Military Wiki
Role Ground attack
Manufacturer Vultee
Designer Duald L. Blue (project engineer)
First flight 17 September 1935 (V-11 msn 28)[1]
Introduction 1937
Status retired (no surviving examples)
Primary users Republic of China Air Force (107)
Turkey, Soviet Union and Brazil
Produced 1936 - 1940
Number built 224 (all variants)[1]
Developed from Vultee V-1

The Vultee V-11 and V-12 were American attack aircraft of the 1930s. Developed from the Vultee V-1 single-engined airliner, the V-11 and V-12 were purchased by several nation's armed forces, including China, who used them in combat against Japanese forces in the Second Sino-Japanese War. The United States Army Air Corps purchased seven V-11s as the Vultee YA-19 in the years before World War II, testing them to gather data to compare against twin engine light attack planes.

Design and development

Vultee YA-19 during tests

In 1935, Vultee produced a light bomber derivative of their single-engined passenger transport, the Vultee V-1, which, while demonstrating good performance, was only sold in small numbers owing to restrictions placed on the use of single-engined aircraft for scheduled passenger transport operations.[2]

The resulting aircraft, the Vultee V-11, retained the single-engined, low wing format and all-metal stressed skin structure of the V-1. It combined a new fuselage with accommodation for the two or three crew members under a long greenhouse canopy with the wings and tail surfaces of the Vultee V-1.[3]

Operational history

Vultee YA-19 No.5, 17th Attack Group, March Field, California, 12 September 1939


An initial order for 30 two-seat V-11Gs was placed by China before the end of 1935. This was followed by orders in 1939 for two versions (the V-12-C and V-12D) of the more powerful V-12 variant. The majority of these were planned to be assembled from kits at the Central Aircraft Manufacturing Company factory at Loiwing near the China-Burma border,[4] and while the first batch of 25 V-12-Cs were completed successfully, the factory was heavily bombed just after assembly of the first V-12-Ds commenced. This resulted in the part built airframes being evacuated to India, where it was planned that the aircraft be completed at the Hindustan Aircraft Limited factory in Bangalore. However, after a few were assembled, production was stopped as the factory was diverted to more urgent overhaul work.[5]

The V-11s and V-12s were used as light bombers and achieved some success, including a mission to bomb the Japanese held airfield by 4 aircraft at Yuncheng on February 5, 1939 by the 10th Squadron of the Republic of China Air Force, before the aircraft were withdrawn from bombing missions to training and liaison duties in 1940.


In February 1939 the Brazilian Army Air Corps acquired 10 Vultee V-11–GB2s for long range bombing. 26 aircraft were eventually used by the Brazilian Air Force.

On 8 November 1939, aircraft 119 performed a 3250 km non stop flight across the Brazilian hinterland in 11 hours and 45 min. In 26 August 1942, a U-boat was attacked 50 miles off the town of Ararangua in southern Brazil. Despite the unsuitability for anti submarine operations, the aircraft flew low and dropped its load of three 250 lb bombs, some of which exploded around the submarine. A column of water and debris damaged the low flying aircraft.

Soviet Union

In 1936, the Soviet Union purchased four three-seat V-11-GB aircraft, together with a production license. The aircraft entered Soviet production in 1937 as the BSh-1 (Bronirovanny Shturmovik), but the armour fitted for the ground attack role unacceptably reduced performance and production was stopped after 31 aircraft. They were transferred to Aeroflot and redesignated PS-43 for use as high speed transports until the German invasion in 1941, when they were returned to the Air Force for liaison purposes.[6][7]

United States

In the late 1930s, the United States Army Air Corps was favoring twin engine light attack aircraft but seven YA-19 aircraft were ordered in the summer of 1938 for comparison purposes. The YA-19s were armed with six .30 in (7.62 mm) machine guns and 1,080 lb (490 kg) bombs in an internal bomb bay, powered by a 1,200 hp (895 kW) Twin Wasp radial engine and was manned by a crew of three - pilot, observer/gunner, and bombardier/photographer.

An interesting feature of the YA-19 design was its horizontal stabiliser located forward of the vertical tail. The small size of the vertical stabilizer caused some directional instability (about the yaw axis) so the last YA-19 (S/N 38-555) was equipped with enlarged vertical stabilizer.

Service tests showed that twin engine attack aircraft were faster, could be better armed and carried a larger bomb load so no further YA-19s were ordered. After comparison tests five YA-19s were redesignated A-19 and assigned to the 17th Attack Group at March Field in California for a brief period before being transferred to the Panama Canal Zone for utility transport and liaison duties. The A-19 never saw combat and was quickly replaced in the early 1940s.


Vultee YA-19A powered by Lycoming O-1230 engine

Two prototypes. The first one crashed killing both pilot and the project engineer.
Original two-seat light bomber. Powered by one 1,000 hp (746 kW) Wright R-1820-G2 Cyclone engine. 30 built for China.
Three-seat version of V-11. 4 aircraft purchased by Soviet Union (2 used as pattern aircraft), 40 by Turkey[8]
26 purchased by Brazil - generally similar to V-11-GB[1][8]
Final example for Brazil fitted with floats wasn't accepted.[1]
Soviet licensed armoured ground attack version. Powered by 920 hp (686 kW) M-62. Production stopped after at least 31 built.
Designation for BSh-1 when used by Aeroflot as light transport.
Variant of V-11-GB for United states Army Air Corps. Seven examples built.
The last YA-19 was redesignated and completed as an engine test bed. Equipped with enlarged vertical stabilizer (for improve directional stability) and powered by Lycoming O-1230 (12-cylinder opposed) engine.
The second YA-19 built was redesignated after being fitted with a Pratt & Whitney R-2800 radial engine as an engine test bed.
The YA-19A was redesignated after being fitted with a Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp R-1830-51 engine. Performance was similar to the YA-19.
The remaining five YA-19s were redesignated A-19 after assignment to active duty.
Revised version of three-seat bomber with refined aerodynamics and more power. One prototype flew in 1939 powered by Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp engine.
Production version of V-12 for China. Powered by R1820-G105B Cyclone engine. 26 built, one by Vultee and remaining 25 assembled in China.
Revised version with new fuselage and powered by 1,600 hp (1,190 kW) Wright R-2600 Cyclone 14 engine. 52 ordered for China, two pattern aircraft built by Vultee and 50 for local assembly.
Unbuilt observer design based on YA-19.


Info from Baugher[1]

Brazilian Air Force - Vultee V-11-GB2 (31)
 Republic of China
Republic of China Air Force - Vultee V-11G (30), V-12C (26) & Vultee V-12D (52)
 Soviet Union
Soviet Air Forces - Vultee V-11GB (4) & BSh-1 (31)
Turkish Air Force - Vultee V-11GB (41)
United States
United States Army Air Corps - A-19/V-11GB (7)

Specifications (YA-19)

Data from US Air Force Museum[9]

General characteristics

  • Crew: three
  • Length: 37 ft 10 in (11.53 m)
  • Wingspan: 50 ft 0 in (15.24 m)
  • Height: 10 ft 0 in (3.05 m)
  • Wing area: 348 ft² (32.3 m²)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 10,420 lb (4,736 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Pratt & Whitney R-1830-17 Twin Wasp 14-cylinder two-row radial, 1200 hp (895 kW)


  • Maximum speed: 200 knots (230 mph, 370 km/h)
  • Range: 1,174 NM (1,350 mi, 2,174 km)ferry range
  • Service ceiling: 20,500 ft (6,250 m)


  • 4 forward-firing .30 calibre machine guns in wings
  • 1 aft-firing .30 calibre machine gun
  • 1 ventral .30 calibre machine gun
  • 1,080 lbs of bombs in bomb bay
  • See also



    1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Baugher, 2000
    2. Green and Swanborough Air Enthusiast July 1974, p. 29.
    3. Green and Swanborough Air Enthusiast July 1974, p. 32.
    4. Green and Swanborough Air Enthusiast July 1974, p.39.
    5. Green and Swanborough Air Enthusiast July 1974, p.42.
    6. Green and Swanborough Air Enthusiast July 1974, p.38.
    7. Donald 1997, p.903
    8. 8.0 8.1 "Speeding Bombing Plane Has Shatterproof Flight Deck" Popular Mechanics, January 1936, bottom pg 61 note- South American customer is Brazil. Statement about armoured flight Vultee pr hyperbole
    9. Fact Sheets : Vultee YA-19 National Museum of the USAF. Retrieved 30 January 2008.


    • Joseph F. Baugher (1 July 2000). "Vultee XA-19". American Military Aircraft. Retrieved 6 August 2012. 
    • Donald, David (ed.). The Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. London: Aerospace, 1997. ISBN 1-85605-375-X.
    • Green, William and Swanborough, Gordon (eds.). "Those Versatile Vultees". Air Enthusiast. Volume 3 Number 1, July 1972. Pages 27–32, 38-42.

    External links

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