The Martin AM Mauler was a single seat carrier based attack aircraft, designed to replace the multi-seat SB and TB types that dominated during the Second World War.
By 1943 the US Navy believed that it could replace these multi-seat aircraft with single seat attack aircraft, following the example of the single-seat fighter bomber that was coming to replace purpose built ground attack aircraft and dive bombers. These would use the largest suitable engine, and carry all of their armament externally in order to avoid the complexities of using a bomb bay.
A series of designs were produced to fill this new specification. Curtiss produced the XBTC-1, Kaiser-Fleetwings the XBTK, Douglas the XBT2D-1 and Martin the XBTM-1. All used a new BT for Bomber-Torpedo designation. All four reached at least the prototype stage, and two would enter production - the XBT2D as the Douglas AD-1 Skyraider and the XBTM as the Martin AM Mauler.
Martin’s Model 210 followed the same basic configuration as all four designs. It was a low wing monoplane. The wings were straight but tapered. The central section was level, and contained the main landing gear, which folded inwards, giving it a wide wheel base. The outer wing panels, which carried most of the fifteen weapons points, were given some dihedral. It had a standard tail, with the horizontal surfaces mounted at the top of the fuselage.
Martin was given an order for two prototypes of the XBTM-1 on 31 May 1944. The first prototype, powered by a 3,000hp Pratt & Whitney XR-4360-4 engine, made its maiden flight on 26 August 1944. Trials with the prototypes were successful, and an order was placed for 750 BTM-1s on 15 January 1945. The first of the production aircraft made its maiden flight on 16 December 1946, by which time its name had been changed to the AM-1 Mauler. A total of 149 production aircraft had been completed by the time production came to an end in October 1949. Of these aircraft a small number were converted into radar countermeasures aircraft as the AM-1Q (sources give figures of either 6 or 17, with the lower figure supported by a list of serial numbers).
The AM-1 entered service with Attack Squadron VA-17A on 1 March 1948. However but this point the Navy had decided to concentrate on the Douglas AD-1 Skyraider. In 1950 the AM-1 Maulers were given to Reserve units, and their squadrons converted to the Skyraider.
Engine: Wright R-3350-4 Cyclone 18
Span: 50ft 0in
Length: 41ft 2in
Height: 16ft 10in
Empty Weight: 14,500lb
Maximum take-off Weight: 23,386lb
Maximum Speed: 367mph at 11,600ft
Cruising Speed: 189mph
Climb rate: 2,780ft/ min
Range: 1,800 miles
Guns: Four forward firing 20mm cannon
Bomb load: 4,500lb of bombs or rockets