The O-46A, the last of
a long line of Douglas observation planes, was a victim of progress. It
was designed to operate from established airfields behind fairly static
battle lines as in WW I. However, in 1939, a report was issued on the
O-46A which stated that it was too slow and heavy to outrun and
out-manoeuvre enemy pursuit planes, too heavy to operate from small,
wet, unprepared fields, and too large to conceal beneath trees. This
report was a forecast of the future, for WW II with its rapidly
changing battle lines proved the need for light, manoeuvrable
observation aircraft which could operate from unimproved airstrips.
Consequently, in 1942, the "O" (observation) designation was changed to
The Air Corps ordered
90 -46As in 1935. At least 11 saw overseas duty; two were destroyed in
the Japanese raid on Clark Field in the Philippines on Dec. 8, 1941.
The remainder were declared obsolete in late 1942 and after that were
used primarily in training and utility roles.
Span: 45 ft. 9 in.
Length: 34 ft. 9 1/2 in.
Height: 10 ft. 4 in.
Weight: 6,100 lbs. max.
Armament: Two .30 cal. Browning machine guns (one wing mounted
and one flexible)
Engine: Pratt & Whitney R-1535 of 725 hp.
Serial Number: 35-179
Maximum speed: 200 mph.
Cruising speed: 171 mph.
Range: 635 miles
Service Ceiling: 24,150 ft.