Martin PBM Mariner Maritime Reconnaissance Flying Boat Aircraft
While a serviceable and very capable aircraft in its own right, the Martin Mariner flying boat would never reach the popularity of the older Consolidated PBY Catalina.
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The PBM held origins in private venture work undertaken by Glenn L. Martin Company. Prior to World War 2 in 1937, engineers designed what became the Model 162 as a successor to the aging line of Martin P3M flying boats in service since 1929 (78 were built). The Model 162 carrier a high-wing (gull wing, cantilevered) monoplane design with elevated twin-rudder tail unit. The nose section was stepped to accommodate the flight deck overlooking the nose and the nose proper contained a crewman's station. The fuselage utilized a boat-like hull for water-based landings and take-offs. Outboard pontoon floats (retractable) were set under each wing to stabilize the aircraft in rough waters. The crew numbered seven and included pilots, mission specialists and machine gunners.
On June 30th of that year, the company was granted a prototype contract to cover a sole XPBM-1 aircraft. To prove the design sound, company engineers fabricated a scale flyable model of their aircraft in the single-seat Model 162A "Tadpole Clipper". This offering carried just one engine, a Chevrolet type of 120 horsepower output. The full-sized prototype then followed to the air on February 18th, 1939.
Despite the United States Navy (USN) already having committed to the excellent Consolidated PBY Catalina (detailed elsewhere on this site), the XPBM was adopted as the PBM "Mariner" to work alongside it. In December, USN then contracted for twenty-one aircraft to the XPBM-1 standard.