A-26/B-26 Invader Light Bomber

Historical Snapshot

The Douglas A-26/B-26 bomber was the only American bomber to fly missions in three wars. After World War II, it served as a first-line bomber during the Korean War and during the Vietnam War. Douglas started the A-26 in 1941 to follow the A-20/DB-7 Havoc bomber.

Douglas built 2,503 A-26/B-26 Invaders. During production, a number of modifications were progressively introduced so that by 1948, the A-26 was one of the few wartime aircraft types still in service with the post-war U.S. Air Force. When the famous Martin B-26 Marauder retired and the Air Force deleted the designation "A" (for attack category), the Douglas Invader took on the B-26 designation.

Invader versions included the A-26D and A-26E light bombers, GA-26C ground training aircraft and the KA-26A tanker. Some A/B-26s were equipped for photo reconnaissance, and during the 1960s, some surplus B-26s were used to tow targets. The last U.S. military Invader was retired in 1972 and donated to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.

Technical Specifications

First flight July 10, 1942
Wingspan 70 feet
Length 50 feet
Height 18 feet 6 inches
Ceiling 22,100 feet
Range 1,400 miles
Weight 35,000 pounds
Power plant Two 2,000-horsepower P&W R-2800-27 engines
Speed 355 mph
Accommodation Three crew
Armament Eight .50-caliber machine guns, 14 5-inch rockets and 5,000-pound bomb load