50-cal. machine gun on new style aircraft.
The attack aircraft design standard essentially became a light bomber with firepower only slightly less than the medium bombers being developed (B-25 and B-26). The Douglas A-20 was the first of this new style of design. Developed in the late 1930s, the A-20 was the first of the larger attack aircraft used by the Air Corps throughout WWII.
TECHNICAL NOTES: Armament: Four forward-firing .30-cal. machine guns and one flexible .30-cal. machine gun for the rear gunner, plus 600 lbs. (20x30 lbs.) of bombs carried internally Engines: Two Wright R-1820-47 Cyclone radial of 875 hp Maximum speed: 247 mph Cruising speed: 217 mph Range: 650 statute miles Service ceiling: 25,000 ft. Span: 59 ft. 6 in. Length: 41 ft. 0 in. Height: 11 ft. 6 in. Weight: 12,849 lbs. gross takeoff weight Crew: Two (pilot and observer/gunner) Serial numbers: 37-52 and 37-64; Curtiss Model 76A