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The Vought OS2U Kingfisher was an American catapult-launched observation floatplane. Its design has a large central float but also a version OS2U could also operate on fixed, wheeled, taildragger landing gear. The first 54 Kingfishers were delivered to the U.S. Navy beginning in August 1940 and six had been assigned to the Pearl Harbor based Battle Force before the end of the same year. It was the main shipboard observation aircraft used by the United States Navy during World War II, and over 1,500 of the aircraft were built. It served on battleships and cruisers of the US Navy, with the United States Marine Corps, with the United States Coast Guard at coastal air stations, at sea with the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy, and with the Soviet Navy. The Royal Australian Air Force also operated a few Kingfishers from shore bases.

 kingfisher-profile


Vought OS2U-3  Kingfisher

This version OS2U-3 has self-sealing fuel tanks, armour protection and had two 7.62 mm guns (dorsal and nose mounted). It was able to carry 147 kg of depth charges or 45 kg bombs. The engine was the 450 hp Pratt & Whitney R-985-AN2 engine.

This aircraft (BuNo 5926) is located at the National Museum of Naval Aviation at NAS Pensacola, Florida. It was one of six OS2U-3 Kingfishers that were transferred by Lend-Lease to the Uruguayan Navy during World War II. This aircraft operated as a seaplane until 1958 and was obtained in 1971 by the museum

Photographed January 2012 by Cees Hendriks,  (C) Copyright IPMS Nederland


OS2U-3  Kingfisher

This aircraft is on display in Smithsonian Air Space Museum at Dulles, Washington DC. According to the museum this airplane was assigned to the battleship USS Indiana March 1942. It later underwent a six-month overhaul in California, returned to Pearl Harbor, and rejoined the Indiana in March 1944. Later transferred from the United States Navy.

Photographed 2015 by Cees Hendriks,  (C) Copyright IPMS Nederland


Several scale models of the Kingfisher have been issued. In 1/72 scale many kits were available but recently Airfix released a very nice kit. Monogram had a 1/48 scale kit, later also from Hasegawa. In 1/32 Kitty Hawk has a spectacular new kit.