SB2U Vindicator, U.S. Dive Bomber

Photograph of SB2U Vindicator

U.S. Marine Corps. Via

Vought SB2U-3 Vindicator


Crew 2
Dimensions 41'11" by 33'11.75" by 14'3"
12.78m by 10.36m by 4.34m
Wing area 305 square feet
28.3 square meters
Weight 5634-9763 lbs
2556-4428 kg
Maximum speed       243 mph (391 km/h) at 9500 feet (2900 meters)
232 mph (373 km/h) at sea level
Cruise speed 152 mph
245 km/h
Landing speed 71 mph
114 km/h
Climb rate 18 feet per second
5.5 meters per second
Service ceiling 23,600 feet
7200 meters
Power plant 1 750 hp (559 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1535-02 Twin Wasp Junior 14-cylinder two-row radial driving a two bladed propeller.
Armament 1 0.50 fixed wing machine gun
1 0.50 flexible rear cockpit machine gun
External stores 1000 lbs (454 kg) of bombs
Range 1120 miles (1800 km) with bomb load
2450 miles (3940 km) as ferry
Fuel 538 gallons
2037 liters
Production at Vought-Sikorsky Division of United Aircraft, East Hartford, CT:
  54 –1s
  58 –2s
  57 –3s

The Vindicator was a decent aircraft when it was accepted in 1936 as the U.S. Navy's first monoplane scout bomber. It was the product of a call for comparative trials between a modern biplane and modern monoplane design. The monoplane design proved much superior and was put into production in October 1936. Deliveries began in December 1937.

A small number were ordered by the French as the V-156F, and 24 had been delivered by May 1940. Half of these were wiped out on the first day of the German invasion. Those aircraft not yet delivered to the French were taken over by the British, who ordered an additional 50 as the Chesapeake Mark I.

The Vindicator was clearly obsolete by the start of the Pacific War. A few –3s saw action with the Marines at Midway, suffering relatively light casualties but failing to get any hits. Its crews sardonically referred to it as the "Wind Indicator."


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