lauantai 11. heinäkuuta 2015

Curtiss A-12 Shrike

The Curtiss A-12 Shrike was the United States Army Air Corps' second monoplane ground-attack aircraft, and its main attack aircraft through most of the 1930s. It was based on the A-8, but had a radial engine instead of the A-8's inline, water-cooled engine, as well as other changes.
Formation of Curtiss A-12 Shrikes during exercises near Wheeler Field, Oahu, Hawaii.
The Model 60 was developed from advancements of the A-8 and the experimental YA-10. However, it became obsolete after a short use period, mainly because of fast-improving aviation technology, as well as the USAAC's desire for multi-engined attack aircraft.
The most obvious difference between the A-12 and the A-8 is the air-cooled, radial engine in the A-12, which replaced the A-8's inline, water-cooled engine. This was a response to the USAAC's move toward a preference for radial engines, especially in attack aircraft. The rationale behind this preference is that the radial engine has a lower profile, making it less vulnerable to ground fire, and a simpler cooling mechanism, which is also less prone to groundfire, as well as overall maintenance problems.
These aircraft retained the open cockpit introduced in the A-8 production batch, and carried the same weapons load. In an attempt to improve pilot/observer co-operation, the rear cockpit was moved forward sufficiently for its glazed covering to form a continuation of the fuselage decking behind the pilot's cockpit.

Nine USAAF A-12s were still in service at Hickam Field on 7 December 1941, but they saw no combat.
A-12s served with the 3rd Attack Group plus the 8th and 18th Pursuit Groups. Surviving Shrikes were grounded just after Pearl Harbor was bombed in December 1941.
Chinese Nationalist Air Force received 20 A-12 Shrikes in 1936, arming the 27th and the 28th Squadron of the 9th Group. When full-scale war broke out between Japan and China, they were used. The initial success including the downing of four Japanese Aichi D1A1 carrier-based dive bombers on 15 August 1937. However, after deploying in ground support missions in Shanxi, most did not survive and the few left were reassigned to training duties.

Specifications: A-12 Shrike
Crew: 2
Length: 9.83 m
Wingspan: 13.41 m
Height: 2.84 m
Wing area: 26.38 m²
Empty weight: 1,768 kg
Max. takeoff weight: 2,611 kg
Powerplant: 1 × Wright R-1820 "Cyclone" 9-cylinder air-cooled radial engine, 690 hp (515 kW)
Maximum speed: 285 km/h
Range: 838 km
Service ceiling: 4,620 m
Armament: 4 × forward-firing 7.62 mm mg + 1 × aft-firing 7.62 mm mg
Bombs:4 × 55 kg bombs on underwing racks or 10 x 13.6 kg fragmentation bombs in chutes on either side of the main fuel tank

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