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Northrop BT

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Type Dive bomber
Manufacturer Northrop
Designed by Ed Heinemann
Maiden flight 19 August 1935
Primary user U.S. Navy
Number built 55
Variants SBD Dauntless

The Northrop BT was a two seat, single engine, monoplane, dive bomber built by the Northrop Corporation for the US Navy. At the time Northrop was a subsidiary of the Douglas Aircraft Company. The design of the initial version began in 1935. A 700 hp Pratt and Whitney XR-1535-66 Twin Wasp Jr. double row, radial air-cooled engine powered the aircraft. The aircraft had slotted flaps and a landing gear that partially retracted.

The next iteration of the BT, designated the XBT-1 was equipped with a 750 hp R-1535 engine. This aircraft was followed in 1936 by the BT-1 that was powered by an 825 hp Pratt and Whitney R-1535-94 engine. One of the BT-1 aircraft was modified with a fixed tricycle landing gear and was the first such aircraft to land on an aircraft carrier.

The next version, the XBT-2, was a BT-1 aircraft modified to incorporate a fully retracting landing gear, wing slots, a re-designed canopy, and was powered by an 800 hp Wright XR-1820-32 radial air-cooled engine. The XBT-2 first flew on 25 April 1938 and became the prototype for the Douglas SBD-1.

Specifications (BT-1)

General characteristics

  • Crew: two: pilot, gunner
  • Length: 9.5 m (31 ft 3 in)
  • Wingspan: 12.7 m (41 ft 6 in)
  • Height: 3.81 m (12.5 ft )
  • Wing area: 29.63 m² (134.5 sq ft)
  • Empty: 2029 kg (4464 lb)
  • Maximum takeoff: 3209 kg (7060 lb)
  • Powerplant: one, Pratt and Whitney R-1535-94 Twin Wasp Jr. double row radial air-cooled engine, 615 kW (825 hp)


  • Maximum speed: 357 km/h (222 mph)
  • Cruise speed: 309 km/h (192 mph)
  • Range: 1,850 km (2,979 miles)
  • Service ceiling: 7,710 m (25,300 ft)
  • Rate of climb: m/min (ft/min)
  • Wing loading: kg/m² ( lb/ft²)
  • Power/mass:


  • one 12.7 mm machine gun
  • one 7.62 mm machine gun
  • 454 kg (1,000 lb) bombs on external wing racks


Related content

Related development

Comparable aircraft

Designation sequence
BT - B2T Related lists

See also

ja:BT (航空機)