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Posted 12/31/2008 Printable Fact Sheet

Production of the A-17A ended in 1937 and during 1938, the Army Air Corps determined that all future attack aircraft procured would be multi-engine models. This decision was reversed during the war because of the urgent need for all types of aircraft and because of the success of the (single-engine) German dive bombers during the early blitzkrieg campaigns. However, in 1939 while the single engine attack plane was still out of favor with the Air Corps, the Douglas Aircraft Co. became interested in the A-17A design for potential update and sales in the export market. A license for the design was signed and Douglas engineers updated the basic aircraft primarily by installing a more powerful engine. The Pratt & Whitney R-1535 with 825 hp was replaced by a Wright R-1820 with 1,200 hp. The top speed rose to 265 mph and the maximum bomb load was increased to 1,800 pounds.

The updated design was designated Model 8A by Douglas and an export order for 34 aircraft (Model 8A-5P) was signed with Peru. With the beginning of World War II, the Army Air Corps repossessed 31 of these aircraft and re-designated them A-33. These aircraft were used early in the war for secondary missions like training, liaison and target tug.

Type Number built/
A-33 31 Repossessed Douglas 8A-5

Armament: Four fixed .30-cal. machine guns; two flexible .30-cal. Browning machine gun; up to 1,800 lbs. of bombs
Engine: Wright R-1820-87 Cyclone radial of 1,200 hp
Maximum speed: 265 mph
Cruising speed: 200 mph
Range: 910 statute miles
Service ceiling: 32,000 ft.
Span: 47 ft. 8.7 in.
Length: 32 ft. 5 in.
Height: 9 ft. 9 in.
Weight: 8,950 lbs. gross take off weight
Crew: Two (pilot and observer/rear gunner)
Serial numbers: 42-13584 to 42-13601; 42-109007 to 42-109019 

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