No. 7461. North American NA-97 A-36A Apache (42-83671 c/n 97-15889) US Army Air Forces
Photographed from USAF
Aeroplane Photo Supply (APS) Photo No. 2500

North American NA-97 A-36A Apache

02/28/2008. Remarks by Jack McKillop: "In 1940, the British Purchasing Commission approached Curtiss Aircraft with a request to purchase P-40s but Curtiss had a backlog of American contracts and could not deliver them in the time frame the British wanted. The British then turned to North American who agreed to design and build a fighter aircraft in 120-days; the result was the NA-73 Mustang.

The USAAF showed interest in this aircraft and received two examples of the Mustang but the Air Forces budget for fighter aircraft had already been committed and none could be ordered. A sharp-eyed Air Forces general realized that there was money in the budget to purchase attack aircraft and a contract for 500 A-36A-1-NAs was signed on August 7, 1942.

Originally named 'Invader', these aircraft were later named 'Apache' and eventually they were called 'Mustangs'. The two units that used the A-36s were the 27th and 86th Fighter-Bomber Groups of the Twelfth Air Force in Italy. The 27th operated the A-36 from April 1943 to June 1944 while the 86th operated the A-36 from June 1943 to June 1944."

Created February 28, 2008