The Douglas A-26 Invader was a light bomber used by the United States and its allies during World War II.
The A-26 was designed by Ed Heinemann as a replacement for the A-20 Havoc in response to a USAAF requirement for a twin engine high-performance bomber set in 1940. Three prototypes were ordered in 1941 and designated XA-26. The first of these made its initial flight on July 10, 1942, and the design entered service in 1943.
The Invader's first sortie occurred on June 23, 1944 with the Fifth Air Force over New Guinea. It was one of the fastest Allied attack aircraft in service at the time, and flew combat missions over Okinawa, Taiwan, and the Japanese home islands. The A-26 was also used in Europe by the Ninth and Twelfth Air Forces as well as Great Britain, flying over 11,000 missions. They were used for reconnaissance and interdiction, and were even credited with a probable Me 262 kill. It served through the end of the war, and continued to see use the 1970s by various countries.
The main variant of the Invader was the A-26B, which had ten machine guns mounted under the wings and a solid nose. This was used for bombing and ground attack, and 1,355 were built. The A-26C was a dedicated bomber variant with a glass nose and just two machine guns, of which 1,091 were produced. An experimental nigh fighter version called the XA-26A was tested but never went into full service or production.
- Powerplant: two Pratt & Whitney R-2800-27 Double Wasp engines
- Top speed: 355 mph
- Range: 1,400 miles
- Ceiling: 22,100 feet
- Crew: 3
- Empty weight: 22,370 lbs
- Length: 50 ft
- Height: 18 ft 6 in
- Wingspan: 70 ft
- Armament: ten 12.7 mm machine guns, 6,000 lbs of bombs, eight 5 inch rockets