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Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer Long-Range Reconnaissance Aircraft

The Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer was a further development of the USN PB4Y-1 anti-submarine aircraft, itself a modified B-24 Liberator.

 Updated: 6/20/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

The Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer was a further development of the United States Navy's PB4Y-1 anti-submarine warfare aircraft which, itself, was a further variant based on the successful Consolidated B-24 Liberator bomber aircraft. Fielded during the latter half of World War 2, the Privateer went on to see action in the skies of the Korean War as well, supplying the USN with a long-range strategic reconnaissance need. The system appeared in limited numbers in the Second World War but would see a total production count of well over 1,300 examples by the end of its production run.

Definite visual similarities to the Consolidated B-24 offering can clearly be observed in the PB4Y-2 system with the exception of the single vertical tail system as opposed to the dual fin found on the Liberator models. Of particular note with the Privateer was the defensive armament, being fielded with no less than 12 x 12.7mm heavy caliber machine guns mounted in nose, tail, waist and dorsal turret positions. An additional 12,800lbs of bombs could be carried and the aircraft was operated by a crew of eleven personnel - most manning the machine gun emplacements.

Three prototype PB4Y-2's were ordered and flown, all based on the preceding PB4Y-1 Navy models, designed specifically for anti-submarine warfare. Like previous Liberator models, the PB4Y-2 Privateer was fielded with four Pratt & Whitney-brand radial piston engines, mounted on a high-wing monoplane at the center of the fuselage. The Privateer maintained the basic Liberator design with the exception of additional defensive armament positions and the identifiable blister emplacements at the left and right waist gunner positions - each mounting dual 12.7mm machine guns.

The Privateer operated well into the years encompassing the Korean War, serving in some capacity as Elint (electronic intelligence) models. A single Privateer was also the first casualty of the Cold War, being engaged and shot down by Soviet forces. Some Privateers were utilized in the maritime patrol mission as well. In all, it was an economical stop-gap design that served well for a number of years - too late for much use in World War 2, but serving an effective role in the post-war years nonetheless.

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Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer Technical Specifications

Service Year: 1943
Type: Long-Range Reconnaissance Aircraft
National Origin: United States
Manufacturer(s): Consolidated - USA
Production Total: 1,370

Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

Operating Crew (Typical): 11
Overall Length: 74.57 feet (22.73 meters)
Overall Width: 110.01 feet (33.53 meters)
Overall Height: 30.09 feet (9.17 meters)

Weight (MTOW): 65,003 lb (29,485 kg)

Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

Propulsion: 4 x Pratt & Whitney R-1830-94 "Twin Wasp" 14-cylinder radial piston engines.

Maximum Speed: 287 mph (462 kph; 249 knots)
Maximum Range: 2,796 miles (4,500 km)
Service Ceiling: 20,669 feet (6,300 meters; 3.91 miles)

Armament / Mission Payload

2 x 12.7mm machine guns in forward dorsal turret
2 x 12.7mm machine guns in rearward dorsal turret
2 x 12.7mm machine guns in nose turret
2 x 12.7mm machine guns in tail turret
2 x 12.7mm machine guns in left waist blister position
2 x 12.7mm machine guns in right waist blister position

Up to 12,800 pounds of internal stores.

Global Operators / Customers

France; United States

Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

B-24 "Liberator" - Base Consolidated Design utilized in development of the PB4Y-1 and PB4Y-2 aircraft for the United States Navy.
PB4Y-1 - USN Anti-Submarine Variant
PB4Y-1G - Former USN PB4Y-1/-2G models utilized by the US Coast Guard service branch as patrol platforms; sans guns.
PB4Y-2 "Privateer" - USN Long-Range Strategic Reconnaissance Variant.
PB4Y-2G - Former USN PB4Y-1/-2G models utilized by the US Coast Guard service branch as patrol platforms; sans guns.