Camouflage & Markings – McDonnell F2H Banshee (Part 2)
In contrast with the profiles posted in the first part of this article, the later versions of the F2H Banshee offered a rather greater variety of color schemes. These late-production Banshees also looked quite different from the original.
The F2H-3 Banshee was an all-weather fighter adaptation of the basic Banshee design. It had a Westinghouse AN/APQ-41 radar installation housed inside the new nose radome. The fuselage was longer by 8-feet 1.6-inches, which enabled the aircraft to carry more internal fuel. This largely solved the operational range problems experienced with the earlier versions, so the capacity of the wingtip tanks was decreased to only 170 gallons plus these tanks were often left out during actual missions.
The tail of the F2H-3 was completely redesigned, with horizontal tailplane moved downward to the fuselage tailcone and provided with a ten-degree dihedral.
M12 or M16 20-mm cannon replaced the M-3 cannon of the earlier Banshee variants, and these guns were moved further aft. Four weapons racks were provided underneath each wing of the F2H-3, two racks underneath the outer wing and two underneath the wing roots just beyond the air intakes.
The F2H-4 Banshee differed from the F2H-3 in having the improved and more reliable Hughes AN/APG-37 radar in place of the Westinghouse AN/APQ-41. In addition, it was fitted with a pair of more powerful Westinghouse J34-WE-38 turbojets. It was otherwise identical to the F2H-3, and the two versions could generally be distinguished from each other only by an examination of their serial numbers.
The F2H-3 and -4 served as the Navy and Marine Corps standard all-weather fighters throughout mid- to late-1950s. Following its withdrawal from front-line service, the F2H-4 continued to serve with reserve units until 1961, when the last examples were retired.
Look back at the first part of this series:
All profiles included in this article have been contributed by Mr Rick Kent. Used by permission
27 additional images. Click to enlarge.