Aviation of World War II

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OS2U Kingfisher

Marine Reconnaissance Spotter


Vought OS2U Kingfisher

OS2U Kingfisher . The first prototype of the XOS2U-1 machine, built with a wheeled chassis, four months later, on July 20, 1938, XOS2U-1 changed its wheels to floats and took off. The tests showed the insufficient directional stability of the aircraft, the problems with which were solved already only on production models. The first pre-production seaplane, designated OS2U-1, was rolled out of the assembly shop in April 1940, and launched into serial production, 54 aircraft were produced in eight months of 1940.

At the beginning of 1941, serial production of a new modification OS2U-2 with an R985-50 455 hp engine began. This version was produced for no more than six months, and all aircraft ordered by the armed forces (158 units) ended up in coastal units.

The OS2U design was a two-seat single-engine monoplane of an all-metal design with a mid-wing and single-fin tail unit. A combined sight Mk III-2 was installed in the front of the cockpit canopy. The instrumental equipment made it possible to fly day and night, in simple and difficult meteorological conditions. The instrument panel and cockpit panels were illuminated in red. The dashboard, right and left cockpit panels were illuminated in red.

Behind the cockpit there was an observer pilot's (radio operator's gunner) cockpit, a radio station, navigation equipment and devices that duplicated the pilot's were installed there. An inflatable rescue boat was located in the compartment behind the observer's cabin.

OS2U-3. The approach of war made the designers think about the survivability of the aircraft. The cockpit of the pilot and the observer was closed with armor plates, and sealed fuel tanks were installed. The total fuel supply was increased by installing two more tanks in the root of the wing. On May 17, 1941, OS2U-3 took off. Before the start of the war with Japan, 368 aircraft of the third modification were produced.

In the US Navy, only a small number of "kingfishers" served until the end of the war. In addition to the USA, Great Britain and Holland, OS2U were in service with the countries of Latin America: Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Mexico and the Dominican Republic. There were two planes in the USSR.

A total of 722 Kingfishers were built.

Specification OS2U-3
Crew 2
Wing span, m 10.95
Wing area, m² 24.34
Length, m 10,31
Height, m 4.61
Силовая установка
PE Pratt Whitney R-985-AN-2 Wasp Junior, power, hp 450
Weight, kg:
Empty weight 1,870
Gross weight 2,722
Maximum speed, km/h 292
Cruising speed, km/h 264
Service ceiling, m 3,960
Service range, km 1,296

Armament. Two 7.62 mm Colt Browning machine guns, one motionless, synchronized, firing forward with 500 rounds of ammunition. A machine gun with 600 rounds of ammunition on a tape in a removable box, 2x45 kg bombs or one 147 kg depth charge was attached to the turret in the observer's cabin to protect the rear hemisphere.

Photo Description
Drawing Vough OS2U Kingfisher Drawing Vough OS2U Kingfisher
Vough OS2U Kingfisher modifications drawing
Vough OS2U-3 in the USSR aboard the cruiser Murmansk Vough OS2U-3 in the USSR aboard the cruiser "Murmansk"

In the spring of 1944, as part of the division of captured Italian ships, the Americans temporarily provided the USSR with the light cruiser Milwaukee, on August 24, 1944, renamed Murmansk, the cruiser arrived at the Northern Fleet. The cruiser had two OS2U-3s on board. The vehicles were mastered by our naval pilots and successfully operated in the North. They did not participate in combat operations (since the "Murmansk" was mainly anchored in Arkhangelsk), but made training and various auxiliary flights. I.A. Platonov, who made several sorties in the Kingfisher (including with ejection), said that the American seaplane made a rather ordinary impression, but did not have significant defects in piloting. Milwaukee, together with the planes, were returned to the Americans in 1947.


  • Aircraft of the Second World War. Close reconnaissance and attack aircraft 1939-1945 / Vladimir Kotelnikov /
  • American Warplanes of World War II /under cor. David Donald/