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History: First flown on 17 May 1945, the
Neptune was designed as a maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare aircraft, and this
dictated that it have extreme endurance and range, in addition to a large internal weapons
bay, defensive capabilities and good short-field capability. Its design featured
high-aspect ratio wings, a large fuel load and powerful engines -- a combination which
eventually resulted in a production Neptune setting a world distance record of 11,235
miles in 1946, by flying nonstop and un-refueled from Perth, Australia to Columbus, Ohio,
Although the Neptune just missed involvement in WWII, it was
used extensively in both the Korean War and the Vietnam War, becoming the standard
Anti-Submarine Warfare platform for not only the USA but the Netherlands, Japan and many
other nations. In addition to the first production model, the P2V-1,
many, many additional variants were produced, serving in such roles as Airborne Early
Warning (P2V-3W / P-2D), Nuclear weapons carrier (P2V-3C),
VIP transport (P2V-3Z), Special-sensor aircraft (OP-2E/AP-2E),
Drone controller (DP-2E / DP-2H), crew trainer (TP-2F),
Antarctic ski-plane (LP-2J), Electronic surveillance (RB-69A),
Target tug (UP-2J) and Gunship (AP-2H).
Today, at least 40 P-2s still serve in civilian roles, mostly
as firebombers in the USA. A few are pure warbirds, providing their proud owners with the
great range, endurance and utility that defined the Neptune's success while in military
Nicknames: Owashi ("Giant
Eagle") (Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force designation); Firestar
(SP-2H fire-bomber developed by Aero Union, Chico, California.)
Specifications (P2V-7 / P-2H):
Engines: Two 3,500-hp Wright R-3350-32 turbo-compound radial piston engines, plus two
3,400-lb thrust Westinghouse J34-WE-36 auxiliary turbojets.
Weight: Empty 49,935 lbs., Max
Takeoff 79,895 lbs.
Wing Span: 103ft. 10in.
Length: 91ft. 8in.
Height: 29ft. 4in.
403 mph at 14,000 ft.
Range: 3,685 miles
Armament: Two 12.7-mm (0.5-inch) machine
guns in dorsal turret, plus rack for underwing rockets, and up to 8,000 lbs of bombs,
depth charges or torpedoes.
Number Built: 1,181.
Number Still Airworthy: ~40.
French Fleet Air
Flight of P2V #14" -- Photo essay by "Buzz"
Mid Atlantic Air Museum's P2V Page
Neptune Aviation Services, Missoula, Montana -- Firefighting Neptunes.
Neptunes and Atlantics Site: Neptune Page
P2VNeptune.com -- The definitive
site for Neptune information!
P2V Research Project Pages
VAQ-34 Squadron's P2V Page
VPNAVY.org (U.S. Navy Patrol Squadrons site)
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Doublestar Group, unless otherwise noted.
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