VOUGHT MODEL:  XF4U-5 AND F4U-5          

In 1945, the attention of the military aviation community turned to the turbo-jet-powered aircraft.  The U.S. Navy, however, had decided they would keep the Corsair  as their first-line fighter until the jet had been satisfactorily developed for carrier operations. 

The first post-war model, the F4U-5, was basically similar to the F4U-4 , it was a radical!y different aircraft in many re spects.  The air scoop under the engine cowling was removed, and replaced by two small scoops incorporated in the lower side of the cowling. Also, the outer wing panels were now fully covered with metal. The armament consisted of four 20mm cannon, as in the F4U-4B. The engine was the 2675hp R-2800-32W, with a variable-speed two-stage supercharger. The engine installation introduced a lowering of the thrustline by 2.75 degrees, which improved stability and forward view.

Perhaps the most noticeable difference was in the forward fuselage. The change to the R-2800-32W "E" series powerplant, with its two-stage, variabie-speed supercharger, necessitated the lengthening of the nose section by approximately ten inches. There has been conflicting information concerning the fuselage lengths of later Corsair variants in other publications. Official Navy and Vought manuals give the fuselage length of the F4U- 5, including the F4U-5N, F4U-5NL, and F4U-5P, as 34' 6.15". It is also the officiallength stated by the manuals for the AU-l . This compares to an officiallength of 33' 8.25" for the F4U-4, F4U-4B, and F4U- 7.

During F4U-4 production, three were modified as prototypes for the F4U-5 model and were designated XF4U-5.

On February 6, 1946, the Navy gave Chance Vought a letter-of-intent on the company’s proposal to build the F4U-5.The first XF4U-5 flew on 4 April 1946.The first production F4U-5 day fighter flew for the first time on May 12, 1947.

Equipped with a new Pratt and Whitney engine and a sidewheel supercharger, it was a high-altitude fighter, designed to fight at 45,000 feet.

The F4U-5 housed a R-2800-32W engine, developing approximately 2300 horsepower which was 200 horsepower more than the “C” engine used in the F4U-4.  The engine also maintained greater power to a higher critical altitude than did its predecessor. Maximum speed was listed at 469 miles per hour at 26800 feet, rate-of-climb was 3780 feet/min at sea level.

 

Other features included automatic controls for the supercharger, cowl flaps, intercooler doors, and oil cooler doors.  The combat power system was automatic. Pilot comfort was emphasized to a high degree in a completely modernized cockpit.

A redesigned cowl had air inlets at 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock. The entire outer-wing panels, for the first time on any Corsair, were metal covered. A substantial reduction in drag resulted.

 Spring tabs for use on the elevator and rudder controls reduced pilot effort as much as 40 percent.  Guns and pitot tubes were electrically heated.  The nose was dropped about 2 degrees to improve longitudinal stability and vision.

 Production began in 1946 with an order for 223. At that time, interest in night and all-weather fighters had grown to such an extent that the Navy ordered a large number of airplanes in the first group converted to night fighters the F4U-5N. The radar was again, as in the F4U-2, installed on the outer starboard wing. The radome was different in shape, however, betraying the presence of the improved AN/APS-6 and later AN/APS-19A radar set. The AN/APS-6 radar had a range of 8km against aircraft, and 37km against ships.

 

The F4U-5NL was a winterized version of the F4U-5N airplane. It was basically the same as the F4U-5 airplane except that it included provisions for both night-fighter and cold weather operations. The winterization facilities are identified by the installation of de-ice boots on the wings and empennage, and de-ice shoes on the propeller blades.

The F4U-5P was a long-range photo-reconnaissance airplane and was equipped with a unique rotating camera mount.

Despite the 45000-foot high-altitude capability, in actual use the F4U-5 would not require such an option.  Its combat would be nearly all low-level, where the tremendous payload was eminently useful.  When necessary, over 5000 pounds of ordnance could be carried on the twin underwing pylons and the centerline rack. And there were times when it was necessary.

When the North Koreans invaded South Korea in June of 1950, the veteran Corsairs went back into combat. They were assigned the task of flying low-level attack and ground support missions. 

Production included 223 F4U-5s, 214 F4U-5Ns, and 30 F4U-5P reconnaissance models. In addition 101 winterized F4U-5NLs were built, with de-icing booths for service in the bitter winters of Korea. Production continued until October 1951.

In the late 1950s the US delivered a small number of F4U-5s and F4U-5Ns to the Argentine Navy.

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XF4U-5 Vought Corsair (*)