USA: Warplanes of the Second World War preserved: Lockheed P2V Harpoon

Lockheed P2V Harpoon

The PV-2 Harpoon was a major redesign of the Ventura with the wing area increased from 551 ft2 (51.2 m2) to 686 ft2 (63.7 m2) giving an increased load-carrying capability, and which first flew on 3 December 1943. The motivation for redesign was weaknesses in the PV-1, which had shown itself to have problems in taking off when carrying a full load of fuel. On the PV-2, the armament became standardized at five forward-firing machine guns. Many early PV-1s had a bombardier's position, which was deleted in the PV-2. Some other significant developments included the increase of the bombload by 30% to 4,000 lb (1,800 kg), and the ability to carry eight 5-inch (127 mm) HVAR rockets under the wings.

While the PV-2 was expected to have increased range and better takeoff, the anticipated speed statistics were projected lower than those of the PV-1, due to the use of the same engines but an increase in weight. The Navy ordered 500 examples, designating them with the popular name Harpoon. Early tests indicated a tendency for the wings to wrinkle dangerously. As this problem could not be solved by a 6 ft (1.8 m) reduction in wingspan (making the wing uniformly flexible), a complete redesign of the wing was necessitated. This hurdle delayed entry of the PV-2 into service. The PV-2s already delivered were used for training purposes under the designation PV-2C. By the end of 1944, only 69 PV-2s had been delivered. They finally resumed when the redesign was complete. The first aircraft shipped were the PV-2D, which had eight forward-firing machine guns and was used in ground attacks. When the Second World War ended, all of the order was cancelled.

With the wing problems fixed, the PV-2 proved reliable, and eventually popular. It was first used in the Aleutians by VP-139, one of the squadrons that originally used the PV-1. It was used by a number of countries after the war's end, but the United States ceased ordering new PV-2s, and they were all soon retired from service. (Wikipedia)

(USAAF Photo)

Lockheed B-37. The bomber was also used by the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF), which designated it the Lockheed B-34 (Lexington) and B-37 as a trainer.


Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon (BuNo. 37107), Bruce Graham in Orange, California. Airworthy.

Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon (BuNo. 37202), in storage at the Fantasy of Flight in Polk City, Florida.

Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon (BuNo. 37211), Palm Springs Air Museum in Palm Springs, California. Airworthy.

(NMNA Photo)

(Greg Goebel Photo)

Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon (BuNo. 37230), National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola, Florida.

Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon (BuNo. 37254), Southwest Aviation Inc. of Fairacres, New Mexico. Airworthy.

Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon (BuNo. 37257), Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona.

Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon (BuNo. 37270), being restored to airworthy status by the Wingspan Air Heritage Foundation in Mesa, Arizona.

Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon (BuNo. 37396), American Military Heritage Foundation in Indianapolis, Indiana. Airworthy.

Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon (BuNo. 37466), Heritage Aircraft Preservation Group in Orange, California. Airworthy.

Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon (BuNo. 37472), Warbird Warriors Foundation in Heber City, Utah. Airworthy.

Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon (BuNo. 37492), painted yellow and marked "Air Tropic Island Charters" at Mayday Golf in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon (BuNo. 37535), Erickson Aircraft Collection in Madras, Oregon. Airworthy.

Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon (BuNo. 37633), Wingspan Air Heritage Foundation in Mesa, Arizona. Airworthy.

Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon (BuNo. 37634), Lone Star Flight Museum in Galveston, Texas, TBC. Airworthy.

Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon (BuNo. 84060), in storage at the Cavanaugh Flight Museum in Addison, Texas.

Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon (BuNo. 84062), Stockton Field Aviation Museum in Stockton, California. Airworthy.

Lockheed B-34 Lexington (Serial No. 41-38032), being restored for static display by NAS Sanford Memorial Committee at the Orlando Sanford International Airport's NAS Sanford Memorial Park, Sanford, Florida. This aircraft is on loan from the National Naval Aviation Museum.

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