Unofficially named the "Invader," the A-36A Apache dive bomber was the first U.S. Army Air Forces version of the Mustang (the Mustang was officially developed for Britain in 1940). The first A-36 flew in September 1942, and North American completed production of 500 A-36As in March 1943.
Assigned to the 27th and 86th Bombardment Groups (Dive), the A-36A first saw action against the the island of Pantelleria in June 1943. During the Italian campaign, A-36A pilots flew bomber escort and strafing missions as well as ground support bombing attacks. A-36As also served with the 311th Fighter Bomber Group in India. In 1944 bomb rack equipped P-51s and P-47s replaced the A-36A when experience showed that these high-altitude fighters were more suitable for low-level missions than the A-36As.
The aircraft on display was obtained from Charles P. Doyle of Rosemount, Minn., in 1971. Restored by the 148th Fighter-Interceptor Group, Minnesota Air National Guard, it is painted as the A-36A flown by Capt. Lawrence Dye, 522nd Fighter-Bomber Squadron, in Tunisia, Sicily and Italy.
TECHNICAL NOTES: Armament: Six .50-cal. machine guns; 1,000 lbs of bombs externally Engine:Allison V-1710 of 1,325 hp Maximum speed: 365 mph Cruising speed: 250 mph Range: 550 miles Ceiling: 25,100 ft. Span: 37 ft. Length: 32 ft. 3 in. Height: 12 ft. 2 in. Weight: 10,000 lbs. loaded Serial number: 42-83665