The Lockheed PV-1 Ventura

United States of America
United States of America

Sorry, No ID pictures yet

When the Lockheed Hudson entered production for the British, Lockheed started to look at possible successors. A Likely candidate would be the Model 18 Lodestar. This aircraft was more advanced, and well suited because of it's longer fuselage. In September a study was presented to the British in two different versions: a pure Hudson successor with 2 engines in the 1,000 hp - 1,200 hp (746 kW - 895 kW) range, or a Blenheim successor with two engines in the 1,600 hp - 2,000 hp (1.193 kW - 1.491 kW) range.
Already were the weaknesses of the Blenheim showing, and in Februari 1940 the United Kingdom ordered 25 preliminary aircraft for the medium bomber role.
After Lockheed had given correct performance estimates, the British increased the oreder to 300 aircraft in May 1940, and later yet increased it to 375. Because the main production facility lacked the capacity, production was moved to the Vega Aircraft Corporation subsidiary. This move delayed the entry of the Ventura to the summer of 1942.

Version list:

Further pictures:

Lockheed Ventura Mk I in full flight
Lockheed Ventura Mk I in full flight

Lockheed B-34 Ventura in full flight
Lockheed B-34 Ventura in full flight

 

Technical data on the Lockheed Ventura Mk I
Powerplant 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-2800-S1A4-G Double Wasp radial, rated at 1850 hp (1379.16 kW) each Role during war
  • Light Bomber
  • Maritime/Coastal patrol reconnaissance Bomber
Length 51 ft 5 inch Height 11 ft 10.5 inch
Empty weight unknown Operational weight 22500 lb typical,
19200 lb max
Wing Span 65 ft 6 inch Wing Aspect ratio 7.79
Wing Area 551 sq ft Service ceiling 25000 ft
Maximum speed 312 mph at 15500 ft Cruising speed 272 mph at optimum altitude
Initial climb rate 2,035 ft per min Range 925 miles typical
Fuel capacity internal 470 Imp gal (565 US gal) Fuel capacity external -
Machine guns
  • 2 × 0.50 inch fixed forward-firing in the upper part of the nose
  • 2 (later 4) × 0.303 inch trainable guns in a power operated dorsal turret
  • 2 × 0.303 inch trainable forward-firing in the nose
  • 2 × 0.303 inch trainable rearward-firing in the nose
Cannons -
Bomb load Up to 2,500 lb, carried in a lower-fuselage weapons bay rated 2,500 lb. General disposables load consisted of: unknown number of bombs Torpedoes/rockets -
Crew 5: pilot, co-pilot (optional), navigator/bombardier, radio operator/gunner, gunner Naval or ground based Ground
First flight (prototype) 31 July 1941 Operational Service June 1942 - mid 1960's
Manufacturer Lockheed Aircraft Corporation Number produced 2.475 total, 188 this version
Metric system
Length 15.67 m Height 3.62 m
Empty weight unknown Operational weight 10206 kg typical,
8709 kg max
Wing Span 19.96 m Wing Aspect ratio 7.79
Wing Area 51.19 m² Service ceiling 7620 m
Maximum speed 502 km/h at 4724 m Cruising speed 438 km/h at optimum altitude
Initial climb rate 620 m per min Range 1489 km typical
Fuel capacity internal 2.139 liters Fuel capacity external -
Machine guns
  • 2 × 12,7 mm fixed forward-firing in the upper part of the nose
  • 2 (later 4) × 7,7 mm trainable guns in a power operated dorsal turret
  • 2 × 7,7 mm trainable forward-firing in the nose
  • 2 × 7,7 mm trainable rearward-firing in the nose
Cannons -
Bomb load Up to 1.134 kg, carried in a lower-fuselage weapons bay rated 1.134 kg. General disposables load consisted of: unknown number of bombs Torpedoes/rockets -

Technical data on the Lockheed PV-1 Ventura
Powerplant 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-2800-31 Double Wasp radial, rated at 2000 hp (1490.98 kW) each Role during war
  • Light Bomber
  • Maritime/Coastal patrol reconnaissance Bomber
Length 51 ft 9 inch Height 11 ft 11 inch
Empty weight 20197 lb Operational weight 31077 lb typical,
34000 lb max
Wing Span 65 ft 6 inch Wing Aspect ratio 7.79
Wing Area 551 sq ft Service ceiling 26300 ft
Maximum speed 322 mph at 13800 ft Cruising speed 170 mph at optimum altitude
Initial climb rate 2,230 ft per min Range 1360 miles typical,
1660 miles max
Fuel capacity internal 672 Imp gal (807 US gal) plus provision for up to 408 Imp gal (490 US gal) auxiliary fuel in 2 × 204 Imp gal (245 US gal) weapon bay tanks Fuel capacity external Up to 258 Imp gal (310 US gal) in 2 × 129 Imp gal (155 US gal) drop tanks
Machine guns
  • 2 × 0.50 inch Browning M3 fixed forward-firing in the upper part of the nose
  • 3 × 0.50 inch Browing M3 fixed forward-firing in an undernose gun pack
  • 2 × 0.50 inch Browning M2 trainable guns in a power operated dorsal turret
  • 2 × 0.3 inch Browning trainable rearward-firing in the ventral position
Cannons -
Bomb load Up to 5,000 lb, carried in a lower-fuselage weapons bay rated 3,000 lb, and on two hardpoints under the wings rated at 1,000 lb each. General disposables load consisted of:
  • 6 × 500 lb bombs in the weapons bay
  • 2 × 1,000 lb bombs under the wings
Torpedoes/rockets Alternatively to weapons in weapon bay:
  • 1 × Mk13-2 Torpedo, or
  • 6 × 325 lb depth charges
Later aircraft had underwing provisions for up to 8 × 5 inch HVAR rockets under the wings
Crew 5: pilot, co-pilot (optional), navigator/bombardier, radio operator/gunner, gunner Naval or ground based Ground
First flight (prototype) 31 July 1941 Operational Service June 1942 - mid 1960's
Manufacturer Lockheed Aircraft Corporation Number produced 2.475 total, 1.066+ this version
Metric system
Length 15.77 m Height 3.63 m
Empty weight 9161 kg Operational weight 14097 kg typical,
15422 kg max
Wing Span 19.96 m Wing Aspect ratio 7.79
Wing Area 51.19 m² Service ceiling 8016 m
Maximum speed 518 km/h at 4206 m Cruising speed 274 km/h at optimum altitude
Initial climb rate 680 m per min Range 2189 km typical,
2671 km max
Fuel capacity internal 3.055 liters plus provsion for up to 1.855 liters auxiliary fuel in 2 × 927 liters weapon bay tanks Fuel capacity external Up to 1.174 liters in 2 × 587 liters drop tanks
Machine guns
  • 2 × 12,7 mm Browning M3 fixed forward-firing in the upper part of the nose
  • 3 × 12,7 mm Browing M3 fixed forward-firing in an undernose gun pack
  • 2 × 12,7 mm Browning M2 trainable guns in a power operated dorsal turret
  • 2 × 7,62 mm Browning trainable rearward-firing in the ventral position
Cannons -
Bomb load Up to 2.272 kg, carried in a lower-fuselage weapons bay rated 1.361 kg, and on two hardpoints under the wings rated at 454 kg each. General disposables load consisted of:
  • 6 × 227 kg bombs in the weapons bay
  • 2 × 454 kg bombs under the wings
Torpedoes/rockets Alternatively to weapons in weapon bay:
  • 1 × Mk13-2 Torpedo, or
  • 6 × 147 depth charges
Later aircraft had underwing provisions for up to 8 × 127 mm HVAR rockets under the wings

Here is a quick overview of all different versions, without the full technical specifications:

Different versions of the Lockheed PV-1  Ventura
Lockheed Ventura Mk I Like described in the introductory text at the top of this page, the Ventura (Lockheed Model 37) was adapted for military use from the Model 18 Lodestar, resulting in the Model 21. It was meant to be either a Lockheed Hudson successor, or a Bristol Blenheim successor.
The long range of the Ventura meant it was very well suited for the maritime patrol bomber role, in which it would subsequently be featured. Thus the Ventura releaved the Hudson of it's tasks, offering more advanced features.
Number built: 188
Lockheed Ventura GR.Mk I Italian based Ventura Mk I's received the new designation GR.Mk I. Any specific reason is unclear to me at the moment.
Redesignated aircraft
Lockheed Ventura Mk II This version (Lockheed Model 37-21-01) was based on the Ventura Mk I, but was powered by 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-2800-31 Double Wasp radial, built to US military rather than civil standards. Other than that the weapons bay's rating was increased to 3,000 lb (1.361 kg) and provisions for 650 Imp gal (780 US gal, 2.952 liters) of auxiliairy fuel in an additional tank in the weapons bay were made.
Number built: 487
Lockheed Ventura Mk IIA This version (the Lockheed Model 37-27-02) differed only slightly from the Ventura Mk II. It's main differences were several US equipment items and armament. The latter was most notable by the Martin dorsal turret with 2 × 0.50 inch (12,7 mm). 200 aircraft were ordered by the USAAF, but only 25 were delivered. The remainder went to Great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Number built: 112
Lockheed Ventura GR.Mk V This version was ordered by the US Navy as the PV-1 Maritime patrol bomber. Under the Lend-Lease act however they ended up in British, Canadian, South African, New Zealand and Australian air forces.
Number built: 387
Lockheed Ventura C.Mk V Some Ventura GR.Mk V were converted as unarmed transports, designated with Ventura C.Mk V
Number converted: unknown
Lockheed PV-1 Ventura When the USA entered the War, the US Navy and US AAF agreed that maritime patrol should be considered as a task for the Navy. The USAAF then suspended the B-34 orders, so that Lockheed could concentrate on the Navy variant. In stead of a Patrol Bomber it was initially perceived as a Patrol aircraft.
The Navy put different constraints forward, resulting in the PV-1. This version (Lockheed Model 237-27-01) had a bigger fuel capacity, the ability to carry drop tanks, lightened gun armament, a more diverse load of disposables, and naval equipment including an ASD-1 surface search radar.
The first PV-1 was delivered in November 1942, and the first aircraft still retained the B-34's bombardier position. Later aircraft didn't need this posotion because there was no need for a bombardier, and the position was replaced with 3 × 0.50 inch (12,7 mm) fixed forward-firing guns for increased firepower against sub-marines. Additionally the offensive weaponry was increased with 8 launchers for 5 inch rockets.
Number built: 1.600
Lockheed PV-1P Ventura All PV-1's carried an oblique reconnaissance camera as standard equipment. Yet in 1945 a number of aircraft received additional cameras for use as a dedicated reconnaissance aircraft, subsequently redesignated PV-1P ventura.
Number converted: unknown.
Lockheed PV-3 Ventura the last 27 aircraft of the Ventura Mk II version were delivered to the US Navy. These aircraft were redesignated to PV-3 Ventura.
Redesignated aircraft
Lockheed B-34 Lexington In 1941 the USAAF ordered 200 Lockheed Model 147-27-02 aircraft, which would be delivered to the UK under the Lend-Lease pact. These aircraft were redesignated by the British to Ventura Mk IIA. When the USA enetered the War in December 1941, 20 airrcaft were retained for the USA. These aircraft had additional or changed armament and fuel capacity, and were fitted with a surface search radar.
Number built: 20
Lockheed B-34A Lexington This batch of aircraft was built as the Ventura Mk IIA for the RAF, and as the B-34A Lexington for the USAAF. During production some blocks were identified:

B-34A-2 Lexington Bomber trainer version. Number built: 57
B-34A-3 Lexington Gunnery trainer. Number built: 28
B-34A-4 Lexington Target Tug. Number built: 16


Number built: 167
Lockheed B-34B Lexington The remainder of the B-34 contractwere delivered to the Navigation Training standard.
Number built: 13
Lockheed RB-34 Lexington In October 1942 the remainder of the B-34's were redesignated to RB-34 Lexington to indicate their changed operational status: training only.
Redesignated aircraft
Lockheed RB-34A Lexington In October 1942 the remainder of the B-34A's were redesignated to RB-34A Lexington to indicate their changed operational status: training only.
Redesignated aircraft
Lockheed RB-34B Lexington In October 1942 the remainder of the B-34B's were redesignated to RB-34B Lexington to indicate their changed operational status: training only.
Redesignated aircraft
Lockheed B-37 In August 1941 the USAAF ordered 550 Lockheed Model 137-96-03 aircraft, originally designated O-56 for the armed observation and reconnaissance roles. These aircraft would be powered by 2 × Wright R-2600-13 radials, rated at 1,700 hp (1.484 kW) each. The weapons bay could carry 2,000 lb (907 kg) of disposables. The guns were totalled to 5 × 0.50 inch (12,7 mm) guns, and 4 × 0.3 inch (7,62 mm) guns.
Before the first aircraft could be delivered, the O-for-Observation designation was dropped by the USAAF, so these aircraft were redesignated to RB-34B, later to B-37. This last designation was meant to indicate the Wright engines, as opposed to the Pratt & Whitney engines. Because of production constraints, only 18 were delivered.
Number built: 18

Operational remarks:

The Ventura was first meant as a fast light bomber, a replacement for the Blenheim and/or Hudson. However, when the Ventura entered service in October 1942 it quickly became clear that it could not fulifil the role of fast daylight bomber well. The Ventura was phased out of Bomber Command, and transferred to Coastal Command and Italy. In Italy the Ventura was redesignated to Ventura GR.Mk I (see below), while in Coastal Command it was mainly used for meteorological missions.

Strengths:

Weaknesses:

 

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© by Frans Bonné, 2000
Last revision: 9/23/01