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Sep 22, 2021, 01:39 AM
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Obscure Airplane Highlight of the Day : Grumman Guardian


Grumman Guardian: The Guardian may be one of the most aptly named airplanes in history. Built for anti-submarine patrols, the Guardian was built to be the coastal guardian of the US.

In 1945 Grumman had just completed a new torpedo bomber called the XTB3F-1S. (I know, catchy name right?) The XTB3F-1S had initially been designed to have a big radial up front and a jet engine in the fuselage. But when it became obvious that the jet engines would never be delivered on time, they scrapped the jet portion of the project without ever having used it. The resulting airplane was a two seat, side by side, R-2800 powered torpedo bomber that could carry 4000lbs of explosives.

Just as Grumman completed the testing, the Navy changed its mind and decided they didn’t need a new torpedo bomber, they needed a new anti-submarine aircraft. Since the Guardian couldn’t carry all of the equipment for this task, the “Hunter/Killer” pair was born. In one of the coolest adaptations of a military airplane ever, the Guardian was adapted into two very different airplanes. The AF-2W “Guppy” was the “Hunter” and carried an immense radome underneath it with sub-detecting equipment. And the AF-2S “Scrapper” was the “Killer” which maintained the original bomb bay for carrying anti-sub explosives.

As the “Hunter/Killer” name implies, the two airplanes would operate together in a team. The “Hunter” would fly along with a “Killer” in tow and search for subs. If one was found, the “Killer” would move in on the instructions of the “Hunter” and send the submarine belly up. The Guardian was the largest single engine piston airplane to be operated off of carriers in the US and was used fairly extensively through the Korean War before being retired in 1955.

When the Navy was finished with their 398 Guardians, many of them found work in a very different civilian role as fire bombers by replacing the bomb bays with large water tanks. Thanks to this role, a number of Guardians have survived to the present day. While there are quite a few Guardians in museums around the US, I believe only one aircraft actually remains airworthy in Florida somewhere.
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Sep 22, 2021, 02:48 PM
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So are you going to build one? Greenseaships made three already. Nice flyers. My Uncle flew one as the NFO in the Korean War off the CVE 116 Baddeng Strait
Last edited by quitcherbitchen; Sep 22, 2021 at 02:53 PM.


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