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North American AJ Savage / A-2 Savage / NA-146 / NA-163 / A2J

North American XA2J-1 124439

The first heavy attack type to see service from aircraft-carriers of the US Navy, the North American AJ Savage was developed (as the North American NA-146) using two Pratt & Whitney radial engines, augmented by a tail-mounted Allison J33 turbojet. In practice the type saw only limited use in the strategic bombing role for which it had been designed, being replaced from the mid-1950s onwards by the Douglas A3D Skywarrior, but several were subse-quently modified to serve as inflight-refuelling tankers with a hose-and-reel unit in place of the turbojet.

In order to meet the specification's demands a large aircraft was required, this in turn dictating the need far an unusual composite powerplants configuration - a pair of Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp radials as the primary engines augmented by an auxiliary Allison J33 turbojet in the lower rear fuselage.

This third engine was intended to provide a high speed 'dash' capability during the attack phase of the aircraft's operation and for extra boost on takeoff when required. Other features included shoulder mounted folding wings, tricycle undercarriage, wing tip fuel tanks and (on the first models) dihedral tail planes.

An initial contract for three prototype XAJ-l (NA-146) air­craft was awarded to North American in late June 1946, and construction of these got under way almost im­mediately although more than two years were to elapse before the Sav­age took to the air for the first time on 3 July 1948. In its original guise the Sav­age was manned by a crew of three and was intended to carry a 4536-kg (10,000-lb) weapon load in an internal bomb bay in the aircraft’s belly.The three prototypes (121460 to 121462), were fitted with a flat horizontal tail.
North American AJ-1
These were followed by 55 initial production AJ-1s (NA-156, -160, and -169, 122590 to 122601, 124157 to 124186, and 124850 to 124864), the first one flying on 10 May 1949. The horizontal tail with dihedral. Production-configured aircraft began to enter service with Composite Squadron VC-5 in mid-September 1949, but it was not until the end of August 1950 that this unit was considered operationally ready, this marking the climax of several months of sea-borne trials aboard the USS Coral Sea. The AJ-1 was re-designated A-2A in 1962. The first carrier landings were performed aboard USS Constellation in August 1950. The first variant to see service with the US Navy was the AJ-l, of which 40 were built, and these were followed by 55 examples of the AJ-2 (NA-163and NA-184, 130405 to 130421, and 134035 to 134072) which featured slightly more powerful radial engines as well as increased fuel capacity, a slightly longer fuselage and a taller fin and rudder to improve handling qualities. The AJ-2 first flew on 19 February 1953 and was re-designated A-2B in 1962.
North American AJ-2 Civil borate bomber N101Z
This photo is AJ-2 130418, probably taken in 1971, possibly at Bridgeport CT. It is wearing markings applied by Avco Lycoming while used an engine test-bed, registered N68667. Following its naval use, it was used as a fire bomber in Oregon, registered N101Z, before going to new owners. In 1984 it was flown to the Naval Air Museum at Pensacola and is now on display in USN markings.
Preceding the AJ-2 bomber was the photo-reconnaissance AJ-2P (NA-175 and NA -183, first flight 30 March 1952) equipped with 18 cameras for day and night photography at high and low altitudes, photo-flash bombs in the weapons bay, automatic control of most of the cameras, the associated electronics equipment in a modified nose and additional fuel capacity. Four US Navy combat squadrons were still operating the AJ-2 in 1958 and these received AJ-2Ps.
A total of 30 AJ-2Ps was built, 128043 to 128051, 129185 to 129195, 130422 to 130425, and 134073 to 134075, this being the last model to see squadron service, not being retired from the active inventory until the beginning of 1960. The AJ-2P has distinctive radar "thimble" nose and zero-dihedral stabilizer.


AJ-2P Savage

A total of 30 AJ-2Ps was built, this being the last model to see squadron service, not being retired from the active inventory until the beginning of 1960. A number of AJ-1s and AJ-2s were converted to flight refuelling tankers with a hose-and-reel unit installed in the weapons bay. The few Savages still in service in September 1962 when all USAF and USN aircraft designations were combined into the existing Air Force system were redesignated A-2A (AJ-1) and A-2B (AJ-2).
AJ Air Tankers of Van Nuys CA converted two as fire fighters after removing the J-33 in the tail, showing one in action with no big prop spinners and a firefighting scheme with a big #88 about 1988.
In 1948 North American began work on the NA-163 turboprop-powered derivative of the AJ-1 Savage, two prototypes being ordered in September of that year. The US Navy specified major changes, including deletion of the Allison J33 booster engine, and the first prototype North American XA2J-1, 124439, did not fly until 4 January 1952. Development was hampered by problems with the Allison XT40-A-6 engines, each of which comprised two T38 engines driving contra-rotating propellers through a gearbox, allowing either T38 in each unit to be shut down for long-range cruise. The three-man crew was provided with a pressurised cabin and defensive armament comprised two 20mm guns in a remotely-controlled barbette. Maximum offensive load was 4911kg of bombs.

The completed second prototype, 124440, was never flown. One ended up being burned in a fire-fighting demo at Edwards AFB in 1962.

AJ-2 Savage

Engines: 2 x 2,500-hp (1864-kW) Pratt & Whitney R-2800-48 radial and 1 x 4,600-lb (2087-kg) thrust Allison J33-A-10 turbojet
Max speed: 628 km/h (390 mph)
Service ceiling: 12190 m(40,000 ft)
Range 3540 km (2,200 miles)
Empty wt: 12247 kg  (27,000 lb)
Maximum take-off wt: 23396 kg (51,580 lb)
Wing span 21.77 m (71 ft 5 in)
Length 19.23 m (63 ft 1 in)
Height 6.22 m (20 ft 5 in)
Wing area 77.62 sq.m (835.5 sq ft)
Armament: up to 4536 kg (10,000 lb) of bombs carried internally.
Crew: 3

Engines: 2 x Pratt & Whitney R-2800-44W, 1790kW + Allison J33-A-19 auxiliary turboprop, 2087kg
Max take-off weight: 23973 kg / 52852 lb
Wingspan: 22.91 m / 75 ft 2 in
Length: 19.20 m / 62 ft 12 in
Max. speed: 758 km/h / 471 mph
Crew: 3

AJ-2P Savage

Carrier-based photo-reconnaissance and attack bomber
Engines: 2x2,400 h.p. Pratt & Whitney R2800-48W and 1 x 4,600 lb. thrust Allison J33-A-10
Wingspan: 71 ft. 5 in
Length: 65 ft.
Loaded weight: 55,000 lb.
Max. speed: 425 m.p.h.
Ceiling: 40,000 ft.
Typical range: More than 3,000 miles at 290 mph
Payload: 12,000 lbs internal
Operational equipment: 18 cameras
Armament: 2 x 20mm cannon
Crew: 3

Engines: 2 x Allison XT40-A-6 turboprops
Armament: 2 x 20mm cannons, 4900kg of weapons
Crew: 3





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