Early service use of the Douglas SBD Dauntless had convinced the US Navy of its capability as a dive-bomber and initiated the procurement of a more advanced dive-bomber, leading to the development by Douglas of a two-seat aircraft in this category, of which two prototypes were ordered by the US Navy in June 1941.
Designated Douglas XSB2D-1 Destroyer, the first prototype made its initial flight on 8 April 1943. But instead of being ordered into production, the US Navy's new requirement was for a single-seat torpedo/dive-bomber, and the XSB2D-1 was modified for this new role by conversion to a single-seat cockpit, the addition of two wing-mounted 20mm cannon, enlargement of the bomb bay and the provision of increased fuel capacity.
A contract on 31 August 1943 increased earlier orders for this aircraft, designated BTD-1 and retaining the name Destroyer, to 358. Deliveries of production aircraft began in June 1944, but only 28 had been delivered before contract cancellation was initiated soon after VJ-Day. The Destroyer's performance was disappointing and, so far as is known, the type was not used operationally.