Vought F4U Corsair Carrier-Based Fighter / Fighter-Bomber / Night Fighter
The fast and powerful Vought F4U Corsair fighter was the first Allied aircraft capable of going toe-to-toe with the fabled Japanese Zero - it fought into the Korean War years and beyond.
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One of the greatest fighter aircraft of all time, the American Vought F4U "Corsair" became the stuff of legend for its part in the air wars of World War 2 (1939-1945), the Korean War (1950-1953) and several Cold War conflicts that followed. The design was attributed to Igor Sikorsky and Rex Beisel and went on to see production totals reach over 12,500 units with manufacturing ending in 1952 - an impressive total for an aircraft initially rejected by the United States Navy (USN).
The F4U originally appeared as a USN carrier-based fighter design until difficulties in landing the aircraft on a moving carrier led to its expanded use as a land-based fighter in the hands of US Marine aviators. While the United States Navy moved on to the equally-excellent Grumman F6F "Hellcat", the F4U continued to make a name for itself in the Pacific Theater - even earning the respect of its Japanese foes as one of the most feared combat aircraft in the region.
The Corsair was born from a 1938 USN requirement calling for a new high-performance carrier-based fighter and Chance Vought of United Aircraft answered the call with their Model V-166. Vought engineers gave their compact design the largest possible engine - the experimental Pratt & Whitney XR-2800 "Double Wasp" of 2,000 horsepower output. To this was added a massive three-bladed propeller unit. The inverted "gull wing" mainplane arrangement was chosen to keep the spinning propeller blades from hitting the ground and this forced full-length main landing gear legs to be used.