North American AJ-2P Savage

AJ-2P Savage

The North American AJ-2P Savage began life as an unusual aircraft designed for an unusual task - to take off from an aircraft carrier with a nuclear bomb and then drop it in level flight from high altitude. As an alternative, the aircraft was designed to deliver 10,500 lbs of conventional bombs. For this task North American designed a high-wing, three crew, attack bomber powered by two 2,300 hp R-2800-44W Double Wasp reciprocating engines with internal, single-speed, engine driven turbo superchargers, plus one 4,600 lb static thrust centrifugal flow J33-A-10 turbojet located in the rear end of the fuselage.

AJ-2P Savage

The original 55 AJ-I Savage's proved to be an unsatisfactory carrier borne nuclear bomber. The aircraft only had a range of 1500 nms when carrying a Mk15 nuclear weapon and the aircraft's top speed of 449 mph made it vunerable to interception by the new generation of jet fighters that were just starting to appear. In addition, the Savage had numerous other problems including weak hydraulic systems, poor engine-out handling characteristics and a complicated wing folding procedure which required the external installation of of hinges and actuators.

The final 30 Savage's built were AJ-2P specialist reconnaissance versions which had improved engines and greater fuel capacity. These aircraft were equipped with numerous vertical and oblique cameras and were the last version of the Savage to remain in service with the US Navy. The Savage was phased out of service after a relatively short career and was replaced by the Douglas A3 Skywarrior.