North American XA2J-1 Super Savage

Last revised December 23, 2001

The North American XA2J-1 Super Savage (company designation Model NA-163) was a proposed replacement for the AJ Savage. It has much the same general layout as the AJ Savage, with a high-mounted straight wing and a crew housed under a single canopy. However, it was powered by a pair of Allison T40-A-6 turboprop engines, each driving a pair of three-bladed contra-rotating propellers. The power of the engines was rated at 5035 shp, significantly greater than that available from the R-2800 piston engines of the AJ-1. Consequently, the auxiliary jet engine of the AJ Savage was omitted on the XA2J-1. The rear fuselage was extensively redesigned, with a very large swept-back vertical stabilizer.

Unlike the AJ Savage, the XA2J-1 Super Savage was to have been fitted with defensive armament, a pair of remotely-controlled, radar- directed 20-mm cannon installed in the extreme tail. This armament was, in fact, never actually fitted.

Work on the A2J project began in October of 1948, quite soon after the first AJ-1 itself had flown.  Two prototype XA2J-1s were ordered (BuNo 124439 and 124440). The first one took off on its maiden flight on January 4, 1952. Unfortunately, the XA2J-1 proved to be too heavy for the available power, and the performance was less than satisfactory. In addition, the T40 coupled turboprop had numerous problems and was a thoroughly unreliable powerplant and caused the failure of several other turboprop-powered designs of the era.  Pure jet-powered aircraft such as the Douglas A3D Skywarrior seemed to be the wave of the future for carrier-based strategic bombers, and, consequently, the XA2J-1 program was abandoned after only a few test flights, and the second prototype never flew.

Serial Numbers of North American XA2J-1 Super Savage

124439/124440		North American XA2J-1
				c/n 163-1/2

Specification of North American XA2J-1 Super Savage

Engine: Two Allison T40-A-6 turboprops, each rated at 5035 shp plus 1225 pounds of residual thrust. Performance: Maximum speed 451 mph at 24,000 feet, cruising speed 400 mph. Initial climb rate 6820 feet per minute. Service ceiling 37,500 feet. Range 2180 miles with 8000 pound bombload. Weights: 35,350 pounds empty, 46,890 pounds gross, 61,200 pounds maximum. Dimensions: Wingspan 71 feet 6 inches, length 70 feet 2 1/2 inches, height 24 feet 2 inches, wing area 836 square feet. Armament: 10,500 pound maximum bombload. A defensive armament of two 20-mm cannon was to have been fitted in the extreme tail.


  1. American Combat Planes, 3rd Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982.

  2. North American Aircraft 1934-1999, Volume 2, Kevin Thompson, Narkiewicz//Thompson, 1999.