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Vought OS2U Kingfisher


Shipborne Reconnaissance / Scout Floatplane


United States | 1940



"Though an American product, the Vought OS2U Kingfisher series served in quantity with the ranks of the British Fleet Air Arm."



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 02/21/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The OS2U Kingfisher was a product of the Vought aircraft firm, appearing initially as the VS.310 design to which the United States Navy accepted as a prototype in the XOS2U-1. The prototype would be airborne for trials by 1938 and fitted with the Pratt & Whitney R-985-4 Wasp Junior radial piston engine of 450 horsepower. After passing trials with the US Navy, the system was given the green light for full production and operational status as the OS2U "Kingfisher" series, serving as catapult launched floatplanes capable of adapting to landing on airstrips as well with some modification to the landing system.

The Kingfisher series was powered by a single engine mounted at the fuselage front. The crew of two sat in separate cockpit areas with the pilot in front, just behind the engine and the rear gunner/observer in a mid-mounted cockpit position. The aircraft was made highly identifiable by the large centerline float pontoon running nearly the length of the fuselage and extended forward of the propeller. Two additional yet smaller stabilizing floats were mounted under each wing of the low-monoplane design. Additionally, the system could be adapted to land on shore bases thanks to the interchangeable landing gear / float system.

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Armament consisted of light self-defensive measures and was made up of a single forward firing fixed 7.62mm machine gun and a rear-mounted 7.62mm machine gun. The system was capable of carrying up to 650 pounds of external stores and was known to undertake a few dive bombing sorties in its time aloft. In all, the Kingfisher system served the Fleet Air Arm (as the Kingfisher Mk I series), US Navy and the Inshore Patrol Squadrons quite faithfully during its wartime tenure. A fourth variant of the Kingfisher in the form of the OS2U-4 was proposed but never evolved.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Vought OS2U-3 Kingfisher Shipborne Reconnaissance / Scout Floatplane.
1 x Pratt & Whitney R-985-AN-2 or R-985-AN-8 air-cooled engine developing 450 horsepower.
Propulsion
164 mph
264 kph | 143 kts
Max Speed
12,992 ft
3,960 m | 2 miles
Service Ceiling
1,150 miles
1,851 km | 999 nm
Operational Range
416 ft/min
127 m/min
Rate-of-Climb
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Structure
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Vought OS2U-3 Kingfisher Shipborne Reconnaissance / Scout Floatplane.
2
(MANNED)
Crew
33.6 ft
10.24 m
O/A Length
35.9 ft
(10.95 m)
O/A Width
15.1 ft
(4.60 m)
O/A Height
4,123 lb
(1,870 kg)
Empty Weight
6,001 lb
(2,722 kg)
MTOW
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
RANGE
ALT
SPEED
Armament
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Vought OS2U Kingfisher Shipborne Reconnaissance / Scout Floatplane .
STANDARD:
1 x 7.62mm machine gun in forward fixed firing position
1 x 7.62mm machine gun in rear cockpit position

OPTIONAL:
Maximum bomb load of up to 650lbs (including depth charges).
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the Vought OS2U Kingfisher family line.
XOS2U-1 - Prototype Model Designation; fitted with Pratt & Whitney R-985-4 Wasp Junior radial piston engine at 450hp.
OS2U-1 - Initial Production Model Designation; fitted with R-985-48 engine; 54 examples produced.
OS2U-2 - Fitted with R-985-50 engine; 158 examples produced.
OS2U-3 - Production Variant appearing in quantity; fitted with R-985-An02 engine; increased fuel capacity and operational range; improved armor protection for crew cabin; 1,006 examples produced; self-sealing fuel tanks; provision for 2 x depth charges.
OS2U-4 - Proposed Improved Model with revised tailplane, wings, flaps and more powerful engine; never produced.
OS2N-1 - Based on the OS2U but production undertaken with the Naval Aircraft Factory.
Kingfisher Mk I - British Fleet Air Arm Designation for the OS2U-3 model series selected by 1941; seen in trainer and catapult launched scout forms.
Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Vought OS2U Kingfisher. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 1,300 Units

Contractor(s): Vought - USA
National flag of Australia National flag of Chile National flag of Cuba National flag of the Dominican Republic National flag of Mexico National flag of the Netherlands National flag of the Soviet Union National flag of the United Kingdom National flag of the United States National flag of Uruguay

[ Australia; Chile; Cuba; Dominican Republic; Mexico; Netherlands; Soviet Union; United Kingdom; United States; Uruguay ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 200mph
Lo: 100mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (164mph).

Graph Average of 150 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
1300
36183
44000
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
MACH Regime (Sonic)
Sub
Trans
Super
Hyper
HiHyper
ReEntry
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
Aviation Timeline
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Image of the Vought OS2U Kingfisher
Image from the Public Domain.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
MARITIME / NAVY
RECONNAISSANCE
Recognition
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Vought OS2U Kingfisher Shipborne Reconnaissance / Scout Floatplane appears in the following collections:
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