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Consolidated Vultee TBY Sea Wolf

United States (1944)
Picture of Consolidated Vultee TBY Sea Wolf Torpedo Bomber

Despite a USN order for 1,100 aircraft, just 180 of the Consolidated Vultee TBY Sea Wolf aircraft were realized.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Consolidated Vultee TBY Sea Wolf Torpedo Bomber.  Entry last updated on 5/12/2016. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The story of the Consolidated Vultee TBY "Sea Wolf" began with competitor Vought who earned a single prototype contract from the United States Navy (USN) for its "XTBU-1" torpedo bomber design in April of 1940. This work stemmed from a 1939 USN torpedo bomber competition and the Vought team emerged with an aircraft design and configuration that was not unlike that of the competing Grumman TBF "Avenger" torpedo bomber. The Vought approach was powered by a single Pratt & Whitney XR-2800-6 radial piston engine of 2,000 horsepower and its crew numbered three under a long-running greenhouse-style canopy. The fuselage was purposely deep for the bomb bay within, The bay featured two-piece powered doors and offered support for conventional drop bombs or a torpedo up to 2,000lbs. Additional armament came from a 0.30 caliber medium machine gun in a fixed, forward-firing mount managed by the pilot and a 0.50 caliber machine gun in a powered aft dorsal turret for a dedicated gunner. A 0.30 caliber machine gun was mounted in a ventral ball facing aft to protect the aircraft's more vulnerable lower rear angles. The wings were cleared for the carrying of 500lb bombs as well as high-velocity, high-explosive rockets.

The XTBU-1 was granted the nickname of "Sea Wolf" and the prototype achieved first flight on December 22nd, 1941. Despite the USN already committed to the Grumman product, the XTBU-1 was furthered as an insurance policy against the Avenger. The XTBU-1 prototype, although heavier than its competitor, showcased better performance which gave it an underlying edge against the favored Avenger design and formal evaluations of the Vought prototype began in March of 1942.

As a result of this phase, the USN contracted for 1,100 Vought TBU-1 torpedo bombers at the height of the war in the Pacific. However, Vought's current commitment lay in manufacture of the classic F4U "Corsair" carrier-based fighter by the thousands which left little room for a new torpedo bomber in the production mix. The aircraft was then contracted out to Consolidated Vultee in December of 1942 which was to produce the aircraft as the "TBY-1". A converted a truck plant in Allentown, Pennsylvania would be its home facility. Both the conversion process and employee training would delay the TBY-1 project for months as manufacture attempted to ramp up.
The program also suffered two major setbacks when its prototype was damaged and this served to only delay the project even further. On the first occasion, the tail unit was ripped away during an arrestor hook landing trial forcing lengthy repairs. The aircraft's new tail then got caught in the blades of an out-of-control trainer aircraft which resulted in another round of repairs. During the lull, engineers went ahead and devised a new, less complicated single-piece bomb bay door system, added more cockpit armoring and revised the undercarriage for the better. The Pratt & Whitney R-2800-20 series radial engine also replaced the original selection and additional machine guns were introduced for more potent firepower.

As delays in the Allentown plant continued, the engine switched out again, this time to the Pratt & Whitney R-2800-22 series of 2,100 horsepower and this change begat the new "TBY-2" designation.

As completed, the TBY featured a length of 39 feet,2 inches with a wingspan of 56 feet, 11 inches and height of 15 feet, 6 inches. Empty weight was listed at 11,365lbs with a Maximum Take-Off Weight of 18,450lbs. Maximum speed from the R-2800 radial was 305 miles per hour with a range out to 1,500 miles and a service of 27,200 feet. The Avenger managed a top speed of 275 miles per hour with a range of 1,000 miles and service ceiling of 30,100 feet.

The war - and its related technologies - had progressed to the point that the TBY was soon becoming a casualty of its own delays while the Grumman bomber was finding success. An operational quality Vultee aircraft did not hit the skies until August 1944 and the USN, sensing it no longer needed the Vought product, returned with a reduced procurement order for just 504 aircraft (in comparison the Grumman Avenger saw production reach over 9,800 by war's end). It was not until November of 1944 than the USN received its first TBY-2 and deliveries continued into 1945.

Production continued at a snail's pace with the war in Europe ending in May of 1945. In July, the USN marked its TBY-2 order down to 250 aircraft and, on August 14th, TBY-2 order was canceled in full - ending the reign of the Sea Wolf for good. What deliveries did occur to the USN totaled only 180 aircraft and these obsolete machine were relegated to training and little else. All Sea Wolf airframes were scrapped by 1947.






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

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Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 400mph
Lo: 200mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (306mph).

    Graph average of 300 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Consolidated Vultee TBY-2 Sea Wolf's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
180
180


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
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National Flag Graphic
Origin: United States
Year: 1944
Type: Torpedo Bomber
Manufacturer(s): Consolidate Vultee / Vought - USA
Production: 180
Global Operators:
United States
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Consolidated Vultee TBY-2 Sea Wolf model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
3


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
39.21 ft


Meters
11.95 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
56.92 ft


Meters
17.35 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
15.49 ft


Meters
4.72 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
11,336 lb


Kilograms
5,142 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
18,488 lb


Kilograms
8,386 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Pratt & Whitney R-2800-22 radial piston engine developing 2,100 horsepower.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
306 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
492 kph


Knots
266 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
1,501 mi


Kilometers
2,415 km


Nautical Miles
1,304 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
27,231 ft


Meters
8,300 m


Miles
5.16 mi

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft heavy machine gun
Graphical image of aircraft aerial rockets
Graphical image of an aircraft aerial torpedo
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Armament - Hardpoints (2):

STANDARD:
1 x 0.30 caliber machine gun in engine cowling
1 x 0.50 caliber machine gun in rear powered turret
1 x 0.30 caliber machine gun in ventral ball mounting.
2 x 0.50 caliber machine guns in wings (later)

OPTIONAL:
Up to 2,000lbs of internal and external stores including conventional drop bombs (or a torpedo) and underwing rockets.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• XTBU-1 "Sea Wolf" - Original Vought product; single prototype example.
• TBY-2 - Consolidated Vultee production mark
• TBY-3 - Proposed mark with R-2800-34 engine; tested on 7th production TBY-2; never furthered.