Powered by an Allison V-12 engine equipped with a single stage supercharger, the A-36 Apache was essentially an early model P-51 Mustang fitted with two dive brakes on each wing. Other modifications to the airframe included strengthening of the wings, movement of the bomb racks closer to the main landing gear for less wing “flexing” while the plane was taxiing, and the installation of small vent windows in the windscreen side panels. In addition, two Browning M2 .50 caliber machine guns were mounted in each wing, and two more .50 cal. guns were mounted in the lower nose to fire through the propeller. Naturally, the A-36 inherited the Mustang’s clean aerodynamics; but why did North American turn the P-51 into a dive-bomber? To answer this question, we must look at the Mustang’s origins.
The rest is at the link below but first a gratuitous picture.......................................
|The A-36 Apache dove at speeds approaching 500 mph, and|
during one test, an airplane lost its wings during a dive.