The Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer was a United States Navy long range patrol bomber derived from the Consolidated B-24 Liberator. At the outbreak of World War II the Navy lacked any long-range land based patrol bombers to conduct search, anti-submarine, and anti-shipping missions. In 1942 the navy put in a request for 977 B-24s designated PB4Y-1. While PB4Y-1s distinguished themselves in the Atlantic and the Pacific, it was still essentially a B-24 designed for high altitude flight, not low altitude patrol missions
In 1943 the Navy asked Consolidated for a new patrol bomber based on the B-24. The PB4Y-2 design incorporated many changes including a single vertical tail, more armament, low level engines, and a stretched fuselage. The Privateer also had state of the art search radars and navigation equipment giving the aircraft an all-weather capability. By 1945 several squadrons of Privateers were conducting operations from the Philippines to the Aleutian Islands. The PB4Y-2 stayed in Navy service after the war where it took on additional missions such as weather reconnaissance, and the gathering of signal intelligence before being retired around 1955. After their retirement, several Privateers were modified and used as civilian air tankers used in fighting forest fires until 2002.
Patrol Bombing Squadron 120 (VPB-120), Shemya Island, 1945
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