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AM Mauler

Developed at the same time as the capable AD Skyraider, the AM Mauler could carry an incredible payload, as it was designed to combine the missions of dive and torpedo bombing. In fact, the Mauler on display in the Museum set an unofficial record for a single-engine aircraft by carrying a 10,689 lb. load aloft. Technical problems plagued the aircraft, however, and its career proved short-lived.

Like the Douglas AD Skyraider, the AM Mauler was designed to meet a Navy requirement combining the bombing and torpedo missions into one aircraft. Hence, Martin's prototype was designated the XBTM-1, its first flight occurring in August 1944. The AM design was a powerful bombing platform with four 20mm cannon in the wings and a standard 4,500 lb. ordnance load. It could carry much more, however, as demonstrated in an April 1949 flight in which the aircraft now displayed in the Museum set an unofficial record for a single-engine aircraft by carrying a 10,689 lb. load aloft.

Technical maladies hindered the AM, however. The final report issued following the Navy's Service Acceptance Trials for the aircraft concluded that the suitability of the Mauler for service was "marginal for long range operations, formation flying, night flying and instrument flying, which demand excessive pilot effort and cause excessive fatigue." During carrier trials the entire aft section of the fuselage of the test aircraft tore away after an arrested landing, and once assigned to active squadron service, the AM displayed a marked tendency to bounce when hitting the flight deck, subsequently causing the aircraft's tailhook to miss the arresting wires. Though 151 were built, the AM did not see widespread service. The Navy instead chose the more dependable AD Skyraider manufactured by the Douglas Aircraft Company, which outclassed the AM and became one of the greatest attack aircraft in history. Those AMs that were delivered to the Navy were assigned to the Naval Air Reserve in 1950, just two years after the type was introduced in Attack Squadron (VA) 17A.

The Museum's AM-1 was delivered to the Navy in 1949 and retired from the Naval Air Reserve in 1955. Stored at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland following its service, the aircraft arrived at the Museum in 1972.


Manufacturer: Glenn L. Martin Company
Type:Carrier-based attack aircraft
Powerplant: One 3,000 horsepower Wright R-4360-4W engine
Dimensions: Length: 42 ft., 2 in.
Height 16 ft., 10 in.
Wingspan: 50 ft.
Weight: Empty: 14,500 lb.
Gross: 23,386 lb.
Performance: Max Speed: 367 mph at 11,600 ft.
Ceiling: 30,500 ft.
Range: 1,800 miles
Armament: Four 20mm fixed forward-firing cannon and standard ordnance load of 4,500 lb.

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