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FD-25 Defender
Role Counter-Insurgency aircraft
Manufacturer Fletcher
Designer John Thorp
First flight 1953
Primary users Royal Cambodian Air Force
South Vietnamese Air Force
Number built 13

The Fletcher FD-25 Defender was a light ground-attack aircraft developed in the United States in the early 1950s.

Design and development[edit | edit source]

The Defender was a conventional low-wing cantilever monoplane with fixed tailwheel undercarriage. Provision was made for two machine guns in the wings, plus disposable stores carried on underwing pylons. Construction throughout was all-metal, and the pilot sat under a wide perspex canopy.

Operational history[edit | edit source]

Three prototypes were built, two single-seaters and a two-seater, but no orders were placed by the US military. In Japan, however, Toyo acquired the rights to the design, and built around a dozen aircraft, selling seven (three single-seater attack versions and three two seat trainer) to Cambodia,[1] and four to Vietnam. One example remains extant and in an airworthy condition today, and appeared at the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh airshow in 2010.

Specifications[edit | edit source]

Fletcher Defender at Fullerton, California, in 1971

General characteristics

  • Crew: One pilot
  • Length: 20 ft 11 in (6.38 m)
  • Wingspan: 30 ft 0 in (9.14 m)
  • Height: 5 ft 3 in (1.60 m)
  • Wing area: 150 ft2 (13.9 m2)
  • Empty weight: 1,421 lb (645 kg)
  • Gross weight: 2,696 lb (1,223 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Continental E-225-8, 225 hp (167 kW) each

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 190 mph (300 km/h)
  • Range: 834 miles (1,335 km)
  • Service ceiling: 16,400 ft (5,000 m)
  • Rate of climb: 1,720 ft/min (8.8 m/s)

Armament

  • 2 × fixed, forward-firing .30 (7.62 mm) machine guns in wings
  • 500 lb (230 kg) of disposable stores on eight underwing pylons, including bombs, rockets, and napalm tanks
  • See also[edit | edit source]

    References[edit | edit source]

    Notes
    1. Grandolini 1988, p.39.
    Bibliography
    • Grandolini, Albert. "L'Aviation Royale Khmere: The first 15 years of Cambodian military aviation". Bromley, UK: Fine Scroll. pp. pp. 39–47. ISSN 0143-5450. 
    • Taylor, Michael J. H. (1989). Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. London: Studio Editions. pp. 393. 
    • World Aircraft Information Files. London: Bright Star Publishing. pp. File 894 Sheet 25. 

    External links[edit | edit source]

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