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United States' Vought F4U Corsair fighter

Photos

  • Vought F4U Corsair fighter
  • Vought F4U-1 Corsair fighter
  • Vought F4U-1 Corsair fighter
  • Vought F4U Corsiar fighter

Design

The Vought F4U Corsair was to meet a United States Navy specification for a carrier based fighter. It was designed by Rex Beisel / Rex B. Beisel / Tex B. Beisel in 1938. Vought designed a plane that would contain the most powerful engine at the time.

The F4U was the first United States Navy plane to go 400 mph / 644 kph.

Cockpit

During prototype development the internal configuration was altered which caused the cockpit to be moved back three feet. The cockpit was set behind the wing which caused problems with the poor view over the nose.

Fuselage

The nose of the Corsair had the self sealing fuel tank.

The F4U's fuselage was all metal with spot welding which gave a smooth skin.

Engine

The F4U's engine drove a 13' / 13' 3" / 4.04 m Hamilton Standard propeller. This propeller was one of the largest for a fighter at the time. This caused the design to have the inverted gull wings so that the propeller to clear the ground with the landing gear.

F4U-4 Engine

The F4U-4 had a 2,450 HP engine installed. It used water injection.

Prototype

The United States Navy ordered a prototype, XF4U-1, on June 30, 1938.

The XF4U-1 was first flown on May 29, 1940. During a flight on October 1, 1940, the prototype was the first American fighter to exceed 400 mph.

The F4U-4 prototype was converted from an F4U-1 and flew on April 19, 1944.

Production

An order for 584 / 585 F4U-1s was placed on June 30, 1941. 178 of these were delivered by the end of 1942.

In September 1942 trials were conducted on the USS Sangamon. It was decided that the F4U-1 wasn't suited for carrier operations and was to be issued to Marine Corps land based units.

The first F4U-1 production fighter flew on June 25, 1942.

The first F4U-4 production model flew on September 20, 1944. Deliveries began in late 1944 to the United States Navy.

  • Vought XF4U: 1
  • Vought XF4U-3: 1
    • Manufacturer: Vought
  • Vought F4U-1: 4,102, 4,120
    • Manufacturer: Vought
  • Vought F4U-1, Vought F4U-1A, Vought F4U-1C, Vought F4U-1D: 4,699
    • Manufacturer: Vought
  • Vought F4U-1C: 200
  • Goodyear FG-1: 3,808
    • Manufacturer: Goodyear
    • Export: Britain's Fleet Air Arm - 2,012, New Zealand - 370
  • Goodyear FG-1, Goodyear FG-1D: 4,007
    • Manufacturer: Goodyear
  • Goodyear FG-3: 1
    • Manufacturer: Goodyear
  • Brewster F3A-1: 735
    • Manufacturer: Brewster
  • Brewster F3A-1, Brewster F3A-1D: 738
    • Manufacturer: Brewster
  • Vought F4U-1 series, Brewster F3A-1 series, Goodyear FG-1 series: 13,385
  • Vought F4U-4: 1,912 (by September 1945), 2,356, 2,357
    • Manufacturer: Vought
    • Production: ? - 1947
  • Goodyear FG-4: 200
    • Manufacturer: Goodyear
  • Vought F4U-4B: 294, 297
    • Manufacturer: Vought
  • Vought F4U-4N: 1
    • Manufacturer: Vought
  • Vought F4U-4P: 4, 9
    • Manufacturer: Vought
  • Vought F4U-5: 223, 509
    • Production: Post World War II
  • Vought F4U-5N/NI: 315
    • Production: Post World War II
  • Vought F4U-5P: 30
    • Production: Post World War II
  • Vought AU-1: 110, 111
    • Production: Post World War II, 1951 - 1952
  • Vought F4U-7: 94
    • Production: Post World War II, ? - December 1952
  • Total: 12,571, 12,681, 14,346
    • Manufacturer: Brewster, Goodyear, Vought, United Aircraft Company, Vought Division of United Aircraft Corp.
    • Manufacturing location: Stratford, Connecticut
    • Production: 1942 - 1952
  • Vought F2G: 8
    • Manufacturer: Goodyear

Variants

  • Vought V-166B: Designed around XR-2800-4 engine (2,000 HP).
  • Vought XF4U-1: Prototype.
  • Vought XF4U-2: Night fighter prototype.
  • Vought XF4U-3, Goodyear FG-3: Design work began in 1942. Had turbo chargers installed. Prototype not completed until 1946.
  • Vought XF4U-5: Developed in 1946. R-2800-34W engine with two stage supercharger (2,850 HP).
  • Vought XF4U-6: Prototype close air support for Marine Corps. Work started in 1949. In 1951 designated the XAU-1. Could carry 4,000 lb of ordnance. Additional armor protection.
  • Vought F4U-1: Had the cockpit moved to the rear 3' compared to the prototype.
  • Vought F4U-1A: Raised the cockpit and canopy had a clear view. Available in mid-1943. Main gear and tail wheel improved. In mid-1944 was cleared for carrier operations.
  • Vought F4U-1B: Developed for Britain.
  • Vought F4U-1C: Had four 20 mm cannons. Cockpit was raised to provide better views for the pilot.
  • Vought F4U-1D: Fighter bomber. More powerful engine. Heavier armament. Had clipped wing tips. Available April 1944.
  • Vought F4U-1P: Photo reconnaissance.
  • Goodyear FG-1: Goodyear license built. Land based only, without folding wings.
  • Goodyear FG-1D: Same as F4U-1D.
  • Brewster F3A-1: Brewster license built. Land based only, without folding wings.
  • Brewster F3A-1:
  • Brewster F3A-1D: Same as F4U-1D.
  • Vought F4U-2: Night fighter. Starboard wing mounted pod radar. 32 converted from F4U-1s.
  • Vought F4U-2: Modified F4U-1 with autopilot and radar mounted in the wing. 32 were converted in 1943.
  • Vought F4U-3: Turbo charged Pratt & Whitney R-2800. Could hold 2,000 HP up to 40,000' / 12,190 m.
  • Vought F4U-4:
  • Vought F4U-4B: Four 20 mm cannons in wings.
  • Vought F4U-4N: Night fighter. Had radar.
  • Vought F4U-4P: Photo reconnaissance.
  • Vought F2G: Prototype. Had Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major, 28 cylinder radial engine (3,000 HP).
  • Vought F4U-5: Fighter bomber. Post World War II. Engine was more powerful. Armament was increased.
  • Vought F4U-5N/NI: Night fighter.
  • Vought F4U-5P: Photo reconnaissance.
  • Vought F4U-6 / Vought AU-1: Specialized attack aircraft. Post World War II.
  • Vought F4U-7: Last production model. Delivered to France in 1953.

Usage

Best Kill:Loss Ratio

The Corsair attained a 11:1 kill:loss ratio in the Pacific during World War II while only losing 169 planes of their own. 2,140 enemy aircraft were shot down by Corsairs. Corsairs went on 64,051 missions in the Pacific.

Land Based Beginnings

Even though the Corsair was designed to be a carrier based fighter it spent the first part of its combat life as a land based fighter. Many in the United States Navy felt it was unsuitable for carrier operations. In April 1944 the Corsair was finally cleared for carrier operation with the US fleet.

First Units

In October 1942 the VF-12 was the first to be outfitted with the F4U-1.

The US Marine Corps VMF-124, at Guadalcanal, was the first to use the Corsair in combat on February 13, 1943. This combat occurred over Bougainville.

In September 1943, the VF-17, land based, was United States Navy squadron equipped with the F4U.

Night Fighters

The XF4U-2 was used by the VFN-75 and VFN-101 as a night fighter late in the war.

United States

The United States' carriers first used the Corsair regularly in 1944 / January 1945.

Korean War Success

A Corsair night fighter pilot was the only one to become an ace during the Korean War that didn't fly a F-86 Sabre.

A Corsair pilot shot down a MiG-15 jet.

End of Service

The last Corsair to be withdrawn from active service was in 1965.

F4U-1

The F4U-1 Corsair was used by Britain, New Zealand, and the United States.

New Zealand

New Zealand used the 364 / 370 F4U-1As and F4U-1Ds primarily for close support.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom flew the Corsair from their carriers for the first time in 1943.

The HMS Victorious first used the Corsair IIs in combat.

The No. 1834 Squadron first used the Corsair in combat in a mission against the Tirpitz on April 3, 1944.

How many received by Lend Lease:

  • Corsair Mk I (F4U-1): 95
  • Corsair Mk II (F4U-1A): 510
  • Corsair Mk III (F4U-1D, F3A-1): 430
  • Corsair Mk IV (FG-1): 977
  • Total: 2,012, 2,382

United States Carrier Operations

In January 1945 the first F4U-1Ds and FG-1Ds were used from American carriers.

F4U-4

The United States used the F4U-4 Corsair. Only a few were used against the Japanese. Deliveries started in October 1944.

Specifications

  Vought F4U-1 Corsair
Type Carrier fighter, Carrier fighter bomber, Fighter
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Pratt & Whitney Double Wasp
Pratt & Whitney R-2800-8 Double Wasp piston
OR Pratt & Whitney R-2800-8W Double Wasp, water injected
Cylinders Radial, Radial 18
Cooling Air
HP 2,000
-8: 2,000
-8W: 2,250
Propeller blades 3
Dimensions  
Span 40', 40' 11.75", 41'
12.49 m, 12.5 m
Length 30', 33' 4", 33' 4.5"
10.16 m, 10.17 m
Height 15' 0.25", 15' 1", 16' 1"
4.58 m, 4.9 m
Wing area 314 sq ft
29.17 sq m
Weight  
Empty 8,982 lb
4,074 kg
Loaded 9,000 lb, 14,000 lb
6,350 kg
Performance  
Speed 400 mph
Speed at 19,900' / 6,065 m / 6,066 m 417 mph
671 kph
Cruising speed 182 mph
293 kph
Climb 2,890'/minute, 3,120'/minute
881 m/minute, 950 m/minute
Service ceiling 36,900'
11,245 m, 11,247 m, 11,250 m
Range 1,015 miles
1,633 km
Armament 6: MG
Wings 6: 12.7 mm / 0.5" MG
  Vought F4U-1A Corsair
Type Fighter
Carrier fighter
Fighter bomber
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Pratt & Whitney R-2800-8 Double Wasp piston
Cylinders Radial 18
HP 2,000
Propeller blades 3
Fuel quantity - nose 237 gallons
896 liters
Dimensions  
Span 41'
12.49 m
Length 33' 5"
10.16 m
Height 15' 1"
4.9 m
Wing area 314 ft2
29.17 m2
Weight  
Empty 9,000 lb
4,074 kg
Loaded 14,000 lb
6,350 kg
Performance  
Speed at 20,000' / 6,605 m 417 mph
671 kph
Service ceiling 37,000'
11,247 m
Range 1,010 miles
1,650 km
Armament  
Wings 6: 12.7 mm Browning M2 MG
outboard - 400 rounds per gun
inboard - 375 rounds per gun
Bombs or
Rockets
4,000 lb
1,800 kg
  Vought F4U-1D Corsair, F3A-1D Corsair, FG-1D Corsair
Type Fighter bomber
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Pratt & Whitney R-2800-8W water injected,
Pratt & Whitney R-2800-8W Double Wasp
Cylinders Radial 18
Cooling Air
HP 2,000, 2,250
Propeller blades 3 Hamilton-Standard Hydromatic constant speed
Dimensions  
Span 40' 11", 41'
12.5 m
Length 33' 4"
10.15 m
Height 15' 1"
Weight  
Empty 8,873 lb
4,025 kg
Loaded 13,120 lb, 14,000 lb
6,350 kg
Performance  
Speed at 20,000' 425 mph
Service ceiling 37,000'
Range 1,015 miles
Armament 6: MG
Wings 6: 0.5" MG
Bombs 2: 1,000 lb
2,000 lb
2: 454 kg
OR  
Rockets 8
8: 127 mm / 5"
  Vought F4U-4 Corsair
Type Carrier fighter, Fighter bomber
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Pratt & Whitney R-2800-18W Double Wasp
OR Pratt & Whitney R-2800-18W Double Wasp water methanol
Cylinders Radial 18
HP Dry: 2,100
Water methanol: 2,450
2,450
Propeller blades 4, 4 constant speed
Dimensions  
Span 40' 11.75", 41'
12.49 m
Length 33' 8"
10.26 m
Height 14' 9"
4.5 m
Wing area 314 ft2
Weight  
Empty 9,205 lb
4,175 kg
Loaded 14,670 lb
6,654 kg
Performance  
Speed at 26,200' / 7,985 m 446 mph
718 kph
Cruising speed 215 mph
346 kph
Climb 3,870'/minute
1,180 m/minute
Service ceiling 41,500'
12,650 m
Range 1,005 miles
1,617 km
Range - loaded 1,005 miles
Range - max 1,560 miles
Armament  
Wings 6: 0.5" MG
6: .50 cal MG
Bombs 2: 1,000 lb
2,000 lb
2: 454 kg
OR  
Rockets 8
2: 11.75"
6: HVAR

 

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, General Editor: Jim Winchester, 2004
  2. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  3. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  4. World War II Airplanes Volume 2, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  5. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
  6. American Attack Aircraft Since 1926, E. R. Johnson, 2012
  7. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  8. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Bill Gunston, 1989
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site