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Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar

Military Transport / Gunship Aircraft

Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar

Military Transport / Gunship Aircraft


The Fairchild C-119 proved to be a tremendous post-war performer in the transport and gunship roles.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: United States
YEAR: 1949
STATUS: Retired, Out-of-Service
MANUFACTURER(S): Fairchild Corporation - USA
OPERATORS: Belgium; Brazil; Canada; China; Ethiopia; France; India; Italy; Jordan; Morocco; Norway; Spain; Taiwan; Vietnam (South); United states

Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Fairchild C-119C Flying Boxcar model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
LENGTH: 86.61 feet (26.4 meters)
WIDTH: 109.25 feet (33.3 meters)
HEIGHT: 26.57 feet (8.1 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 39,804 pounds (18,055 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 73,998 pounds (33,565 kilograms)
ENGINE: 2 x Wright R-3350-89 Cyclone 18-cylinder air-cooled radial engines developing 3,500 horsepower each.
SPEED (MAX): 281 miles-per-hour (452 kilometers-per-hour; 244 knots)
RANGE: 1,771 miles (2,850 kilometers; 1,539 nautical miles)
CEILING: 23,901 feet (7,285 meters; 4.53 miles)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 1,010 feet-per-minute (308 meters-per-minute)

Transport model typically unarmed. Gunship model (AC-119) armed.

Series Model Variants
• XC-82 - Prototype Model Series Designation
• C-82 "Packet" - Initial Production Model Designation; highly modified to produce the C-119 variant; longer nose assembly distinguishes C-82 from C-119 design.
• C-82A - Only Production Version of the C-82 series; 220 examples produced.
• XC-82B - Secondary Prototype highly modified form of the C-82; would become the C-119 model series in the C-119B model.
• C-119 - Base Series Designation
• C-119B - Initial Production Model of the C-119 "Flying Boxcar"; structural strengthening throughout; increased cargo carrying capacity; fitted with 3,500hp R-4360-20 radial engines; 55 examples produced.
• C-119C - Fitted with R-4360-20WA engines; dorsal fin extensions added; sans tailplane outboard of vertical tail surfaces; 303 examples produced.
• C-119F - Modifications throughout; ventral fins added; 212 produced.
• C-119G - Replaced propeller systems; improved equipment; 480 examples produced.
• AC-119G - Gunship Variant Model; conversions of the C-119G model series; later standardized into AC-119K model series of gunships.
• AC-119K - Gunship Standard Designation
• C-119J - Revised C-119F and C-119G transport models to feature an inflight operable rear door on fuselage pod; some were modified C-119C and C-119G models with 2 x General Electric J85-GE-17 2,850lb thrust turbojet engines underwing for boosting.
• C-119L - C-119G models updated with new propeller systems; updated throughout.
• RQ-4 - US Navy Standard Designation


Detailing the development and operational history of the Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar Military Transport / Gunship Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 7/10/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©
Fairchild Corporation produced a winner in the post-war world with the introduction of the C-119 "Flying Boxcar". The Boxcar was derived from the C-82 "Packet" transport - looking ever more like the identical to the final C-119 production models - though the C-119 took several things further and would eventually earn its own designation, and an identifiable nickname that embodied the design. The system would go on to be fielded in quantity with forces from around the world with the United States leading the way by using the C-119 in both transport and gunship roles. The system would become a most active performer in the upcoming Korean War, particularly in the transport and airdrop role that included the dropping of supplies and airborne elements.

The C-119 was initially born as the XC-82 prototype which would fly in September of 1944 to fulfill a US Army requirement for a military freighter role. The prototype would produce just one single production series variant in the form of the C-82A, and fielded with twin Pratt & Whitney R-2800-34 2,100 horsepower radial engines. Capabilities included accommodations for up to 78 combat ready troops, 42 airborne paratrooper elements or 34 medical litters among standard cargo as well. Of the C-82A series, no fewer than 220 would be delivered, setting the stage for a highly modified C-82 in the form of a new prototype known as the XC-82B - which would go on to assume the new designation of C-119.

The C-119 was identifiable by the large fuselage pod, straddled on either side by a twin boom design housing each radial engine in a high monoplane fashion. Wings were of a straight design and twin fins were mounted aft. The large boxy fuselage was ideal for cargo transport, as were the high mounted wings and engines, allowing for ground crews to work loads of troops, supplies and equipment into the hold with some accessibility. The initial C-119B model was fitted with R-4360-20 radial engines with 3,500 horsepower capability each. Accommodations for paratroopers increased to 62 while overall carrying capabilities for cargo increased as well, thanks to a structural re-strengthening and a widened fuselage.

The C-119 would go on to appear in a variety of model series with subtle changes throughout the evolution process. The definitive model might be considered the C-119G, to which some 480 examples were produced. Additionally, the C-119 was trialed and accepted as a close-support gunship in teh AC-119, which were based on the C-119G models but put through a conversion process. The AC-119K would later become the AC-119 gunship standard. Other notable additions to the base C-119 system included the inclusion of two General Electric J85-GE-17 turbojets positioned in underwing nacelles for additional boost (C-119J; five such converted) and another with a powered door assembly that allowed for the fuselage rear to open in mid-flight for supply drops (also C-119J; 62 examples revised from C-119F and C-119G transport standards).

The C-119 Flying Boxcar served with distinction throughout the Korean War with over 1,300 examples produced for the entire Boxcar series. The system served with the United States Air Force and the United States Navy along with a host of other global air services. In any case, the C-119 proved to be a classic, versatile and robust aircraft for a time.

The C-82 can be distinguished from the C-119 by the C-82s longer nose area ahead of the cockpit flightdeck.


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.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed
Hi: 300mph
Lo: 150mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (281mph).

Graph average of 225 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
Graph showcases the Fairchild C-119C Flying Boxcar'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 (1,183)
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

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

Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
Ground Attack
Aerial Tanker
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
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.

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