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Monday, March 17, 2014

Engineering Project Plan Model A2U-1 Airplanes, Summary of 17 March 1953

A departmental correspondence that detailed the proposed changes to transition the production of the F7U-3 to the A2U-1.

"These were the proposed changes to assure delivery of the first airplane by September 1954.

Basic changes:

1. Addition of Aero 14C launchers, three on each outer panel, and five on the fuselage.

2. Addition of outer panel fuel to provide maximum radius of action and endurance. (This is not really a change, as it was previously agreed with Materials and Manufacturing to provide a common outer panel for the F7U-4 (Sparrow), F7U-3P, and A2U-1 aircraft).

3. Replacement of the right hand forward center-section self-sealing fuel cell with a bladder cell. Addition of internal and external inerting for all center section fuel cells (the same type of inerting will be provided on the interchangeable outer panels).

4. Redesign of main landing gear to replace present 30 x 7.7 wheels and tires with 34 x 9.9 wheels and tires. (In order to assure delivery of the first airplane, a special extra ply 30 x 7.7 tire will be purchased which can be used on the present F7U-3 landing gear. As soon as the redesigned landing gear for 34 x 9.9 tires is available, it will be retroactively installed on all airplanes).

5. Rework of fin stub to accommodate 34 x 9.9 main wheels and tires.

6. Addition of armor protection under the pilot, and under the main fuselage fuel cell pumps.

7. Addition of center section trailing edge area between the vertical tails and the fuselage, to provide increased load carrying capacity and proper balance of the airplane.

8. Removal of the Aero 5A fire control system, including AN/APG-30, and replacement with a simple gun sight.

9. Installation of Mk3 Mod4 bomb-director equipment.

These are the basic changes that will be made to convert the F7U-3 into the A2U-1. There is a possibility (still being investigated) that a change will be required in the machining of the main beams, in order to raise the strength of the airplanes.

The changes outlined above are considered to be the absolute minimum that will assure a satisfactory attack airplane when the A2U reaches the Fleet."

Signed F. Mann

                                          An actual picture of a A2U-1 on the production line.
                                        Memo and photo Vought Aircraft Heritage Foundation


  1. How far from completion was the first A2U-1 prototype, are there any photographs of it or the mock-up ?

  2. Ian, The photo in the post is of the first A2U-1 nearing shop completion. The first A2U-1 was shop completed and the second was one week away from shop completion at the time of contract termination. I am still trying to determine what happened to the two airframes.

  3. Bill was the completed first A2U ever rolled out?

  4. Bill was the completed first A2U ever rolled out?

  5. Ian, Based on the shop completion schedule, I would say it rolled out. However with the limited archives from this time period I find no photos or documentation about that event.

  6. In the October 20, 1954 A2U-1 Weekly Activity Summary noted that Navy inspection of the No. 1 A2U-1 airplane began on October 18th and is expected to be completed on or about October 26th.

  7. Bill, do you know the assigned Bu. No. to the first A2U-1? I'm writing a book on the J46 and am working on the J46-WE-18 chapter which was the planned engine for the A2U-1. Westinghouse suggested airframe #120 be assigned for flight testing of the engine, but I don't know if that was an A2U-1 Bu. No. or an F7U-3.

  8. 138368/138371 covered the four aircraft that were being built at the time of cancellation.
    138368 was to be the Aero & Structure Demonstrator (#1)
    138369 was to be the Carrier Suitability Demonstrator (#2)
    138670 was to be the Armament Demonstrator (#3)
    138371 was to be the Electrical & Electronics Demonstrator (#4)

  9. Thanks Bill. The partial airframe serial I saw must be for an F7U-3. As far as I know, no -18 engine ever flew.

  10. #3 128453 was modified with one J-35 and one J-46 for safety of flight reasons. #180 129697 was the last plain vanilla F7U-3 and was proposed as a replacement for #3 after it was severely damaged by an engine fire on the ground in July 1954. #3 had a 13 stage J-46 installed and was ready for flight in December 1954
    #22 128472 was assigned to a two month J-46-18 test program with a single J-46 engine.