F2H BANSHEE U.S. Navy Fighter
The McDonnell F2H Banshee was a single-seat carried-based jet fighter aircraft deployed by the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps from 1948 to 1961. It was one of the primary American fighters used during the Korean War and was the only jet-powered fighter ever deployed by the Royal Canadian Navy serving the RCN from 1955 until 1962. The aircraft's name is derived from the banshee of Celtic mythology.
Although the Navy accepted the F2H-1, it was the more capable F2H-2 that was most widely used. With newer Westinghouse J34-WE-34 3,250 lbf (14.5 kN) thrust engines, it had significantly improved performance. The wing was modified and strengthened to add provisions for 200 gal (760 l) wingtip fuel tanks; unlike the contemporary USN F9F Panther, the Banshee's wingtip tanks were detachable. Two armament pylons were added under each stub and outboard wing, for a total of eight, allowing the aircraft to carry a maximum stores load of 1,580 lb (454 kg), consisting of four 250 lb (113 kg) bombs and four 5-in (12.7 cm) unguided rockets. The “kneeling” nose gear was omitted from the F2H-2 and most other subsequent Banshee variants.
The F2H-2P was a photo-reconnaisance version with six cameras housed in a 2 ft 5 in (0.74 m) longer nose; it was the first jet-powered reconnaissance aircraft used by the USN. Remote controls allowed the pilot to rotate the cameras in the vertical and horizontal planes, and the aircraft could be fitted with a pair of underwing pods that each contained 20 flash cartridge for night photography. The camera bay was electrically heated to prevent frost.The F2H-2P was considered a valuable photo-reconnaissance asset due to its long maximum range for a jet aircraft, maximum operational altitude of 48,500 feet, combined with its speed that made it extremely difficult to intercept by other combat jet aircraft of the early 1950s era.
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- F2H-2P BANSHEE - US Marine Corps, Reconnaissance Squadron VMJ-1, Korea 1951.
- F2H-2 BANSHEE - U.S. Navy, VF-172 flying from aircraft carrier USS Essex, Korea, October 1951.