McDonnell Banshee

Two Banshees in flight.

Two Banshees in flight. PHOTO: DND Archives

Overview

Overview

Procured second-hand from the United States Navy, the McDonnell F2H-3 Banshee was the only carrier-based air defence jet fighter used by the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) from 1955 to 1962. Until the CF-18 Hornet, the Banshee, also nicknamed the "Banjo", was the only Canadian military aircraft armed with AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles. The Banshee was a rugged and reliable, all-weather, fleet defence and ground attack fighter. In RCN operational service, all 39 Banshee aircraft were based in Shearwater, Nova Scotia, and flew with VF-870 and VF-871 Squadrons, until the latter was amalgamated into the former in 1959. VX10 Experimental Squadron also flew the Banshee in order to do acceptance evaluations. Squadrons were deployed aboard Canada’s sole aircraft carrier of the period, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Bonaventure. The Banshee was well liked by pilots because of its good performance on the deck and in the air, as well as its all-weather capability, 800-mile (1,287-kilometre) tactical radius, and Mach 0.8 speed capability. The aircraft also formed the basis of the RCN’s premiere aerobatic team known as the “Grey Ghosts”. This four-ship formation team participated in many air shows.

Designation

 

Model number

F2H-3

Marks

 

Role

Fighter

Taken on strength

1955

Struck off strength

1962

Number

39

Service

RCN

 

Technical specifications

Technical specifications

Manufacturer

McDonnell Aircraft Corporation

Crew/passengers

1 pilot in an ejection seat

Powerplant

Two Westinghouse J34-WE-34 turbojet engine with a thrust rating of 3,250 pounds

Maximum speed

479 miles per hour (771 kilometres per hour)

Cruising speed

248 miles per hour (399 kilometres per hour)

Service ceiling

41,100 feet (12,527 metres) 

Range

1,170 miles (1,882 kilometres)

Empty weight

6,683 pounds (3,031 kilograms)

Gross weight

12,035 pounds (5,459 kilograms)

Span

40 feet 9 inches (12.42 metres) 

Length

38 feet 9 inches (11.81 metres) 

Height 

14 feet 2 in (4.32 metres)

Armament

Four 20-millimetre cannons, plus provisions for two Sidewinders, 16 rockets or six 500-lb (227 kilogram) bombs

Original cost

Unknown

Source: Canadian Combat and Support Aircraft: A Military Compendium by T.F.J. Leversedge © 2007. Translated and reproduced with permission of the author.

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