One of the more successful aircraft designs during the World War 2 was the B-24 Liberator which was designed for the US Army Air Corps. However, the US Navy had a requirement for a dedicated maritime patrol plane and decided to use the USAAF’s B-24 Liberator’s design as the foundation for the new aircraft. The first derivation from the Liberator was the PB4Y-1 Liberator which became successful as a long-range anti-submarine bomber. However, since the PB4Y-1 Liberator’s design did not differ from the original B-24 Liberator, the PB4Y proved to be a tiring aircraft during long flights. Only 24 planes of the PB4Y-1 were ever produced before the US Navy further developed the design to achieve the PB4Y-2 Privateer.
In order to develop the PB4Y, the US Navy took three B-24 planes off the production line and made adjustments to its design which included a longer fuselage, an increased defensive in terms of armaments, and modified engine cowlings. The PB4Y-2 Privateer was also fitted with a distinctive, single vertical tail which proved to have increased the aircraft’s capabilities in low flying with an increased range of 2,800 miles.
The first three prototype of the PB4Y-2’s were fitted with four high-wing mounted radial piston engines that were developed by the Pratt&Whitney Company. Defensive armaments included 12 x 12.7mm heavy caliber machine guns that were mounted in the nose, tail, waist and dorsal positions. The Privateer also featured an increased bomb capacity of up to 12,800 lbs.
The PB4Y-2 Privateer was fielded during the final half of the World War however; this WW2 US aircraft was later used in the Korean War and the Cold War as well. During the Korean War, the Privateer earned the nickname “Lamp Lighter” as they were used in “Firefly” missions of dropping parachute flares. The Privateer was also the first US aircraft to be shot down by Soviet forces during the Cold War.
The total production count of the Privateer was well-over 1,300 aircrafts that served the US Navy until it was retired in 1960. A small number of the Privateer was used for as fire-bombers until 2002.
|Allied Codename:||Privateer / Lamp Lighter|
|Type:||eleven-man crew long-ranged patrol bomber|
|Design:||Ford Motor Company|
|Engine(s):||4 x Pratt & Whitney R-1830-94 Twin Wasp 14-cylinder radial piston engines|
|Max Speed:||462 km/h (287 mph; 249 knots)|
|Max Range:||2,796 nautical miles (4,500 km)|
|Ceiling:||6,300 meters (20,669 feet; 3.9 miles)|
|Loaded Weight:||65,003 lbs|
|ARMAMENTS||2 x 12.7mm machine guns in forward dorsal turret
2 x 12.7mm machine guns in rearward dorsal turret
2 x 12.7mm machine guns in nose turret
2 x 12.7mm machine guns in tail turret
2 x 12.7mm machine guns in left waist blister position
2 x 12.7mm machine guns in right waist blister position
Up to 12,800lbs of internal stores.