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McDonnell F2H Banshee

Single-Seat, Twin-Engine Carrierborne Jet-Powered Fighter Aircraft

McDonnell F2H Banshee

Single-Seat, Twin-Engine Carrierborne Jet-Powered Fighter Aircraft

OVERVIEW
SPECIFICATIONS
ARMAMENT
VARIANTS
HISTORY
MEDIA
OVERVIEW



The jet-powered, all-cannon-armed McDonnell F2H Banshee immediately improved aviation capabilities of the United States Navy and saw considerable service in the Korean War.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: United States
YEAR: 1947
STATUS: Retired, Out-of-Service
MANUFACTURER(S): McDonnell Aircraft - USA
PRODUCTION: 895
OPERATORS: Canada; United States
SPECIFICATIONS



Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the McDonnell F2H-3 Banshee model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
CREW: 1
LENGTH: 48.23 feet (14.7 meters)
WIDTH: 41.83 feet (12.75 meters)
HEIGHT: 14.50 feet (4.42 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 13,228 pounds (6,000 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 25,221 pounds (11,440 kilograms)
ENGINE: 2 x Westinghouse J34-WE-30 turbojets developing 3,150lb of thrust each.
SPEED (MAX): 581 miles-per-hour (935 kilometers-per-hour; 505 knots)
RANGE: 1,715 miles (2,760 kilometers; 1,490 nautical miles)
CEILING: 46,604 feet (14,205 meters; 8.83 miles)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 6,000 feet-per-minute (1,829 meters-per-minute)




ARMAMENT



STANDARD:
4 x 20mm Colt Mk 16 automatic cannons in lower nose mountings.

OPTIONAL:
8 x Underwing stations for drop bombs and aerial rockets.
VARIANTS



Series Model Variants
• F2H "Banshee" - Base Series Designation
• XF2D-1 - Developmental designation
• XF2H-1 - Developmental designation
• F2H-1 - Initial production model; 2 x Westinghouse J34-WE-22 turbojet engines of 3,000lb thrust output each; 56 examples completed.
• F2H-2 - Improved model; 2 x J34-WE-34 engines of 3,250lb thrust each; underwing hardpoints; wingtip fuel tanks; 308 examples built.
• F2H-2B - Fighter-bomber form; Mark 8 nuclear bomb support; 25 examples.
• F2H-2N - Night-fighter form; fitted with APS-19 radar in revised, lengthened nose assembly; 14 completed.
• F2H-2P - Photo-reconnaissance form; longer, camera-equipped nose assembly; 89 completed.
• F2H-3 - All-weather fighter model with APQ-41 radar in nose; increased fuel capacity; revised tail unit with lengthened fuselage; 250 examples.
• F2H-3P - Proposed F2H-3-based photo-reconnaissance model.
• F2H-4 - Improved all-weather fighter; J34-WE-38 engines of 3,600 thrust each; 150 completed.
• F2H-5 - Proposed swept-wing design; not furthered.
• F-2C - 1962 redesignation of F2H-3 model
• F-2D = 1962 redesignation of F2H-4 model


HISTORY



Detailing the development and operational history of the McDonnell F2H Banshee Single-Seat, Twin-Engine Carrierborne Jet-Powered Fighter Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 5/17/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
The road to effective carrier-based jet-powered fighters for the United States Navy (USN) was a long and arduous one following the end of World War 2 in 1945. First-fruits included the McDonnell FH "Phantom" which became the first all-jet aircraft to land on the deck of a USN aircraft carrier. A new specification by the service prompted McDonnell to continue their work and, using the FH as the foundation, the company responded with the larger and more powerful F2H "Banshee" series. Unlike the Phantom, which was limited in production due to the end of World War 2 with just 62 units made, the F2H enjoyed considerably more success as some 895 units were manufactured.

The follow-up design was originally on the drawing boards even before the FH had entered serial production for there was a belief that the base design could be improved throughout - such was the changing face of jet-powered aircraft technology at the time. As such, the aircraft was more of an evolution of the existing Phantom at first but the new USN requirement forced changes to be made to produce what was essentially an all-new product line. One of the key improvements was the selection of the Westinghouse J34 series turbojet (over the FH's original J30 models) which promised an increase in overall thrust and, in turn, performance. This engine would be paired within the Banshee design for maximum concentrated output - though at the expense of utilizing two fuel-thirsty powerplants. Output from this engine was 3,000lb of thrust compared to the J30's 1,600lb rating.

The selection of this engine, in its proposed pairing, necessitated a larger, reinforced fuselage and these units would be seated at the wing roots (as part of the wing leading edges), aspirated by triangular intakes and exhausted through circular ports at the wing trailing edges. The pilot's position was aft of the nosecone with a largely unobstructed, tear-drop-shaped canopy offering a commanding view of the action. The wing mainplanes, straight in their general shape with clipped tips, were fitted at midships and low-mounted (the USN service was slow to adopt swept-wing forms). The tail unit consisted of a single rudder fin with mid-mounted horizontal planes. A tricycle undercarriage was used for ground-running and an arrestor hook featured for carrier landings. In the former, a unique arrangement included smaller wheels at the nose leg, fitted forward of the main wheel, to allow the aircraft to "pitch" its nose down to allow for better out-of-the-cockpit vision when ground-running and to improve storage on space-strapped American carriers (for example the nose could be parked under the tail of another Banshee).

Unlike previous USN fighters, which relied on machine-gun-only armament, the Banshee was developed with a nose-mounted battery of 4 x 20mm Colt Mk 16 automatic cannons from the outset offering a considerable forward "punch" against any and all known enemy aircraft. These guns, afforded 220 rounds for the upper set and 250 rounds for the lower set, were useful in strafing ground targets as well. This marked a USN shift away from its commitment to the 0.50 caliber Browning heavy machine gun as standard armament for a fighting platform.

Beyond these features, the Banshee was also completed with cockpit pressurization (for high altitude service), an ejection seat (a feature not found in the FH Phantom), electrically-actuated air brakes and folding wings (another space-saving quality). Wingtip fuel tanks were eventually added to help improved range and underwing support for external munitions followed as well.

The aircraft first appeared as the XF2D-1 in April of 1945, the same month Hitler would commit suicide to help end the war in Europe. Unlike other far-reaching wartime projects, the XF2D-1 was allowed to continue even after the war had ended in September of 1945. A first-flight was recorded on January 11th, 1947 out of the McDonnell facility in St Louis, Missouri and immediately proved itself the future of USN aviation. That same year, the aircraft was redesignated to XF2H-1 and an initial order for 56 examples followed. The first arrived in August of 1948 under the official in-service designation of F2H-1 "Banshee" and these succeeded the Grumman F8F Bearcat prop-driven fighters as primary USN fleet defenders.




McDonnell F2H Banshee (Cont'd)

Single-Seat, Twin-Engine Carrierborne Jet-Powered Fighter Aircraft

McDonnell F2H Banshee (Cont'd)

Single-Seat, Twin-Engine Carrierborne Jet-Powered Fighter Aircraft



Three XF2H-1 / XF2D-1 aircraft were built and all 56 of the contracted F2H-1 models were produced. The latter batch featured the Westinghouse J34-WE-22 turbojet engine of 3,000lb thrust. An improved version, the F2H-2, followed with the aforementioned wingtip fuel tanks in addition to eight underwing hardpoints for the carrying of stores (up to 1,580lb). This model was powered by 2 x Westinghouse J34-WE-34 engines of 3,250lb thrust and production totaled 308 units. Supported armament included 500lb drop bombs and High-Explosive (HE) aerial rockets.

The F2H-2B was a dedicated fighter-bomber form with support for the Mark 8 nuclear drop bomb though only 25 of this mark were produced. The F2H-2N was a dedicated night-fighter platform outfitted with APS-19 series radar in a revised, lengthened nose assembly. Just fourteen of this mark were realized. The F2H-2P became a dedicated photo-reconnaissance model with a special nose assembly housing up to six cameras. Eighty-nine of this model were built.

The F2H-3 evolved into an all-weather fighter mount with a longer nose, more internal fuel, external weapons support, revised tail design and APQ-41 radar. Two-hundred fifty of the variant were produced. These later became the F-2C in the 1962 U.S. military restructuring. The F2H-3P was to become its photo-reconnaissance version but this was not follow through with.

The F2H-4 was an improved version of the F2H-3 fighter and this model fitted 2 x Westinghouse J34-WE-38 turbojet engines of 3,600lb thrust (each). Additionally, the APG-37 radar fit was introduced and 150 of the aircraft were contracted for. This version became the F-2D in 1962.

A proposed swept-wing model emerged as the F2H-5 but this design was not furthered.

Only two global operators of the Banshee came to be, the United States and Canada. The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) made use of the F2H-3 model across three total squadrons (one being a test outfit) and this marked the only jet-powered fighter to be taken on by the service. For the Americans, the Banshee was a standard sight in inventory throughout the 1950s as both the USN and United States Marine Corps (USMC) relied on the type. Twenty USN squadrons were formed around the type and seven USMC squadrons appeared.

Service introduction of the Banshee occurred during August of 1948 and this meant that they were in widespread circulation by the time of the Korean War of 1950-1953. They were used from the decks of American carriers stationed offshore and could provide escort for the larger, lumbering and high-flying American bombers while also support ground forces through on-call tactical strikes (though in most cases limited by bad weather / cloud coverage).

While air superiority lay with the United Nations in the early-going, the Banshee performed to expectations throughout 1950. However all this changed in November of 1950 when the Soviet-built Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 jet-powered fighter (detailed elsewhere on this site) arrived on scene with its swept-back wings and very-high-performance. This placed the Banshee at a decided disadvantage going forward for the straight-winged mount of 1940s vintage could not compete in a head-to-head duel - especially when the MiG-15s were secretly piloted by Soviet airmen. As such, the Banshee was soon relegated to operations closer to friendly forces and left the dogfighting to newer, more advanced gunnery platforms like the North American F-86 "Sabre" (detailed elsewhere on this site). Beyond ground attacks, the Banshee was soon found to be a heady player with the USMC in the realm of photo-reconnaissance where its operational altitude was an advantage.

In the whole of the conflict, of which the Banshee survived from beginning to end in active operational service, no aircraft were lost to enemy fighters. However, the series did not score any air kills itself and some three were lost to ground-based fire. The Korean War marked the only combat action the Banshee family of aircraft would ever see.

In time, the line was succeeded by more capable mounts and the USN and USMC finally began to adopted higher-performance, swept-wing products to keep pace with the enemy. The Banshee existed in the active USN and USMC inventory up until 1959 and reserve units gave up their mounts in 1961. The RCN followed in 1962 formally ending all global use of the type.




MEDIA







General Assessment (BETA)
Firepower  
Performance  
Survivability  
Versatility  
Impact  


Values are derrived from a variety of categories related to the design, overall function, and historical influence of this aircraft in aviation history.
MF Power Rating (BETA)
42
The MF Power Rating takes into account over sixty individual factors related to this aircraft entry. The rating is out of 100 total possible points.
Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 750mph
Lo: 375mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (581mph).

    Graph average of 562.5 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LDN
LDN
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MSK
MSK
 
  TKY
TKY
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the McDonnell F2H-3 Banshee's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
895
895

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

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


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
A2A
Interception
UAV
Ground Attack
CAS
Training
ASW
Anti-Ship
AEW
MEDEVAC
EW
Maritime/Navy
SAR
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
VIP
Passenger
Business
Recon
SPECOPS
X-Plane/Development
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
Supported Arsenal
Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon
Graphical image of aircraft aerial rockets
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
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 pioneering aircraft
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 representing modern aircraft
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 War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.