In April 1941, at the instigation of Captain (later Admiral) Marc Mitscher, the Navy began work on a glider for assaulting enemy beaches carrying squads of Marines.
The basic design worked out by the Bureau of Aeronautics was then handed over to industry for building. The first was built by the Bristol Aeronautical Company as the XLRQ-1, followed by two from the Allied Aviation Corporation as the XLRA-1 and -2. The low-set wing supported the glider in the water, and tow-planes used in tests were amphibians such as the J2F-5 Duck and Consolidated PBY-5A . Although the XLRA was theoretically ideal for recapturing islands captured by the Japanese in the first months of the Pacific War, actual combat experience showed the strength of beach defences and the vulnerability of even armoured landing craft and amphibious vehicles during opposed invasions. In 1942 orders for 100 XLRA-2s were cancelled as was that for a 22-seat twin-hulled transport glider.