Category Archives: Fighter-Torpedobomber

Fighter-Torpedobomber

Chance Vought XTBU-1”Sea Wolf” (Pavla Models)

TYPE: Carrier-borne torpedo bomber

ACCOMMODATION: Crew of three

POWER PLANT: One Pratt & Whitney R-2800-2 “Double Wasp 2” radial engine, rated at 2,000 hp

PERFORMANCE: 306 mph

COMMENT: The Chance-Vought XTBU-1 “Sea Wolf” was a torpedo bomber designed as a rival to the Grumman TBF “Avenger”, and that entered production as the Consolidated TBY-“Sea Wolf”.
In October 1939 the US Navy issued a request for proposals for a new torpedo bomber to the US aircraft industry. The new aircraft was to carry a crew of three, have a top speed of 300mph, be able to carry one torpedo or three 500lb bombs internally, have self-sealing fuel tanks and armor and a powered dorsal gun turret.
A number of companies submitted designs to satisfy this specification, but only Grumman and Chance-Vought received orders to build prototypes. The Chance-Vought design resembled a less ‘chunky’ version of the Grumman TBF “Avenger”, with a longer greenhouse canopy, although it took up more space with its wings folded than the Grumman design. The prototype was powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-2800-6 engine for its first flight, then by an R-2800-2. One unusual feature was a single control that lowered undercarriage and flaps and set propeller pitch and fuel mixture ready for landing.
Chance-Vought received an order on April 1940, and the prototype made its first flight on December 1941. By this time it was already almost too late. Grumman had received a production order for the TBF-1 “Avenger” in December 1940, and the first prototype made its maiden flight in August 1941. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the resulting US entry into the WW II meant that the need for a new torpedo bomber was suddenly very urgent. The XTBU-1 reached NAS Anacostia for trials in March 1942, but despite proving to be 30 mph faster than the “Avenger” it was not put into production until the following year.
The XTBU-1 was armed with one fixed forward firing 0.50in gun in the engine cowling, one 0.50in gun in the power operated dorsal turret and one 0.30in gun mounted in the ‘stinger’ or ventral tunnel position (the same defensive layout as the original “Avenger”).
By 1942 Chance Vought was building fighter aircraft, most famously the F4U “Corsair. When the Navy finally decided to put their torpedo-bomber into production in 1943 they had to find an alternative manufacturer, and so in September 1943 Consolidated Vultee received an order to produce 1,100 aircraft with the new designation TBY-2 “Sea Wolf” (Ref.: 23, 24).

Grumman TBF-1C “Avenger” of VT-88 on CV 10 “Yorktown”. (Airfix)

TYPE: Carrier-borne torpedo bomber

ACCOMMODATION: Crew of three

POWER PLANT: One Wright R-2600-8 radial engine, rated at 1,700 hp

PERFORMANCE: 275 mph at 12,000 ft

COMMENT: Grumman TBF “Avenger” in mid-1942 Grumman’s first torpedo bomber was the heaviest single-engine aircraft of World War II, and only the USAAF’s Republic P-47 “Thunderbolt” came close to equaling it in maximum loaded weight among all single-engine fighters, being only some 181 kg lighter than the TBF, by the end of World War II. To ease carrier storage concerns, simultaneously with the Grumman F4F-4 “Wildcat” carrier-borne fighter, Grumman designed the “Avenger” to also use the new “Sto-Wing” patented compound angle wing-folding mechanism, intended to maximize storage space on an aircraft carrier; in addition to the “Wildcat” and “Avenger”, the “Wildcat’s” replacement, the Grumman F6F “Hellcat” also employed this mechanism as well. There were three crew members: pilot, turret gunner and radioman/bombardier/ventral gunner. One .30 caliber machine gun was mounted in the nose, a .50 caliber (12.7 mm) gun was mounted right next to the turret gunner’s head in a rear-facing electrically powered turret, and a single .30 caliber hand-fired machine gun mounted ventrally (under the tail), which was used to defend against enemy fighters attacking from below and to the rear. This gun was fired by the radioman/bombardier while standing up and bending over in the belly of the tail section, though he usually sat on a folding bench facing forward to operate the radio and to sight in bombing runs. The TBF-1C model dispensed with the nose-mounted gun for one .50 caliber gun in each wing per pilots’ requests for better forward firepower and increased strafing ability. There was only one set of controls on the aircraft, and no access to the pilot’s position from the rest of the aircraft. The radio equipment was massive, especially by today’s standards, and filled the length of the well-framed “greenhouse” canopy to the rear of the pilot. The “Avenger” had a large bomb bay, allowing for one Bliss-Leavitt “Mark 13” torpedo, a single 907 kg bomb, or up to four 227 kg bombs. The aircraft had overall ruggedness and stability, and pilots say it flew like a truck, for better or worse. With its good radio facilities, docile handling, and long range, the Grumman Avenger also made an ideal command aircraft for Commanders Air Group (CAGs). With a 30,000 ft ceiling and a fully loaded range of 1,610 km, it was better than any previous American torpedo bomber, and better than its Japanese counterpart, the obsolete Nakajima B5N “Kate”. Later “Avenger” models carried radar equipment for the ASW and AEW roles. Escort carriers sailors referred to the TBF as the “turkey” because of its size and maneuverability in comparison to the F4F “Wildcat” fighters in CVE air groups.
A total of 2,290 Grumman TBF “Avengers” have been produced until early 1944 when the production switched over to General Motors Company to produce 4,664 additional TBM “Avengers” (Ref.: 24).

Grumman TBM-3 “Avenger” of VMTB-233, CVE-106 “Block Island II”, (Airfix)

TYPE: Carrier-based Torpedo-bomber,

ACCOMMODATION: Crew of three

POWER PLANT: One Wright R-2600-20, rated at 1,900 hp

PERFORMANCE: 276 mph at 16,500 ft

COMMENT:  To meet the growing production requirements, General Motors Corporation was asked to establish a second source for Grumman TBF-1 “Avengers” at its Eastern Aircraft division, already building the Grumman F4F “Wildcats”. The first contract was placed on March 1942, and deliveries began in November of the same year, this version being designated TBM-1. Grumman production continued until early 1944, with a total of 2,290. These were primarily of the TBF-1 or TBF-1C version. Eastern produced 2,882 TBM-1 and later went on to build 4,664 more powerful and improved TBM-3s (Ref.: 1).

The escort aircraft carrier CVE-106 “Block Island II” was laid down and launched as CVE-106 “Sunset Bay”. On July 1944 she was renamed “Block Island II” in honor of CVE-21 “Block Island I”, sunk by German submarine in June 1944.

Grumman TBF-1C “Avenger”, VC-58, USS CVE 21 “Block Island I” (Airfix, modified)

TYPE: Carrier-borne torpedo bomber

ACCOMMODATION: Crew of three

POWER PLANT: One Wright R-2600-20 Cyclone radial engine, rated at 1,900 hp

PERFORMANCE: 275 mph

COMMENT: The Grumman TBF “Avenger” was an American torpedo bomber developed initially for the United States Nay and the Marine Corps. The “Avenger” entered U.S. service in 1942, and first saw action during the Battle of Midway. Despite the loss of five of the six “Avengers” on its combat debut, it survived in service to become one of the outstanding torpedo bombers of World War II. The Douglas TBD “Devastator”, the U.S. Navy’s main torpedo bomber introduced in 1935, was obsolete by 1939. Bids were accepted from several companies, but Grumman’s TBF design was selected as the replacement for the TBD and in April 1940 two prototypes were ordered by the Navy. The first prototype was called the XTBF-1. It was first flown on 7 August 1941. Although one of the first two prototypes crashed near, rapid production continued. The TBF-1 “Avenger” was the heaviest single-engined aircraft of World War II, and only the USAAF’s P-47 “Thunderbolt” came close to equalling it in maximum loaded weight among all single-engined fighters, being only some 181 kg lighter than the TBF, by the end of World War II. The Avenger was the first design to feature a new “compound angle” wing-folding mechanism created by Grumman, intended to maximize storage space on an aircraft carrier; the Grumman F4F-4 “Wildcat” and later variants received a similar folding wing and the Grumman F6F “Hellcat” employed this mechanism as well. There were three crew members: pilot, turret gunner and radioman/bombardier/ventral gunner. In total, 9,839 Avengers and including special-purpose versions are built, such as TBF-1C for reconnaissance, TBF-1E with radar, TBF-1J for bad-weather flying, TBF-1L with searchlight in the bomb-bay and post-war development TBM-3W with APS-20 radar in a large ventral radome. Many “Avengers” saw action with other national air and naval aviation services around the world. (Ref.: 23, 24).

Grumman TBM-3W2 Avenger (Airfix, Self-conversion)

TYPE: Anti-submarine search aircraft

ACCOMMODATION: Crew of three

POWER PLANT: One Wright R-2600-20, rated at 1,900 hp

PERFORMANCE: 250 mph at 16,500 ft

COMMENT: During the closing stage of the hostilities in the Pacific area the Grumman Company resp. General Motors converted some TBF and TBM Avengers, respectively, into anti-submarine search and strike aircraft. The rear turret was removed and faired over and a large ventral radome, carrying a APS-20 radar, was mounted under the fuselage. By that the TBM-3 conversion as the first ship based airborne early warning control and relay platform. These search aircraft operated together with TBM-3S or TBM-3S-2 submarine-strike Avengers. These search-and-strike aircraft remained in operational service after the war until 1954. From 1950 onwards these Avengers were replaced by Grumman AF-2W “hunter” and Grumman AF-2S “killer” Guardians (Ref.:1)

Douglas BTD-1 Destroyer (Planet, Resin)

TYPE: Carrier-borne scout/dive bomber

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot only

POWER PLANT: One Wright R-3350-14 Cyclone 18, rated at 2,300 hp

PERFORMANCE:  334 mph at 16,100 ft

COMMENT: In 1942 the US Navy planned to replace both the Douglas SBD Dauntless and the new Curtiss SB2C Helldiver and the Douglas Company was commissioned for two prototypes of a new two-seat dive bomber, designated XSB2D-1. The design was a large single-engined mid-winged monoplane with two remote-controlled turrets as defensive armament and a tricycle undercarriage, very unusual for a carrier-based aircraft of the time. The first prototype flew on April 1943, demonstrating an excellent performance and being much faster and carrying nearly double the bombload of the Helldiver. Orders for 358 SB2D-1s quickly followed. In the meantime Douglas reworked the SB2D design by removing the turrets and second crewman, while adding more fuel and armor, producing by that the BTD-1 Destroyer. The orders for SB2Ds were converted to BTD-1s, but only 28 aircraft had been delivered at the end of the WWII. Before the end the war, based on that design, Douglas developed the single-seat BT2D-1, later well known as Douglas AD-1 Skyraider.

Grumman AF-2S Guardian (Airmodel, Vacu)

TYPE: Anti-submarine strike aircraft

ACCOMMODATION: Crew of two

POWER PLANT: Pratt & Whitney R-2800-48W Double Wasp, rated at 2,400 h.p.

PERFORMANCE: 350 m.p.h. at 15,000ft

COMMENT: In contrast to the radar equipped AF-2W, the Grumman AF-2S was armed with one torpedo or two bombs or two depth-charges in weapons bay. The AF-2S carried a smaller wing mounted APS-30 radar and a search light. Both, the AF-2W and the AF-2S operated in a “hunter” and “killer” role. A total of 193 AF-2S were produced

 

Grumman AF-2W Guardian (Airmodel, Vacu)

TYPE: Anti-submarine search aircraft

ACCOMMODATION: Crew of four

POWER PLANT: Pratt & Whitney R.2800-48W Double Wasp, rated at 2,400 h.p.

PERFORMANCE:  317 m.p.h. at 16,000 ft

COMMENT: Originally designed as a replacement of the highly successful Grumman TBF Avenger anti-submarine search aircraft. In place of defensive armament the new torpedo-bomber had a Westinghouse 19XB turbojet in the tail to give it a high escape speed. Later the the design was revised and a large ventral radar set was built in. In that configuration the aircraft was used as a hunter in cooperation with the Grumman AF-2S as a killer. A total of 153 AF-2W were built.

Douglas XA2D-1 Skyshark (Anigrand, Resin)

TYPE: Carrier-borne attack aircraft

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot only

POWER PLANT: Allison XT40-A-2 coupled turboprop engine, rated at 4,000 h.p., driving two contra-rotating propellers,

PERFORMANCE: 501 m.p.h.

COMMENT: Planned successor of the Douglas  Skyraider. But only seven built