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The Douglas DT bomber was the company's first military contract, forging a link between the Douglas Aircraft Company and the Navy. Navy Contract No. 53305 of April 1, 1921, required only 18 pages to set out the specifications that resulted in the purchase of three DT (D for Douglas, T for torpedo) folding-wing aircraft.
The DT used a welded-steel fuselage with aluminum covering the forward and center sections and fabric covering the rear section. Douglas built 46 DT-1 and DT-2 torpedo bombers for the U.S. Navy, Norwegian Navy, and Peruvian Navy. 20 DT-2 aircraft were built under license by Lowe-Willard-Fowler Engineering Company, 6 by the Naval Aircraft Factory, and 11 by Dayton Wright Company. Another 7 were built for Norway under license by Marinens Flyvebåtfabrik. The DT could be fitted either with pontoons or wheeled landing gear and could carry a 1,800-pound torpedo.
First flight was in November 1921 and production continued until 1929. The DT operated off the U.S. Navy's first aircraft carrier, USS Langley, from land bases, and from seaplane tenders. Several were flown by the U.S. Marine Corps.
Variations of the DT-2 aircraft were designated DT-4, DT-5, DT-6, DTB, and SDW-1. The type became the basis for the Douglas World Cruiser.
- Crew: 2
- Length: 37 ft 8 in (11.5 m)
- Wingspan: 50 ft 0 in (15.8 m)
- Height: 15 ft 1 in (4.6 m)
- Wing area: 707 ft² (65.7 m²)
- Empty: 4,528 lb (2,054 kg)
- Loaded: 7,293 lb (3,308 kg)
- Powerplant: Liberty of 450 hp (336 kW)
- Maximum speed: 99.5 mph (160 km/h)
- Range: 274 miles (441 km)
- Service ceiling: 7,400 ft (2,255 m)
- Rate of climb: 14.5 min to 5,000 ft (1,524 m)
- Wing loading: 10.3 lb/ft² (50.4 kg/m²)
- Power loading: 16.2 lb/hp (9.92 kg/kW)
- René Francillon, "McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Since 1920: Volume I", ISBN 0-87021-428-4