Catalinas were used by Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Ecuador, Holland, Indonesia, Israel, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, South Africa, Soviet Union, and United States.
During the 1930s civilians used the PBYs for exploration in New Guinea and the Indian Ocean.
The PBY-1s were first assigned to the United States Navy VP-11F in October 1936.
By the end of 1941 there were 16 United States Navy squadrons outfitted with the PBY-5s and five with previous versions of the PBY.
112 PBY-6As were delivered to the United States Navy.
Once World War II started Australia, Britain, Canada, and Holland ordered Catalinas.
A Catalina spotted the Bismarck after it had eluded the Royal Navy.
Black Cats Squadron
During night actions against Japanese ships, the Black Cats not only dropped bombs and depth charges, but also empty beer bottles that made frightening whistles on their descent.
The United Kingdom ordered 685 PBY-4s and PBY-5s. Many of these were delivered to Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
In 1938 the Soviet Union purchased three PBY-3s along with a license to build them. They were operational until the 1950s.
The Soviet Union received 48 PBY-6As.
After World War II
The Catalina remained operational until the 1960s.