The first naval combat aircraft designed to carry an atomic bomb and for a time the world's largest carrier based aircraft, the Savage was developed (as the North American NA-146) to meet a US Navy requirement for a high performance attack bomber capable of carrying a nuclear weapon.
In order to meet the specification's demands a large aircraft was required, this in turn dictating the need far an unusual composite powerplants configuration - a pair of Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp radials as the primary engines augmented by an auxiliary Allison J33 turbojet in the lower rear fuselage.
This third engine was intended to provide a high speed 'dash' capability during the attack phase of the aircraft's operation and for extra boost on takeoff when required.
Other features included shoulder mounted folding wings, tricycle undercarriage, wing tip fuel tanks and (on the first models) dihedral tail planes.
The Savage was ordered In June 1946, the first of three XAJ-1 prototypes flying on 3 July 1948. These were followed by 55 initial production AJ-1s, the first one flying in May 1949.
Deliveries to US Navy squadron VC-5 began in September 1949 and the first carrier landings were performed aboard USS Constellation in August 1950.
The AJ-2 first flew on 19 February 1953, this upgraded model featuring revised versions of the same powerplants, increased fuel capacity, systems modifications, a taller fin and no tailplane dihedral.
Preceding the AJ-2 bomber was the photo-reconnaissance AJ-2P (first flight 6 March 1952) equipped with 18 cameras for day and night photography at high and low altitudes, photo-flash bombs in the weapons bay, automatic control of most of the cameras, the associated electronics equipment in a modified nose and additional fuel capacity. Four US Navy combat squadrons were still operating the AJ-2 in 1958 and these received AJ-2Ps.
A number of AJ-1s and AJ-2s were converted to flight refuelling tankers with a hose-and-reel unit installed in the weapons bay. The few Savages still in service in September 1962 when all USAF and USN aircraft designations were combined into the existing Air Force system were redesignated A-2A (AJ-1) and A-2B (AJ-2).
| ENGINE||2 x Pratt & Whitney R-2800-44W, 1790kW + Allison J33-A-19 auxiliary turboprop, 2087kg|
| Take-off weight||23973 kg||52852 lb|
| Wingspan||22.91 m||75 ft 2 in|
| Length||19.20 m||63 ft 0 in|
| Max. speed||758 km/h||471 mph|
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|Robert Belter Captain USN Ret, 02.10.2016|
Interesting incidents in AJ-2 (Both in the same aircraft)
Incident #1 - USS Bennington. Broken wire on trap,
went off the angled deck barely flying. Witnesses said
tailhook made a rooster tail in the water. Recovered
Incident #2 - Out of Hong Kong on Bennington,
launched with 4,000 lb bomb shape. Cat shot dis
lodged the shape which went through the aft bulkhead,
tearing the jet engine off its mounts with an accom-
panying fire (not sustained due to kinked main fuel
hose). Opening bomb bay to release shape cause the
fins to rip out a control cable cluster on the way out.
Lost flight control boost. Controls loose but aircraft
was flyable with brute strength. After discussion with
the Air Boss, bingoed to Okinawa - good decision
because jet engine was free and loose and would have
come through the cockpit on a trap. NOTE: The cause
of the shape being dislodged was determined to be
the result of an AirPac aircraft bulletin which called for
the removal of a rivet head which impinged upon the
single shackle bomb suspension/release follow up system.
|Chuck Seeber, 01.10.2016|
I ended as AT-2 in VC-6, 51 - Dec 54. Pax. Rv; P.Lyauty; North Is; Atsugi. Flew some third crewman off Oriskany and Lake Champlain TF 77 in 53.
I have lost all contact with squadron members. Like to hear.
|allen vrooman, 28.01.2016|
I was in VAP-62 1956-1957 I was AD1 flight mechanic of TP9 bureau number 134074 AJ-2P . I will never forget one flight we were carrier qualifying on the USS Forestall cv-59 we were launched off the canted deck by the LSO ,from the spot we had just landed on, and almost went into ocean tip tank hit an antenna at end of canted deck and split tip of it, was later in det. echo in Turkey I beleave. lt Gorski pilot.
|Laura Millsaps Costello, 08.01.2016|
My dad, Lewis Millsaps, was a Lt. in 1955, a member of Heavy Attack Wing One Squadron VAH-7. According to an old news clipping, on 12-21-1955 "he and his crew were en route from a 5 months tour of duty in the Mediterranean to their new home base at NAAS Sanford....When the mishap occurred about 30 miles offshore from Boston, they were flying about 10,000 feet headed for Patuxent River, Md. A sudden vibration was felt in the port engine and about 7 seconds later the port engine tore off and fell into the sea." He landed it safely in Boston with no injuries,and no additional damage to the plane, though "two tires were torn to shreds as it dragged to a stop on a cleared runway." I wish our family had the official Navy photo of the actual aircraft (lost). The clipping says it was an AJ-2 Bureau Number 314039 (possibly the last two digits are 89) My dad received a commendation, never talked about this at home, but I heard the story from my mom, who had also saved the clipping....
|matt hamilton, 02.01.2016|
I see from earlier posts that the following people were in Detachment Love in Turkey in the 1950's . Frank Voltoline and John Rowe. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
|Matt Hamilton, 02.01.2016|
Does anyone remember CPO Dempsey (DOC) Hamilton. He was in the Detachment Love . and did training in Sanford. Have pics of a Savage AJ7 with his name listed on it.
|Charles Hill, 25.05.2015|
I am looking for information on my Grandfathers plane crash on February 4, 1953 of an AJ [Savage]. His name was Lt. McFaddin Moise [some records list him as "Hoise", but his name was Moise.] Also killed in the accident was AD2 James Vaughn. Mechanical trouble just after take-off was to blame. This occurred at the Naval Air Station - Patuxent, Maryland. There is a street named in his honor [Hoise Street - I am working to get the proper name on the street and also a Vaughn Street on the Naval Air Base - Not sure why they have his name wrong]. I see several people on here, including Chuck Emmitt who might have information or would have been there. Please feel free to reach out to me if anyone does. e-mail: Charlesehill17@gmail.com or cell # 330-466-3969
|Wm. Cornwell, Jr. AT-1, 02.02.2015|
VC-6 Lives again! 1950-1956 has been re-ignited and still kicking! If you were a "6" member, please contact me at email@example.com, and let us know who you are. Everything that has been exchanged between us, will be sent to you. God Bless all of you,from this site past and present. Cornwell
|Dan Sullivan, 27.01.2015|
Just verifying Peter Ardans comments as we were shipmates in VF-63 aboard the Essex (CVA-9). Pete please contact me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
|CHUCK EMMITT, AD3, 14.01.2015|
WE WERE TESTING THE XAJ-1 AT PATUXENT RIVER, TACTICAL TEST UNIT IN 52 AND 53, DOING IN FLIGHT REFUELING TESTING [THE J-33 ENGINE WAS REMOVED FROM THE FUSELAGE AND REPLACED BY A LARGE BLADDER FUEL TANK]. WE ALSO DID PRECISION BOMB SIGHT TESTING OVER THE NAVAL BOMB TESTING AREA IN VA. I WAS FORTUNATE TO HAVE BEEN THE PLANE CAPTAIN AND CREWMAN OF THE SAVAGE--I STILL HAVE MY SQUADRON PATCH.
|CHUCK EMMITT,ad3, 14.01.2015|
I flew as plane captain and crewmen
|E.J.Zemaitis USN retired, 27.12.2014|
I witnessed the crash of an AJ-1 upon takoff of the FDR in 1950. The copilot ejected but lost the pilot and crew member.
|Chuck Huber, 30.09.2014|
We now have a Face Book Group for the Heavy Attack Composite squadrons which flew the AJ Savages. I was in VC-8 1954/55. Search Face Book for "VC-5,6,7,8,9."
|Jerry Gallagher, 04.01.2014|
VAH 11 1956 then A3D Till about 1958 on FDR Corral Sea.
|Lawrence J Riccio, 12.12.2013|
I was in Heavy Attack 7 (VAH7) in Sanford Florida from 1955 to 1960'
I still miss the planes and great people that were there!
God bless all the pilots, BNs and third crew men that died in peace time
|FRank Houle, 11.10.2013|
I was in VC-6 from 53-56.Got in on the tanker package operation. Made the USS Oriskany ORI to Pearl then flew to Atsugi for deployment tour.Was aboard: Oriskany,Bennington, and the Hancock for lots of missions. Flew in the A/C that is at the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola from the Bennington on the 19th and 23rd of August and also in Nov 55 .
|Tony Carnicelli, 09.09.2013|
I was in VC6 and VAH6 from 1956 to 1958 at North Island and
2 trips to Atsugi Japan plus Carrier Operations . I was an
AM2 in the air frames shop . Love to hear from some shipmates
|Ekkis D. Rockafellow, 04.08.2013|
Just read your write ups on the North American AJ1 Savage Heavy Attack Carrier operated bomber and remember well the facts about the AJ1 and the P2V2 and P2V3c. I was assigned to Composite Squadron Five in November of 1949 then at Moffett Field CA. While there I was transferred to VC6 which then moved to Patuxent River Maryland. I was a structural Mechanic and eventually wound up as maintenance yeoman working in the Maintenance Officer's office. With this duty I was in on much of the problems with the AJ1 and reports of unsatisfactory or defective material. I didn't recall many names but I did recognize one crew member named Gonzales, a good friend at the time. My sipper was of course Capt. Chick Hayward in VC5 and Cmdr Ashcroft in VC6
I would appreciate hearing from any former members of either of these squadrons if any are still around.
|Richard D'Angelo, 29.06.2013|
After reading all the comments, I cannot seem to find any VC-6 personnel who served from 1951-1955. We were out of North Island but I spent most of my time in Atsugi, Japan. I was an AD2 and serviced the AJ 1.
Do you have any comments about this aircraft ?