by Tommy H. Thomason

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Mid-Life A3D-2 Bomber Configuration

The Douglas A3D-2 Skywarrior was in service for a long time. Even after it was no longer being deployed as either a Bomber or a Version, it served on as a airborne testbed for several different programs.

The mid-life A3D-2 looked something like this:

The pretty much useless 20mm tail guns had been replaced by the "dove" tail with Defensive Electronic Counter Measures (DECM) capability. Provisions for a refueling package in the aft end of the bomb bay had been added (it could still drop bombs). The JATO bottle attach points had not yet been taped over (and are not provided on the Trumpeter kit). Small fairings for DECM antennas had been added to either side of the nose landing gear well and another added on the landing gear door itself. However, the airplanes retained the original nose. This particular A3D does not have the inflight refueling probe but it would have had provisions for it.

The addition of the dove tail required a cooling inlet to be added to the leading edge of the vertical fin.

This is a picture of either brand new or fresh from overhaul A3D-2s.
Note the antenna fairing on the nose gear door and the one beside the nose gear well (there was also one on the other side). The sextant installation has been made semi-permanent over the aft-facing seat with the addition of framing and a clear bubble in the left rear area of the canopy. In this case the bubble has a protective cover. Note also that the wheel brakes are pretty much flush with the hub, which was a Bomber characteristic. (See Another detail associated with the Bomber are the two Air Turbine Motor outlets on the side of the fuselage.

There were detail variations even on the same deployment.
The A3D-2 on the left has a black anti-glare area and the radome is mostly gray/white with a black neoprene cap for erosion protection. The DECM antennas are not all black. (Note also the fairing for the bombardier's periscope has been swung back to its aft position, exposing the periscope bubble.)

The A3D-2 on the right has a dark gull gray anti-glare area and the radome and DECM antenna fairings are all black. Another possible difference in the painting of these mid-life aircraft is the change to a white rudder. They were originally gray when the gray/white scheme was introduced.

Whether or not the airplanes had the cambered leading edge or original wing or the big or small fuel vent was strictly dependent on its Bureau Number. See

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