Vultee A-31 Vengeance



The Consolidated-Vultee A-31 Vengeance was an American built pre-war dive bomber. Designed under the designation V-72, the aircraft that would eventually be named Vengeance by the RAF and FAA was developed as a dive bomber by the Vultee Corporation. One of few US military aircraft who's initial development was not aided by government finance, the V-72 was intended for sale to export markets. Large numbers were sold to Brazil, China, Turkey, and the USSR during the mid-to-late 1930s. In 1940 the British purchased 700 V-72s (400 of which were manufactured by Northrop), and with the introduction of lend-lease in 1941, the US ordered 300 more examples for the RF and FAA under the designation A-31. The majority of the RAF Vengeances served in Burma, where they enjoyed considerable success. When the U.S. entered the war, it commandeered 243 of the aircraft meant for the UK, and later had even more Vengeances manufactured for the USAAF under the designation A-35.

By the end of  production in 1944, 1,528 aircraft had been built.

 Vengeance I           Original British order
 Vengeance II          Original British order, inc 243 retained by USAAF as V-72
 Vengeance IA        Lend-lease to RAF
 Vengeance III         Lend-lease to RAF
 XA-31A/B               Engine test-bed, single A-31 conversion
 YA-31C                   As XA-31A/B; B-29 development programme; 5 A-31 conversions
 A-35                         Improved Vengeance I; 1600hp Wright R-2600-19
 A-35A                      99 A-35 conversions; four 0.5in guns
 A-35B                      Re-engined A-35A; Increased armament
 Vengeance IV (Series 1)
                                   RAF equivalent of A-35B; 104 Lend-lease
 Vengeance IV (Series 2)
                                   RAF equivalent of A-35B; 458 Lend-lease
 Vengeance T.T. Mk IV
                                   Target-tug conversions of Mk IV

The Fleet Air received a total of 113 Consolidated-Vultee A-31 Vengeances which were transfers from the RAF. A total of 88 had been received by the end of August 1945, the rest being delivered up to early 1946. The Vengeance as dive-bombers proved unsuccessful by the time of its entry into FAA service, consequently it was restricted to a few second-line squadrons, and mostly converted to Target Tugs.

The first aircraft, FD171 joined the RN on 8 March 1944, but struck off charge after an accident 9 days later. The majority were shipped in SS George the Knight en route to the UK on 24 August 1944, and first delivered to Lockheed Aircraft on 9 September 1944 , thence to Speke January 1945. The first unit to receive the Vengeance were 721 squadron in March 1945, and 733 squadron in July 1945. None of the type saw service with front line squadrons.

One Vengeance, FD368, was sent from RN Experimental Air Department at Thame, on to Oakley on CS(A) charge for the International Model Aircraft Ltd, in June 1945, for towing duties with RN glider targets.

Only 10 aircraft were actually delivered to RN squadrons after VJ-Day: to 721 squadron at Kai Tak April 1946,  and to 791 squadron Sembawang in September 1946. From 9 September 1945,  25 RAAF Vengeances were allocated for RN use in Australia, but in the event only 9 were actually issued. An number of these were subsequently modified for DDT spraying in late 1945.

The last of the RN delivered Vengeances, FD4044, was retired at RAF Changi in April 1947

          Fleet Air Arm history
           Consolidated-Vultee A-31 Vengeance
          Total FAA 1939-1945:             88 (total 113 including post-war)
            First delivered to RN:              3.1944
            First squadron 1939-1945:        721 sqdn 3.1945, 733 sqdn 7.1945
            Last served with RN                Last paid off 4.1947
Aircraft Type:
Vultee A-31 Vengeance
Consolidated-Vultee A-31 Vengeance 
Primary Role:
Dive bomber, target tug
First Flight: 
Date operating with FAA squadrons:
Vultee Corporation.
Northrop Corporation.
One 1,700 hp Wright Double Row Cyclone GR-2600-A5B-5 engine
 Wing Span: Length: Height: Wing Area: 
Wingspan: 48ft 0" (14.63 m), Length: 39ft 9" (12.12 m), Height: 15ft 4" (4.67 m) Wing area: 332 sq. ft (30.84 sq. m) 
Empty Weight: Max.Weight:
Empty Weight: 10,300 lb (4672 kg)
Max Weight: 16,400 lb (7439 kg)



Cruise Speed: 230 mph ( 370 km/h)
Max Speed: 279 mph ( 449 km/h) at 13,500 ft 
Ceiling: 22,300 ft (6800 m)
Range: 2300 miles (3701 km)
Six forward-firing .5in machine guns in wings with One 0.5in machine gun in rear cockpit
Up to 2,000 lbs. of bombs
Battle honours:
None with FAA
Additional references and notes:

Battle Honours and Operational History
None with FAA but served with distinction with the RAF and RIAF in Burma.

Surviving aircraft and relics
No information and possibly is extinct - or relict wrecks may exist in Burma or Australia.

Associations and reunions
No information
Sturtivant, R. & Burrow, M (1995)
 'Fleet Air Arm Aircraft 1939 to1945'  Published by Air Britain (Historians) Ltd, 1995 ISBN: 0 85130 232 7 
Created 3-4-1999, Modified 3-4-2000


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