PV-2 Harpoon N7265C, BuNo. 37396,
operated by the American Military Heritage Foundation in Indiana, USA.
History: The Lockheed Company's early
success in WWII with their Hudson bomber (a derivative of their Model 14 Super Electra
used by the Royal Air Force) led them to propose a specialized bomber and reconnaissance
version of their Model 18 Lodestar. Lockheed designated the new
prototype the Model 37, and after a brief trial period, the RAF
ordered a total of 675 of them, calling the new aircraft the Ventura.
They were larger, heavier, carried a larger bomb load, and had better armament than the
Hudson, and entered RAF service on 3 November 1942. Very quickly, the Ventura's
limitations as a daylight bomber became apparent, as a large number were lost to enemy
fire. They were turned over to RAF Coastal Command for domestic defense duties, and more
than half of the original order was cancelled.
These spare planes were acquired by the US Army Air Force,
designated as B-34s and B-37s, and
were assigned to maritime patrol duties. The US Navy also placed an order, and their first
airplanes were designated PV-1 Ventura. In June 1943, the Navy
ordered a long-range, slightly-redesigned version, and this version became the PV-2
Harpoon. At least 2,100 navalized Venturas and Harpoons were delivered
before the end of the war, and the total number of deliveries to all customers exceeded
3,000. Venturas, especially, were delivered to a number of other nations, including
Brazil, France, and all the Commonwealth nations.
PV-1s and PV-2 saw combat in the Pacific Theater, and served
in the US Naval Reserve until the late 1940s. Some surplus models were supplied to nations
such as Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Portugal and Peru. Quite a few others were
converted into civilian VIP transport aircraft by Howard Aero Services in the USA, and
others were converted into mosquito-spray planes. Now, only a few remain airworthy as
Nicknames: Pregnant Pig (RAF
nickname); Lexington (USAAF designation for B-34s and B-37s)
Engines: Two 2,000-hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800-31 radial piston engines.
Weight: Empty 20,197 lbs., Max
Takeoff 31,077 lbs.
Wing Span: 65ft. 6in.
Length: 51ft. 9in.
Height: 11ft. 11in.
322 mph at 13,800 ft.
Range: 1,360 miles
Armament: Two 12.7-mm (0.5-inch)
forward-firing machine guns; two more in dorsal turret; two 7.72-mm (0.3-inch) machine
guns in ventral turret; plus up to 3,000 lbs. of bombs or depth charges, or one torpedo.
Number Built: 3,028 (Total Venturas and
Number Still Airworthy:
American Military Heritage
Foundation -- Harpoon N7265C page
Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon Site -- A very
Portuguese PV-2 Harpoon
Scuba Dive Report:
PV-2 Wreck in Lake Washington
Wisconsin CAF PV-2D Restoration
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