The VOUGHT F4U CORSAIR is an American fighter aircraft that saw
service primarily in
World War II
The Corsair was designed as a carrier-based aircraft but its
difficult carrier landing performance rendered it unsuitable for Navy
use until the carrier landing issues were overcome by the Royal Navy
Fleet Air Arm . The Corsair thus came to and retained prominence in
its area of greatest deployment: land based use by the
U.S. Marines .
The role of the dominant U.S. carrier based fighter in the second part
of the war was thus filled by the
Grumman F6F Hellcat
After the carrier landing issues had been tackled, it quickly became
the most capable carrier-based fighter-bomber of World War II. The
Corsair served almost exclusively as a fighter-bomber throughout the
* 1 Development
* 2 Design
* 2.1 Engine considerations * 2.2 Landing gear and wings * 2.3 Technical issues * 2.4 Design modifications * 2.5 Performance
* 3 Operational history
* 3.1.1 U.S. service
* 184.108.40.206 Carrier landing issues and release to the U.S. Marine Corps * 220.127.116.11 Marine Corps combat * 18.104.22.168 Field modifications for USMC Corsairs * 22.214.171.124 Fighter-bomber * 126.96.36.199 Navy service * 188.8.131.52 Sortie, kill and loss figures
* 184.108.40.206 Enhancement for carrier suitability * 220.127.116.11 Deployment
* 3.1.3 Royal New Zealand Air Force * 3.1.4 Luftwaffe and Japanese Corsairs
* 3.3 Aéronavale
* 3.4 "Football War" * 3.5 Legacy
* 4 Variants
* 4.1 Super Corsair variants
* 5 Operators * 6 Surviving aircraft * 7 Specifications F4U-4 * 8 Notable appearances in media * 9 See also
* 10 References
* 10.1 Notes * 10.2 Citations * 10.3 Bibliography
* 11 Further reading * 12 External links
In February 1938 the U.S. Navy Bureau of Aeronautics published two requests for proposal for twin-engined and single-engined fighters. For the single-engined fighter the Navy requested the maximum obtainable speed, and a stalling speed not higher than 70 miles per hour (110 km/h). A range of 1,000 miles (1,600 km) was specified. The fighter had to carry four guns, or three with increased ammunition. Provision had to be made for anti-aircraft bombs to be carried in the wing. These small bombs would, according to thinking in the 1930s, be dropped on enemy aircraft formations. The XF4U-1 prototype in 1940/41, showing its more forward cockpit location
In June 1938, the U.S. Navy signed a contract with
2,000 hp (1,500 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-2800-8 in a Goodyear FG-1 Corsair
The F4U incorporated the largest engine available at the time: the 2,000 hp (1,500 kW) 18-cylinder Pratt "> Landing gear on an F4U-4 Corsair.
To accommodate a folding wing the designers considered retracting the main landing gear rearward but, for the chord of wing that was chosen, it was difficult to make the landing gear struts long enough to provide ground clearance for the large propeller. Their solution was an inverted gull wing , which considerably shortened the required length of the main gear legs. The anhedral of the wing's center-section also permitted the wing and fuselage to meet at the optimum angle for minimizing drag , without using wing root fairings. The bent wing, however, was heavier and more difficult to construct, offsetting these benefits.
The Corsair's aerodynamics were an advance over those of contemporary
naval fighters. The F4U was the first U.S. Navy aircraft to feature
landing gear that retracted into a fully enclosed wheel well. The
landing gear oleo struts — each with their own strut door enclosing
them when retracted — rotated through 90° during retraction, with
the wheel atop the lower end of the strut when retracted; a pair of
rectangular doors enclosed each wheel well, leaving a streamlined
wing. This swiveling, aft-retracting landing gear design was common
Curtiss P-40 (and its predecessor, the Curtiss P-36 ), as
adopted for the F4U Corsair's main gear and its erstwhile Pacific War
Grumman F6F Hellcat
In part because of its advances in technology and a top speed greater than existing Navy aircraft, numerous technical problems had to be solved before the Corsair entered service. Carrier suitability was a major development issue, prompting changes to the main landing gear, tail wheel and tailhook . Early F4U-1s had difficulty recovering from developed spins, since the inverted gull wing's shape interfered with elevator authority. It was also found that the Corsair's right wing could stall and drop rapidly and without warning during slow carrier landings. In addition, if the throttle were suddenly advanced (for example, during an aborted landing ) the left wing could stall and drop so quickly that the fighter could flip over with the rapid increase in power. These potentially lethal characteristics were later solved through the addition of a small, 6 in (150 mm)-long stall strip to the leading edge of the outer right wing, just inboard of the gun ports. This allowed the right wing to stall at the same time as the left. An early F4U-1 showing the "birdcage" canopy with rearwards production cockpit location.
Other problems were encountered during early carrier trials. The combination of an aft cockpit and the Corsair's long nose made landings hazardous for newly trained pilots. During landing approaches it was found that oil from the hydraulic cowl flaps could spatter onto the windscreen, badly reducing visibility, and the undercarriage oleo struts had bad rebound characteristics on landing, allowing the aircraft to bounce out of control down the carrier deck. The first problem was solved by locking the top cowl flap down permanently, then replacing it with a fixed panel. The undercarriage bounce took more time to solve but eventually a "bleed valve" incorporated in the legs allowed the hydraulic pressure to be released gradually as the aircraft landed. The Corsair was not considered fit for carrier use until the wing stall problems and the deck bounce could be solved.
Meanwhile, the more docile and simpler-to-build F6F Hellcat had begun entering service in its intended carrier-based use. Compared to the Hellcat, the Navy regarded the Corsair as fundamentally flawed for their requirements. While slower than the Corsair, the Hellcat was preferred by the Navy since the Hellcat was simpler to land on a carrier. The Hellcat's success combined with the Corsair's carrier landing issues meant the Navy released the Corsair to the U.S. Marine Corps. With no requirement for carrier landings, the Marine Corps deployed the Corsair to widespread and devastating effect from land bases.
Corsair deployment aboard U.S. carriers was delayed until late 1944, by which time the carrier landing problems had been tackled by the British.
Production F4U-1s featured several major modifications compared with the XF4U-1. A change of armament to six wing-mounted .50 in (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine guns (three in each outer wing panel) and their ammunition (400 rounds for the inner pair, 375 rounds for the outer) meant that the location of the wing fuel tanks had to be changed. In order to keep the fuel tank close to the center of gravity , the only available position was in the forward fuselage, ahead of the cockpit. Accordingly, as a 237 gal (897 l) self-sealing fuel tank replaced the fuselage mounted armament, the cockpit had to be moved back by 32 in (810 mm) and the fuselage lengthened. In addition, 150 lb of armor plate was installed, along with a 1.5 in (38 mm) bullet-proof windscreen which was set internally, behind the curved Plexiglas windscreen. The canopy could be jettisoned in an emergency, and half-elliptical planform transparent panels, much like those of certain models of the Curtiss P-40 , were inset into the sides of the fuselage's turtledeck structure behind the pilot's headrest, providing the pilot with a limited rear view over his shoulders. A rectangular Plexiglas panel was inset into the lower center section to allow the pilot to see directly beneath the aircraft and assist with deck landings. The engine used was the more powerful R-2800-8 (B series) Double Wasp which produced 2,000 hp (1,491 kW). On the wings the flaps were changed to a NACA slotted type and the ailerons were increased in span to increase the roll rate, with a consequent reduction in flap span. IFF transponder equipment was fitted in the rear fuselage. These changes increased the Corsair's weight by several hundred pounds.
The performance of the Corsair was superior to most of its
contemporaries. The F4U-1 was considerably faster than the
WORLD WAR II
Carrier Landing Issues And Release To The U.S. Marine Corps
The U.S. Navy received its first production F4U-1 on 31 July 1942, but getting it into service proved difficult. The framed "birdcage" style canopy provided inadequate visibility for deck taxiing. Even more seriously, the machine had a nasty tendency to "bounce" on touchdown, which could cause it to miss the arresting hook and slam into the crash barrier, or even go out of control. The long "hose nose" visibility problem and the enormous torque of the Double Wasp engine also created operational problems.
Carrier qualification trials on the escort carrier USS Sangamon , on
25 September 1942, caused the U.S. Navy to release the type to the
United States Marine Corps
Marine Corps Combat
Early F4U-1s of VF-17
From February 1943 onward, the F4U operated from
ultimately other bases in the
I learned quickly that altitude was paramount. Whoever had altitude dictated the terms of the battle, and there was nothing a Zero pilot could do to change that — we had him. The F4U could outperform a Zero in every aspect except slow speed manoeuvrability and slow speed rate of climb. Therefore you avoided getting slow when combating a Zero. It took time but eventually we developed tactics and deployed them very effectively... There were times, however, that I tangled with a Zero at slow speed, one on one. In these instances I considered myself fortunate to survive a battle. Of my 21 victories, 17 were against Zeros, and I lost five aircraft in combat. I was shot down three times and I crashed one that ploughed into the line back at base and wiped out another F4U.
VMF-113 was activated on 1 January 1943 at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro as part of Marine Base Defense Air Group 41. They were soon given their full complement of 24 F4U Corsairs. On 26 March 1944, while escorting four B-25 bombers on a raid over Ponape, they recorded their first enemy kills, downing eight Japanese aircraft. In April of that year, VMF-113 was tasked with providing air support for the landings at Ujelang . Since the assault was unopposed, the squadron quickly returned to striking Japanese targets in the Marshall Islands for the remainder of 1944.
Corsairs were flown by the "Black Sheep" Squadron (VMF-214 , led by
One particularly unusual kill was scored by Marine
At war's end, Corsairs were ashore on Okinawa , combating the
kamikaze, and also were flying from fleet and escort carriers. VMF-312
, VMF-323 , VMF-224, and a handful of others met with success in the
Battle of Okinawa
Field Modifications For USMC Corsairs
Since Corsairs were being operated from shore bases, while still
awaiting approval for U.S. carrier operations, a number of FG-1As were
built without their hydraulic wing folding mechanisms being installed,
hoping to improve performance by reducing aircraft weight, with the
added benefit of minimizing complexity. (These Corsairs’ wings
could still be manually folded. ) USMC aircraft historian Jack
Elliot’s research has determined that only about 60 FG-1As were
manufactured before these modifications were terminated because there
was little performance advantage, while there were real logistical
challenges for Goodyear. A second option was to remove the folding
mechanism in the field using a kit, which could be done for
Corsairs also served well as fighter-bombers in the Central Pacific and the Philippines. By early 1944, Marine pilots were beginning to exploit the type's considerable capabilities in the close-support role during amphibious landings. Charles Lindbergh flew Corsairs with the Marines as a civilian technical advisor for United Aircraft Corporation in order to determine how best to increase the Corsair's payload and range in the attack role and to help evaluate future viability of single- versus twin-engine fighter design for Vought. Lindbergh managed to get the F4U into the air with 4,000 pounds (1,800 kg) of bombs, with a 2,000 pounds (910 kg) bomb on the centerline and a 1,000 pounds (450 kg) bomb under each wing. In the course of such experiments, he performed strikes on Japanese positions during the battle for the Marshall Islands .
By the beginning of 1945, the Corsair was a full-blown "mudfighter", performing strikes with high-explosive bombs, napalm tanks, and HVARs . It proved versatile, able to operate everything from Bat glide bombs to 11.75 in (300 mm) Tiny Tim rockets. The aircraft was a prominent participant in the fighting for the Palaus , Iwo Jima and Okinawa .
Despite the decision to issue the F4U to Marine Corps units, two Navy units, VF-12 (October 1942) and later VF-17 (April 1943) were equipped with the F4U. By April 1943, VF-12 had successfully completed deck landing qualification. VF-12 soon abandoned its aircraft to the Marines. VF-17 kept its Corsairs, but was removed from its carrier, USS Bunker Hill , due to perceived difficulties in supplying parts at sea. In November 1943, while operating as a shore-based unit in the Solomon Islands, VF-17 reinstalled the tail hooks so its F4Us could land and refuel while providing top cover over the task force participating in the carrier raid on Rabaul . The squadron's pilots landed, refueled, and took off from their former home, Bunker Hill and the USS Essex on 11 November 1943.
Twelve USMC F4U-1s arrived at Henderson Field (Guadalcanal) on 12
February 1943. The U.S. Navy did not get into combat with the type
until September 1943. The work done by the
Sortie, Kill And Loss Figures
U.S. figures compiled at the end of the war indicate that the F4U and FG flew 64,051 operational sorties for the U.S. Marines and U.S. Navy through the conflict (44% of total fighter sorties), with only 9,581 sorties (15%) flown from carrier decks. F4U and FG pilots claimed 2,140 air combat victories against 189 losses to enemy aircraft, for an overall kill ratio of over 11:1. Against the best Japanese opponents, the aircraft claimed a 12:1 kill ratio against Mitsubishi A6M and 6:1 against the Nakajima Ki-84 , Kawanishi N1K -J and Mitsubishi J2M combined during the last year of the war. The Corsair bore the brunt of U.S. fighter-bomber missions, delivering 15,621 short tons (14,171 metric tons) of bombs during the war (70% of total bombs dropped by U.S. fighters during the war).
Corsair losses in
World War II
* By aerial combat: 189 * By enemy ground and ship-board anti-aircraft fire: 349 * Operational losses during combat missions: 230 * Operational losses during non-combat flights: 692 * Destroyed aboard ships or on the ground: 164
Enhancement For Carrier Suitability
In the early days of World War II,
In November 1943, the
Fleet Air Arm (FAA) units were created and equipped in the United
Quonset Point or Brunswick and then shipped to war theaters
aboard escort carriers. The first
From April 1944, Corsairs from the British Pacific Fleet took part in a several major air raids in South East Asia beginning with Operation Cockpit , an attack on Japanese targets at Sabang island, in the Dutch East Indies .
In July and August 1945, Corsair naval squadrons 1834, 1836, 1841 and
1842 took part in a series of strikes on the Japanese mainland, near
Tokyo. These squadrons operated from Victorious and Formidable. On 9
August 1945, days before the end of the war, Corsairs from Formidable
In all, out of 18 carrier-based squadrons, eight saw combat, flying intensive ground attack/interdiction operations and claiming 47.5 aircraft shot down.
At the end of World War II, under the terms of the Lend-Lease agreement, the aircraft had either to be paid for or to be returned to the U.S. As the UK did not have the means to pay for them, the Royal Navy Corsairs were pushed overboard into the sea in Moreton Bay off Brisbane, Australia.
Equipped with obsolete Curtiss P-40s , Royal
The first deliveries of lend-lease Corsairs began in March 1944 with
the arrival of 30 F4U-1s at the RNZAF Base Depot Workshops (Unit 60)
on the island of
Espiritu Santo in the
New Hebrides . From April,
these workshops became responsible for assembling all Corsairs for the
RNZAF units operating the aircraft in the South West Pacific; and a
Test and Despatch flight was set up to test the aircraft after
assembly. By June 1944, 100 Corsairs had been assembled and test
flown. The first squadrons to use the Corsair were 20 and 21
Squadrons on Espiritu Santo, operational in May 1944. The organization
of the RNZAF in the Pacific and
By the time the Corsairs arrived, there were very few Japanese
aircraft left in New Zealand's allocated sectors of the Southern
Pacific, and despite the RNZAF squadrons extending their operations to
more northern islands, they were primarily used for close support of
American, Australian, and
No. 14 Squadron was given new FG-1Ds and in March 1946 transferred to
Luftwaffe And Japanese Corsairs
On 18 July 1944, a British Corsair F4U-1A, JT404 of 1841 Naval Air
Squadron , was involved in anti-submarine patrol from HMS Formidable
en route to Scapa after
Operation Mascot (an attack on the German
battleship Tirpitz). It flew in company with a
Fairey Barracuda . Due
to technical problems the Corsair made an emergency landing in a field
Hamarøy north of
In 1945, U.S. forces captured an F4U Corsair near the Kasumigaura flight school. The Japanese had repaired it, covering damaged parts on the wing with fabric and using spare parts from crashed F4Us. It seems Japan captured two force-landed Corsairs fairly late in the war and may have even tested one in flight.
United States Navy
During the Korean War, the Corsair was used mostly in the close-support role. The AU-1 Corsair was developed from the F4U-5 and was a ground-attack version which normally operated at low altitudes: as a consequence the Pratt Folmar bailed out and was quickly rescued with little injury.
F4U-5N and -5NL Corsair night fighters were used to attack enemy
supply lines, including truck convoys and trains, as well as
interdicting night attack aircraft (such as the Polikarpov Po-2
"Bedcheck Charlies", which were used to harass United Nations forces
at night). The F4Us often operated with the help of C-47 'flare ships'
which dropped hundreds of 1,000,000 candlepower magnesium flares to
illuminate the targets. For many operations detachments of U.S. Navy
F4U-5Ns were posted to shore bases. The leader of one such unit,
More generally, Corsairs performed attacks with cannons, napalm tanks, various iron bombs and unguided rockets. The 5 inch HVAR was a reliable standby; sturdy Soviet-built armor proved resistant to the HVAR's punch, which led to a new 6.5 in (16.5 cm) shaped charge antitank warhead being developed. The result was called the "Anti-Tank Aircraft Rocket (ATAR)." The 11 inch (29.85 cm) "Tiny Tim" was also used in combat, with two under the belly.
Main article: Aéronavale
After the war, the
First Indochina War
The last production Corsair was the "F4U-7", which was built
specifically for the French naval air arm, the Aéronavale. The XF4U-7
prototype did its test flight on 2 July 1952 with a total of 94 F4U-7s
built for the
On 15 January 1953, Flotille 14F, based at Karouba Air Base near Bizerte in Tunisia, became the first Aéronavale unit to receive the F4U-7 Corsair. Flotille 14F pilots arrived at Da Nang on 17 April 1954, but without their aircraft. The next day, the carrier USS Saipan delivered 25 war-weary ground attack Ex-USMC AU-1 Corsairs (flown by VMA-212 at the end of the Korean War). During three months operating over Dien Bien Phu and Viêt-Nam, the Corsairs flew 959 combat sorties totaling 1,335 flight hours. They dropped some 700 tons of bombs and fired more than 300 rockets and 70.000 20mm rounds. Six aircraft were damaged and two shot down by Viet Minh.
In September 1954, F4U-7 Corsairs were loaded aboard the Dixmude and
brought back to
The 14.F and 15.F Flotillas also took part in the Anglo-French-Israeli seizure of the Suez Canal in October 1956, code-named Operation Musketeer . The Corsairs were painted with yellow and black recognition stripes for this operation. They were tasked with destroying Egyptian Navy ships at Alexandria but the presence of U.S. Navy ships prevented the successful completion of the mission. On 3 November, 16 F4U-7s attacked airfields in the Delta, with one corsair shot down by anti-aircraft fire. Two more Corsairs were damaged when landing back on the carriers. The Corsairs engaged in Operation Musketeer dropped a total of 25 tons of bombs, fired more than 500 rockets and 16,000 20mm rounds.
As soon as they disembarked from the carriers that took part in Operation Musketeer, at the end of 1956, all three Corsair Flotillas, moved to Telergma and Oran airfields in Algeria from where they provided CAS and helicopter escort. They were joined by the new " Flottille 17F ", established at Hyères in April 1958.
French F4U-7 Corsairs (with some loaned AU-1s) of the 12F, 14F, 15F and 17F Flotillas conducted missions during the Algerian War between 1955 and 1962. Between February and March 1958, several strikes and CAS missions were launched from the "Bois-Belleau ", the only carrier involved in the Algeria War. Former Argentine F4U-5NL in Aeronavale 14.F flotilla colors in 2006
In early 1959, the
Aéronavale experimented with the
Aéronavale used 163 Corsairs (94 F4U-7s and 69 AU-1s), the last
of them used by the
Cuers -based 14.F Flotilla were out of service by
September 1964, with some surviving for museum display or as civilian
warbirds . By the early 1960s, two new modern aircraft carriers, the
Clemenceau and the Foch, had entered service with the
Corsairs flew their final combat missions in 1969 during the
Football War " between
The conflict was allegedly triggered, though not really caused, by a
disagreement over a football (soccer) match. Captain Fernando Soto of
Honduran Air Force shot down three Salvadoran Air Force aircraft
on 17 July 1969. In the morning he shot down a
The Corsair entered service in 1942. Although designed as a carrier
fighter, initial operation from carrier decks proved to be
troublesome. Its low-speed handling was tricky due to the left wing
stalling before the right wing. This factor, together with poor
visibility over the long nose (leading to one of its nicknames, "The
Hose Nose"), made landing a Corsair on a carrier a difficult task. For
these reasons, most Corsairs initially went to Marine Corps squadrons
who operated off land-based runways, with some early Goodyear-built
examples (designated FG-1A) being built with fixed wings . The USMC
aviators welcomed the Corsair with open arms as its performance was
far superior to the contemporary
Brewster Buffalo and
Moreover, the Corsair was able to outperform the primary Japanese fighter, the A6M Zero . While the Zero could outturn the F4U at low speed, the Corsair was faster and could outclimb and outdive the A6M.
This performance advantage, combined with the ability to take severe punishment, meant a pilot could place an enemy aircraft in the killing zone of the F4U's six .50 (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine guns and keep him there long enough to inflict major damage. The 2,300 rounds carried by the Corsair gave just under 30 seconds of fire from each gun, which, fired in three to six-second bursts, made the F4U a devastating weapon against aircraft, ground targets, and even ships. Corsair on display at the National Air and Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
Beginning in 1943, the
Fleet Air Arm (FAA) also received Corsairs and
flew them successfully from
Infantrymen nicknamed the Corsair "The Sweetheart of the Marianas "
and "The Angel of Okinawa " for its roles in these campaigns. Among
Navy and Marine aviators, the aircraft was nicknamed "Ensign
Eliminator" and "Bent-Wing Eliminator" because it required many more
hours of flight training to master than other Navy carrier-borne
aircraft. It was also called simply "U-bird" or "Bent Wing Bird".
World War II
An early F4U-1 in flight.
During World War II, Corsair production expanded beyond
F4U-1 (CORSAIR MK I Fleet Air Arm ): The first production version of the Corsair with the distinctive "bird cage" canopy and low seating position. The differences over the XF4U-1 were as follows:
* Six .50 in (12.7 mm) Browning AN/M2 machine guns were fitted in the outer wing panels, displacing fuel tanks. * An enlarged 237 gal (897 l) fuel tank was fitted ahead of the cockpit, in place of the fuselage armament. The cockpit was moved back by 32 in (810 mm). * The fuselage was lengthened by 1 ft 5 in (0.43 m). * The more powerful R-2800-8 Double Wasp was fitted. * 150 pounds (68 kg) of armor plate was fitted to the cockpit and a 1.5 in (38 mm) bullet-resistant glass screen was fitted behind the curved windscreen. * IFF transponder equipment was fitted. * Curved transparent panels were incorporated into the fuselage behind the pilot's headrest. * The flaps were changed from deflector type to NACA slotted. * The span of the ailerons was increased while that of the flaps was decreased. * One 62 gal (234 l) auxiliary fuel cell (not a self-sealing type) was installed in each wing leading edge, just outboard of the guns.
F4U-1A (CORSAIR MK II
Fleet Air Arm ): The designation F4U-1A does
not appear in lists of Corsair Bureau Numbers and was not officially
used, being applied post-war to differentiate mid-to-late production
F4U-1s from the early production variant. Mid-to-late production
Corsairs incorporated a new, taller and wider clear-view canopy with
only two frames — very close to what the
Malcolm hood did for
British fighter aircraft — along with a simplified clear view
windscreen; the new canopy design meant that the semi-elliptical
Plexiglas rear-view dorsal turtledeck "flank" windows could be
omitted. The pilot's seat was raised 7 in (180 mm) which, combined
with the new canopy and a lengthened tailwheel strut, allowed the
pilot better visibility over the long nose. In addition to these
changes the clear view panels under the cockpit were also omitted.
These Corsairs introduced a 6 in (150 mm)-long stall strip just
outboard of the gun ports on the right wing leading edge and improved
undercarriage oleo struts which eliminated bouncing on landing, making
these the first "carrier capable" F4Us. Though the
In British service, the aircraft type was modified with "clipped" wings (8 in (200 mm) was cut off each wingtip) for use on British aircraft carriers, under the designation Corsair Mk II. A F3A-1 in a dive
F3A-1 (CORSAIR MK III Fleet Air Arm ): This was the designation for the Brewster -built F4U-1. Just over 700 were built before Brewster was forced out of business. Poor production techniques and ineffective quality control meant that these aircraft were red-lined for speed and prohibited from aerobatics after several lost their wings. This was later traced to poor quality wing fittings. None of the Brewster-built Corsairs reached front line units. In Fleet Air Arm service all Brewster-built Corsairs were designated Corsair III.
FG-1 (-1A all were based on the F4U-1D and were built in parallel with that variant. Intended for ground-attack as well as fighter missions, the F4U-1C was similar to the F4U-1D but its six machine guns were replaced by four 20 millimeter (0.79 in) AN/M2 cannons with 231 rounds of ammunition per gun. The F4U-1C was introduced to combat during 1945, most notably in the Okinawa campaign. Aviators preferred the standard armament of six .50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns since they were already more than powerful enough to destroy most Japanese aircraft, and had more ammunition and a higher rate of fire. The weight of the Hispano cannon and their ammunition affected the flight performance, especially its agility, but the aircraft was found to be especially potent in the ground attack role. A Goodyear-built FG-1D, with the later single-piece "blown" canopy used by the F4U-1D.
F4U-1D (CORSAIR MK II
Fleet Air Arm ): Built in parallel with the
F4U-1C, but was introduced in April 1944. It had the new -8W
water-injection engine. This change gave the aircraft up to 250 hp
(190 kW) more power, which, in turn, increased performance. Speed was
increased from 417 mph (671 km/h) to 425 mph (684 km/h). Due to the
U.S. Navy's need for fighter-bombers, it had a payload of rockets
double the -1A's, as well as twin-rack plumbing for an additional
belly drop tank. These modifications necessitated the need for rocket
tabs (attached to fully metal-plated underwing surfaces) and bomb
pylons to be bolted onto the fighter, causing extra drag. The extra
fuel carried by the two drop tanks would still allow the aircraft to
fly relatively long missions despite the heavy, un-aerodynamic loads.
A single piece "blown" clear-view canopy was adopted as standard
equipment for the -1D model, and all later F4U production aircraft.
Additional production was carried out by Goodyear (FG-1D) and Brewster
Fleet Air Arm service, both the
F4U-1P: A rare photo reconnaissance variant. F4U-2s aboard USS Intrepid (CV-11) . The radome on the right outer wing is just visible.
F4U-2: Experimental conversion of the F4U-1 Corsair into a
carrier-borne night fighter, armed with five .50 in (12.7 mm) machine
guns (the outboard, right gun was deleted), and fitted with Airborne
Intercept (AI) radar set in a radome placed outboard on the starboard
XF4U-3: Experimental aircraft built to hold different engines in
order to test the Corsair's performance with a variety of power
plants. This variant never entered service. Goodyear also contributed
a number of airframes, designated FG-3, to the project. A single
sub-variant XF4U-3B with minor modifications was also produced.
XF4U-3B, planned procurement for the
XF4U-4: New engine and cowling.
F4U-4: The last variant to see action during World War II, deliveries
to the U.S. Navy of the F4U-4 began late in 1944, and this version
fully equipped naval squadrons four months before the end of
hostilities. It had the 2,100 hp (1,600 kW) dual-stage-supercharged
-18W engine. When the cylinders were injected with the water/alcohol
mixture, power was boosted to 2,450 hp (1,830 kW). The aircraft
required an air scoop under the nose and the unarmored wing fuel tanks
of 62 gal (234 l) capacities were removed for better maneuverability
at the expense of maximum range. The propeller was changed to a four
blade type. Maximum speed was increased to 448 miles per hour (721
km/h) and climb rate to over 4,500 ft/min (1,180 m/min) as opposed to
the 2,900 ft/min (884 m/min) of the F4U-1A. The "4-Hog" retained the
original armament and had all the external load (i.e., drop tanks,
bombs) capabilities of the F4U-1D. The windscreen was now flat
bullet-resistant glass to avoid optical distortion, a change from the
Plexiglas windscreens with the internal plate glass of the
F4U-4B: 300 F4U-4s ordered with alternate gun armament of four 20 millimetres (0.79 in) AN/M3 cannon .
F4U-4E AND F4U-4N: Developed late in WWII, these night fighters featured radar radomes projecting from the right wingtip. The -4E was fitted with the APS-4 search radar, while the -4N was fitted with the APS-6 type. In addition, these aircraft were often refitted with four 20mm M2 cannons similar to the F4U-1C. Though these variants would not see combat during WWII, the night fighter variants would see great use during the Korean war.
F4U-4K: Experimental drone.
F4U-4P: As with the -1P, a rare photo reconnaissance variant.
F4U-5: A 1945 design modification of the F4U-4, first flown on 21 December 1945, was intended to increase the F4U-4 Corsair's overall performance and incorporate many Corsair pilots' suggestions. It featured a more powerful Pratt and Whitney R-2800-32(E) engine with a two-stage supercharger, rated at a maximum of 2,760 hp (2,060 kW). Other improvements included automatic blower controls, cowl flaps, intercooler doors and oil cooler for the engine, spring tabs for the elevators and rudder, a completely modernized cockpit, a completely retractable tail wheel, and heated cannon bays and pitot head. The cowling was lowered two degrees to help with forward visibility, but perhaps most striking as the first variant to feature all-metal wings (223 units produced). Maximum speed was 408 knots (470 mph) and max rate of climb at sea level 4,850 feet per minute.
F4U-5N: Radar equipped version (214 units produced)
F4U-5NL: Winterized version (72 units produced, 29 modified from F4U-5Ns (101 total)). Fitted with rubber de-icing boots on the leading edge of the wings and tail.
F4U-5P: Long-range photo-reconnaissance version (30 units produced) A factory-fresh AU-1, 1952.
F4U-6: Re-designated AU-1, this was a ground-attack version produced for the U.S. Marine Corps.
F4U-7 : AU-1 developed for the
FG-1E: Goodyear FG-1 with radar equipment.
FG-1K: Goodyear FG-1 as drone.
FG-3: Turbosupercharger version converted from FG-1D.
FG-4:Goodyear F4U-4, never delivered.
AU-1: U.S. Marines attack variant with extra armor to protect the pilot and fuel tank, and the oil coolers relocated inboard to reduce vulnerability to ground fire. The supercharger was simplified as the design was intended for low-altitude operation. Extra racks were also fitted. Fully loaded for combat the AU-1 weighed 20% more than a fully loaded F4U-4, and was capable of carrying 8,200 lb of bombs. The AU-1 had a maximum speed of 238 miles per hour at 9,500 ft, when loaded with 4,600 lb of bombs and a 150-gallon drop-tank. When loaded with eight rockets and two 150-gallon drop-tanks, maximum speed was 298 mph at 19,700 ft. When not carrying external loads, maximum speed was 389 mph at 14,000 ft. First produced in 1952 and used in Korea, and retired in 1957. Re-designated from F4U-6.
CORSAIR MK II: The Fleet Air Arm designation for Corsairs received from Vought. 360 “blown canopy” F4U-1As and 150 F4U-1D equivalent aircraft were delivered.
CORSAIR MK III: The Fleet Air Arm designation for Brewster manufactured Corsairs. 430 Brewster Corsairs (334 F3A-1 and 96 F3A-1D), more than half of Brewster’s total production, were delivered to the FAA.
CORSAIR MK IV: The Fleet Air Arm designation for Goodyear manufactured Corsairs. 857 Goodyear Corsairs (400 FG-1/-1A and 457 FG-1D) were delivered.
SUPER CORSAIR VARIANTS
Main article: Goodyear F2G Corsair
In March 1944, Pratt & Whitney requested a F4U-1 Corsair from Vought
Aircraft for evaluation of their new P"> Argentine F9F Cougar and
F4U Corsairs, 1960s Corsair FG-1D (Goodyear built F4U-1D) in
Royal New Zealand Air Force markings
* Argentine Naval Aviation operated 26 F4U-5/5N/5NL Corsairs from 1956 to 1968 from ARA Independencia
* Air Force of
* Honduran Air Force operated 19 from 1956 to 1979
* Royal New Zealand Air Force operated 368 F4U-1 and 60 FG-1D from 1944 to 1949
* No. 14 Squadron RNZAF * No. 15 Squadron RNZAF * No. 16 Squadron RNZAF * No. 17 Squadron RNZAF * No. 18 Squadron RNZAF * No. 19 Squadron RNZAF * No. 20 Squadron RNZAF * No. 21 Squadron RNZAF * No. 22 Squadron RNZAF * No. 23 Squadron RNZAF * No. 24 Squadron RNZAF * No. 25 Squadron RNZAF * No. 26 Squadron RNZAF
Main article: List of surviving
According to the
AU-1 Corsair Standard Aircraft Characteristics
Data from F4U-4 Detail Specification; F4U-4 Airplane Characteristics and Performance
* CREW: One * LENGTH: 33 ft 8 in (10.26 m) * WINGSPAN: 41 ft 0 in (12.50 m) * HEIGHT: 14 ft 9 in (4.50 m) * EMPTY WEIGHT: 9,205 lb (4,175 kg) * POWERPLANT: 1 × Pratt ">PERFORMANCE
* MAXIMUM SPEED: 446 mph (718 km/h; 388 kn) * STALL SPEED: 89 mph (143 km/h; 77 kn) * RANGE: 1,005 mi (873 nmi; 1,617 km) * COMBAT RANGE: 328 mi (285 nmi; 528 km) * SERVICE CEILING: 41,500 ft (12,600 m) * RATE OF CLIMB: 4,360 ft/min (22.1 m/s)
* 6 × 0.50 in (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine guns , 400 rounds per gun or * 4 × 0.79 in (20 mm) AN/M3 cannon , 231 rounds per gun
* ROCKETS: 8 × 5 in (12.7 cm) high velocity aircraft rockets and/or * BOMBS: 4,000 pounds (1,800 kg)
NOTABLE APPEARANCES IN MEDIA
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Flying Leathernecks (1951) starring
* Aviation portal
United States Navy
LTV A-7 Corsair II Related development
* F2G "Super Corsair"
W.A.R. F4U Corsair
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
* ^ A landing technique using a curving approach that kept the LSO
(landing signal officer) in view while coming aboard was developed by
* ^ A B C D E Rochotte, Léon C., Ramon Josa and Alexandre Gannier.
"Capitaine de Frégate (H): Les Corsair français." NetMarine.net,
1999. Retrieved: 14 July 2009.
* ^ A B Shettle 2001, p. 107.
* ^ O'Leary 1980, p. 116.
* ^ A B Donald 1995, p. 244.
* ^ Wilson 1996.
* ^ Pike, John. "F4U Corsair". www.globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 9
* ^ "Chance
* Abrams, Richard. F4U Corsair at War. London: Ian Allan Ltd., 1977.
ISBN 0-7110-0766-7 .
* Angelucci, Enzo with Peter M. Bowers. The American Fighter. New
York: Orion Books, 1985. ISBN 0-517-56588-9 .
* Barber, S.B. Naval Aviation Combat Statistics: World War II,
OPNAV-P-23V No. A129. Washington, D.C.: Air Branch, Office of Naval
* Bell, Dana. F4U-1 Corsair, Vol. 1, Aircraft Pictorial, No. 7.
Tucson: Classic Warships Publishing, 2014. ISBN 978-0-9857149-7-0 .
* Blackburn, Tom. The Jolly Rogers. New York: Orion Books, 1989.
ISBN 0-517-57075-0 .
* Bowman, Martin W.
* Núñez Padin, Jorge Felix.
* t * e
Aircraft produced by
* VE-7/VE-8/VE-9 * V-141 * V-143 * FU * XF2U * XF3U * F4U * XF5U * F6U * F7U * F8U/F-8 /XF8U-3 * Model 1600
SCOUT / ATTACK
* O2U * O3U * O4U * O5U * OS2U * XSO2U * SU * SBU * SB2U * XSB3U * TBU * AU * A2U * A-7 * YA-7F
EXPERIMENTAL / UNBUILT
* XC-142 * V-173 * XS2U * XWU
* O2U * SBU * F4U/AU * A-7 (II)
* Crusader (I/II) * Crusader III * Cutlass * Kingfisher * Pirate * Sea Wolf * Vindicator
* v * t * e
Aircraft produced by Goodyear
* RS-1 * Type AD * Type FA * Type FB * Type FC * Type FD * Type TZ * Type U * GZ-19 * GZ-20 * GZ-22
U.S. NAVY DESIGNATIONS
* E class * F class * G class * H class * J class * K class * L class * M class * N class
* AO-2 Inflatoplane * AO-3 Inflatoplane * FG Corsair * F2G Super Corsair * GA-400R Gizmo
* Duck * Drake * Inflatoplane
* v * t * e
Aircraft produced by Brewster Aeronautical Corporation
* SBA * SB2A * XA-32 * A-34
* F2A * F3A
* Bermuda * Buccaneer * Buffalo * Corsair
* v * t * e
United States Navy
General Aviation Brewster
* FA2 * F2A * F3A
* FB * F2B * F3B * F4B * F5B * F6B * F7B * F8B
* CF * F2C * F3C * F4C * F5C1 * F6C * F7C * F8C * F9C * F10C * F11C * F12C * F13C * F14C * F15C
* XFD * F2D2 * F3D * F4D * F5D * F6D
* FD * F2D * to "H"
* FF * F2F * F3F * F4F * F5F * F6F * F7F * F8F * F9F-1 to -5 * F9F-6 to -8 * F10F * F11F * F12F
* FG * F2G
* FG * F2G
* FH * F2H * F3H * F4H
Berliner-Joyce North American
* FJ * F2J * F3J
* FJ-1 * FJ-2/3 * FJ-4
* FL * YF2L-1 * F2L-1K * F3L
* FM * F2M * F3M
NAVAL AIRCRAFT FACTORY
* FO (I) * FO (II)
* FR * F2R * F3R
* FT * F2T
* FU * F2U * F3U * F4U * F5U * F6U * F7U * F8U * F8U-3
* WP * F2W * F3W
* FW2 * F2W2 * F3W2 * F4W
* FY * F2Y
* v * t * e
USN / USMC attack aircraft designations 1946–1962 by manufacturer
* AD * A2D * A3D * A4D
* AF * A2F
* AJ * A2J * A3J
* AU * A2U
* GND : 4243459-2
Links: ------ /wiki/Fighter_aircraft /wiki/World_War_II /wiki/Korean_War /wiki/Vought /wiki/Goodyear_Aerospace /wiki/Brewster_Aeronautical_Corporation /#cite_note-Shettle_p._107-2