Douglas 8A-2 for Argentina

Last revised July 8, 2000

The Douglas Model 8A-2 was an export version of the fixed-undercarriage A-17 intended for the Fuerza Aerea Argentina. Test pilot Eddie Allen had demonstrated the Northrop Model 5B in Buenos Aires in 1935, and 30 Model 8A-2s were ordered. They were built and shipped to Argentina in 1938.

The Model 8A-2 was powered by the 840 hp Wright R-1820-G3 radial, and was armed with two 12.7 and two 7.6-mm wing-mounted machine guns and one flexible rear-firing 7.6-mm machine gun. The Model 8A-2 was fitted with a partially-retractable bomb-aiming tub underneath the rear cockpit. Company numbers were 348 to 377. FAA serials were A-401 throu A-430 (later O-401 through O-430).

The Model 8A-2s were operated by the Fuerza Aerea Argentina's Regimiento de Ataque No 2, first from El Palomar and then from El Plumerillo. The Model 8A-2s were eventually replaced by the indigenous I.Ae.24 Calquin twin-engined bomber. Surviving examples were transferred to El Palomar, near Buenos Aires, where they were operated as advanced trainers until 1955.

Specification of Douglas DB-8A-2:

Engine: One 840 hp Wright R-1820-G3 air-cooled radial. Performance: Maximum speed 223 mph at 8700 feet. Cruising speed 200 mph. Landing speed 65 mph. Initial climb rate 1300 feet per minute. Service ceiling 25,400 feet. Maximum range 1190 miles. Dimensions: Wingspan 47 feet 9 inches, Length 31 feet 6 inches, Height 12 feet 4 inches, Wing area 363 square feet. Weights: 4899 pounds empty, 7500 pounds loaded. Armament: Two 12.7 and two 7.6-mm wing-mounted machine guns and one flexible rear-firing 7.6-mm machine gun. Normal bomb load was 20 internally-carried 30-pound fragmentation bombs and four external 100-pound bombs. Maxim bombload was 1200 pounds.


  1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982.

  2. McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Since 1920, Volume I, Rene J. Francillon, Naval Institue Press, 1988.

  3. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.

  4. Northrop's Connection--The Unsung A-17 Attack Aircraft and its Legacy, Part 2, Alain J. Pelletier, Air Enthusiast, September/October 1998, No. 77.