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PV-2 Harpoon - Naval Aviation Centennial

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PV-2 Harpoon flyby at Naval Centennial Celebration

PV-2 Harpoon flyby at Naval Aviation Centenial February 12, 2011

First delivered to the military in 1944, the PV-2 was an over-water patrol bomber which was also used for anti-submarine patrol, ground attack, and search and rescue missions.

According to Alan Carey in PV Ventura/Harpoon Units of World War 2, (p.30), “VPB-139 [stationed on Attu, the western most island in the Aleutians] was the first PV-2-equipped unit to see combat... On 6 April [1945] the Harpoon made its long-awaited combat debut against the Japanese with a rocket attack on Kokutan Zaki.” (Kokutan Zaki is located at the northern tip of Shimushu Island in the Kuriles just south of the Kamchatka peninsula.

The aircraft pictured above was part of the air show during the Naval Centennial Celebration. Her nose art is Attu Warrior, featuring a female warrior with a spear, running alongside a polar bear.

Harpoon static display at Naval Centennial air show

Powered by two R-2800, 2000 horse power radial engines, the Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon patrol bomber saw brief service by the U.S. Navy during World War II. According to the announcer during the flyby, at the time the Harpoon was being built, the Army was trying to control all aircraft production and wanted the engines allocated for this aircraft to be diverted to the B-29 Super Fortress assembly lines. The Navy agreed, provided that the Army would stop opposing the existence of separate naval aviation. Photos above right and below left, are of a PV-2 Harpoon on static display during the Naval Aviation Centennial.

PV-2 Harpoon static dislay at Naval Centennial Celebration

The PV-2 Harpoon was an improved version of the PV-1 Ventura, with a redesigned fuselage, greater wingspan, increased bomb-load capacity, and greater armament. Initial tests of the aircraft showed a problem with the wings which was eventually remedied with a new wing assembly.

Designed for a crew of five, the Harpoon was armed with nine 50 caliber machine guns: five fixed guns in the nose, two guns in the top turret, and two guns under the fuselage. Bomb load capacity was 3,000 pounds plus 2,000 pounds under the wings. With a maximum speed of approximately 300 mph and a normal range of 1700 miles, its maritime patrols could last 8 to 16 hours. After WWII, production ceased for the PV-2.

The short video clip below of the PV-2 Harpoon "Attu Warrior" was taken during the Naval Aviation Centennial "Parade of Flight".