POWER PLANT: One Wright R-1820-76 “Cyclone” radial engine, rated at 1,425 hp
PERFORMANCE: 315 mph
COMMENT: Last of a long line of US Navy scouting airplanes designed to serve aboard battleships as well as carriers and from land bases, the Curtis SC-1 Seahawk originated to a specification issued to industry in June 1942. The requirement was for a convertible land or floatplane with a much improved performance over the observation/scouts then in service and with provision for catapult launching.
The Curtiss design proposal in response to the specification was quickly adopted by the Navy, which issued a letter of intent on October,1942 and a contract for two prototypes on March 1943, with the designation XSC-1. A production order for 500 SC-1 followed on June 1943, and the first XSC-1 made its first flight on February 1944. Flight testing continued through April, when the last of the seven pre-production aircraft took to the air.
The first serial production “Seahawks” were delivered on October 1944, to the USS CB-2 Guam, an Alaska-class large cruiser. She carried four Seahawk floatplanes, housed in two hangars with a pair of aircraft catapults mounted amidships.
All 577 Seahawk aircraft eventually produced for the Navy were delivered on conventional landing gear and flown to the appropriate Naval Air Station, where floats were fitted for service as needed.
Nine further prototypes were later built as Curtis SC-2 Seahawk, with a more powerful engine, a modified cockpit with a blown canopy, a second seat in the fuselage below the pilot with two little windows on both sides and a redesigned tail plane to improve stability.
Series production was not undertaken because by the end of the war, seaplanes were becoming less desirable, being replaced soon afterward by helicopters (Ref.: 24).
POWER PLANT: Two Pratt & Whitney R-2800 radial engines, rated at 2,100 hp each
PERFORMANCE: 205 mph
COMMENT: The Martin PBM-5 “Mariner” was an American patrol bomber flying boat of WW II. It was designed to complement the Consolidated PBY “Catalina” in service with the US Navy.
Designed in 1937, the Model 162 continued the rivalry which had sprung up between Martin and Consolidated by challenging the latter company’s PBY “Catalina”. A somewhat later design than the PBY, the Martin 162 was in due course to demonstrate a marked superiority of performance, an although it served in smaller quantities than the PBY during WW II, it continued to give important service for many years after 1945.
The Model 162 design featured a deep hull with a gull wing and two Wright “Cyclone” engines. To test the handling qualities of the design, Martin built a single-seat, quarter-scale model known as the Model 162A, an on June 1937, the US Navy places a contract for a single full-scale prototype, to be designated XPBM-1. First flown on February 1939, the XPBM-1 had 1,600 hp Wright R-2600-6 engines an provision for nose and dorsal turrets plus additional gun positions at the waist and tail position. The XPBM-1 was designed to carry 2,000 lb bombs or depth-charges. It had retractable stabilizing floats under the wing and a flat tailplane with outrigged fins. Later, dihedral was added to the tailplane, canting the fins inward to give the Martin flying boat one of its most striking characteristics. At the end of 1937 the Navy ordered 20 production model PBM-1s, for which the name “Mariner” was eventually chosen. All aircraft were completed by April 1941 and went into service during 1941.
On November 1941, orders were placed with Martin for 379 PBM-3 “Mariners” and these appeared, from 1942 onwards, in several different versions. All “Mariners” from the -3 model onward had fixed, strut-braced wing floats and lengthened engine nacelles, the latter providing stowage for bombs or depth-charges. The basic PBM-3 had Wright R-2600-12 engines, and variants includes 50 unarmed PBM-3R transports with seats for 20 passengers, 274 PBM3Cs with standardized US/British equipment and 201 PBM-3Dswith Wright R-2600-22 engines and improved armament and armor protection. Many of the PBM-3Cs and -3Ds carried search radar in a large housing above and behind the cockpit, and experience with the use of this radar led to development in 1944 of a long-range anti-submarine version, the Martin PBM-3S. A total of 156 of the latter variant were delivered, with R-2600-12 engines.
In 1943, the Martin XPBM-5 appeared with 2,100 Pratt & Whitney R-2800-22 or -34 engines, and production contracts were placed for this variant in January 1944. The PBM-5, delivered from August 1944 to the end of the war, had eight 0.50-in machine guns and AN/APS-15 radar. They were used as long-range reconnaissance aircraft and for the anti-submarine role. Production totaled 631 aircraft (Ref.: 23).
POWER PLANT: Two Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 “Twin-Wasp” radial engines, rated at 1,200 hp each
PERFORMANCE: 196 mph at 6.700 ft
COMMENT: The PBY was originally designed as a patrol bomber, an aircraft with a long operational range intended to locate and attack enemy transport ships at sea in order to disrupt enemy supply lines. With a mind to a potential conflict in the Pacific Ocean, where troops would require resupply over great distances, the US Navy in the 1930s invested millions of dollars in developing long-range flying boats for this purpose. Flying boats had the advantage of not requiring runways, in effect having the entire ocean available. Several different flying boats were adopted by the Navy, but the PBY was the most widely used and produced.
Although slow and ungainly, Consolidated PBY “Catalinas” distinguished themselves in World War II. Allied forces used them successfully in a wide variety of roles for which the aircraft was never intended. PBYs are remembered for their rescue role, in which they saved the lives of thousands of aircrew downed over water. “Catalina” airmen called their aircraft the “Cat” on combat missions and “Dumbo” in air-rescue service.
Consolidated and Douglas both delivered single prototypes of their new designs, the XP3Y-1 and XP3D-1, respectively. Consolidated’s XP3Y-1 was an evolution of the XPY-1 design that had originally competed unsuccessfully for the P3M contract two years earlier and of the XP2Y design that the Navy had authorized for a limited production run. Although the Douglas aircraft was a good design, the Navy opted for Consolidated because the projected cost was only $90,000 per aircraft.
Consolidated XP3Y-1 design (company Model 28) had a parasol wing with external bracing struts, mounted on a pylon over the fuselage. Wingtip stabilizing floats were retractable in flight to form streamlined wingtips and had been licensed from the British Saunders-Roe company. The two-step hull design was similar to that of the P2Y, but the Model 28 had a cantilever cruciform tail unit instead of a strut-braced twin tail. Cleaner aerodynamics gave the Model 28 better performance than earlier designs. Construction is all-metal, stressed-skin, of aluminum sheet, except the ailerons and wing trailing edge, which are fabric covered
The Consolidated XP3Y-1 had its maiden flight on March 1935, after which it was transferred to the US Navy for service trials. The XP3Y-1 was a significant performance improvement over previous patrol flying boats. The Navy requested further development in order to bring the aircraft into the category of patrol bomber, and in October 1935, the prototype was returned to Consolidated for further work, including installation of 900 hp R-1830-64 engines. For the redesignated XPBY-1, Consolidated introduced redesigned vertical tail surfaces which resolved a problem with the tail becoming submerged on takeoff, which had made lift-off impossible under some conditions. The XPBY-1 had its maiden flight on May 1936, during which a record non-stop distance flight of 3,443 miles was achieved.
Around 4.051 aircraft were built, and these operated in nearly all operational theatres of World War II. The “Catalina” served with distinction and played a prominent and invaluable role against the Japanese. This was especially true during the first year of the war in the Pacific, because the Consolidated PBY “Catalina” and the Boeing B-17 “Flying Fortress” were the only aircraft available with the range to be effective in the Pacific.
The Consolidated PBY “Catalina” was built in seven major variants, the last, PBY-6A, was equipped with search radar in a radome above the cockpit, a taller fin and rudder and amphibious undercarriage (Ref.: 24).
POWER PLANT: One Wright R-1820-62 “Cyclone” radial engine, rated at 1,350 hp
PERFORMANCE: 125 mph
COMMENT: The Curtiss SC “Seahawk” was a scout seaplane designed by the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company for the US Navy. The existing Curtiss SO3C “Seamew” and the Vought OS2U “Kingfisher” were 1937 designs that, by 1942, needed to be replaced.
Work began in June 1942, following a US Navy Bureau of Aeronautics request for scout seaplane proposals. Curtiss submitted the “Seahawk” design on 1 August 1942, with a contract for two prototypes and five service test aircraft awarded on 25 August that year. A production order for 500 SC-1s followed in June 1943, prior to the first flight of the prototypes.
While only intended to seat the pilot, a bunk was provided in the aft fuselage for rescue or personnel transfer. Two 12.7 mm M2 Browning machine guns were fitted in the wings, and two underwing hardpoints allowed carriage of 113 kg bombs or, on the right wing, surface-scan radar. The main float, built by Edo Company was designed to incorporate a bomb bay. But this suffered substantial leaks when used in that fashion, and was modified to carry an auxiliary fuel tank.
The first flight of a prototype XSC-1 took place on February 1944. Flight testing continued through April, when the last of the seven pre-production aircraft took to the air. Nine further prototypes were later built, with a second seat and modified cockpit, designated Curtiss SC-2 “Seahawk”; series production was not undertaken.
The first serial production “Seahawks” were delivered on October 1944, to the USS CB-2 “Guam”. All 577 aircraft eventually produced for the Navy were delivered on conventional landing gear and flown to the appropriate Naval Air Station, where floats were fitted for service as needed.
Capable of being fitted with either float or wheeled landing gear, the “Seahawk” was arguably America’s best floatplane scout of WW II. However, its protracted development time meant it entered service too late to see significant action in the war. It was not until June 1945, during the pre-invasion bombardment of Borneo, that the “Seahawk” was involved in military action. By the end of the war, seaplanes were becoming less desirable, with the “Seahawk” being replaced soon afterward by helicopters (Ref.: 24).
POWER PLANT: One Ranger XV-770-8-8 inline air-cooled engine, rated at 600 hp
PERFORMANCE: 172 mph at 8,100 ft
COMMENT: The Curtiss SO3C “Seamew” was developed by the Curtiss-Wright Corporation as a replacement for the Curtiss SOC “Seagull” as the US Navy’s’s standard floatplane scout. Curtiss named the SO3C the “Seamew” but in 1941 the US Navy began calling it by the name “Seagull”, the same name as the aircraft it replaced (the Curtiss SOC a biplane type), causing some confusion. The British Royal Navy kept the Curtiss name “Seamew” for the SO3C that they ordered. One of the US Navy’s main design requirements was that the SOC “Seagull’s” replacement had to be able to operate both from ocean vessels with a single center float and from land bases with the float replaced by a wheeled landing gear.
From the time it entered service the SO3C suffered two serious flaws: inflight stability problems and problems with the unique Ranger air-cooled, inverted V-shaped inline engine. The stability problem was mostly resolved with the introduction of upturned wingtips and a larger rear tail surface that extended over the rear observer’s cockpit. The additional tail surface was attached to the rear observer’s sliding canopy and pilots claimed there were still stability problems when the canopy was open. The canopy was often open because the aircraft’s main role was spotting. While the inflight stability problem was eventually addressed (although not fully solved), the Ranger XV-770 engine proved a dismal failure even after many attempted modifications. Poor flight performance and a poor maintenance record led to the SO3C being withdrawn from US Navy first line units by 1944. The older biplane Curtiss SOC “Seagull” was taken from stateside training units and restored to first-line service on many US Navy warships until the end of World War II. In total 795 Curtiss SO3C “Seamew’s”have been built (Ref.: 24).
POWER PLANT: One Ranger V-770-8 air-cooled piston engine, rated at 550 hp, driving two-bladed propeller
PERFORMANCE: 198 mph
COMMENT: The Edo OSE was a 1940s American single-seat multi-role floatplane designed and manufactured by the Edo Aircraft Corporation. The Edo Aircraft Corporation was an established company that produced seaplane floats. In 1946, Edo designed its first aircraft, the Edo OSE. Two prototype aircraft designated XOSE-1 were built and flown in 1946. The XOSE-1 was a single-seat low-wing cantilever monoplane with a single float and fixed wingtip stabilizing floats. The wings could be folded for shipboard storage. The aircraft was designed for a variety of roles including observation and anti-submarine patrols. Unusually, it was designed to carry a rescue cell on the underwing hard points, which would be capable of carrying a single person when used for air-sea rescue. Eight production aircraft XOSE-1 were built to a United States Navy order but none were accepted into service. A two-seat training conversion was carried out as the XTE-1, but production TE-2 aircraft were cancelled (Ref.: 24).
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)
Scale 1:72 aircraft models of World War II
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