Friday, March 25, 2022

Douglas A3D Skywarrrior and B-66 Destroyer Differences

 The U.S. Navy's A3D Skywarrior and USAF B-66 Destroyer are very similar airplanes from the same manufacturer, Douglas, initially with very similar missions, medium-range bomber. They look very much the same to the casual observer in a dim light. Some of the differences were necessary but not obvious: the carrier-based Skywarrior had to have folding wings, an arresting hook, and catapult hooks for starters. In fact, however, it's far easier to list what didn't change between the A3D and the subsequent B-66. For all practical purposes, you could say that the B-66 had the same basic overall shape as the A3D except that is, for the forward fuselage and the inboard wing trailing edge. And possibly the wing tips.

For one thing, they had different engines as evidenced by the different engine nacelles. Douglas was lucky to get in line early for deliveries of the new, USAF-funded P&W J57 when the Navy's Westinghouse J40 disappointed. J57 production was all but oversubscribed when the Air Force ordered the B-66 from Douglas so it was saddled with the Allison J71, which had about the same performance but was somewhat inferior in other respects to the J57, as evidenced by the much shorter list of airplanes powered by it.

This is a graphic depicting the most notable external features of the A3D that differentiate it from the B-66:

This one depicts the most notable features of the B-66 that differentiate it from the A3D:

In addition to those details, the two had different radars, bombing/navigation systems, tail-gun turrets, landing gear, wing incidence, inflight refueling probe locations, etc. 

I plan to create a post on one of my aircraft modeler oriented blogs that illustrate the differences in more detail.

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