North American AJ Savage
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North American AJ Savage

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).

North American AJ Savage

 ENGINE2 x Pratt & Whitney R-2800-44W, 1790kW + Allison J33-A-19 auxiliary turboprop, 2087kg
    Take-off weight23973 kg52852 lb
    Wingspan22.91 m75 ft 2 in
    Length19.20 m63 ft 0 in
    Max. speed758 km/h471 mph

North American AJ Savage

Comments1-20 21-40 41-60 61-80 81-100
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
accidents 👼

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.

Peter Bennett, 23.02.2013

I was in VC-8 from around 1954 to 1957; was a nonfunctioning AT-2 and a very gung-ho third-crew member. Flew out of Sanford, Port Lyauty, Naples, and several carriers in the med. Invented the Goodie-Package Enterprise during the Suez crisis. I recall Hurbert Hermsdorph, Larry Annicchiarico Cdr Baird and others.

Jim Rice, 18.12.2012

Joined VC5 in Norfolk,Va. in1952. Went to Lyauty for 6months then back to Norfolk. Squardon moved to Jax.
Remember the AJ1 very well. Had a lot of trouble keeping them airbourn. I was an AD3

Robert V. NEIL, 02.11.2012

I was attached to VC-6 later became VAH-6 At NAS North Island and Atsugi Japan from 1955-1957 as an AO3 many great memories of the aircraft and deployments.
I would enjoy hearing from some of my old shipmates.

george fowler, 29.09.2012

VAH 5. 1955, 56,57. Attended HATU 3rd crew traing,USNAAS Sanford FL.
Med cruise with "Savage Son's of Sanford," 1956. Split cruise;3months port Lyauty, 3 months USS Randolph, CVA15. Still have my med cruise patch.
Celebrated 18th birthday on that med cruise.
NAM VET. USA 66/ 67.

AMS1 Mendenhall USN RET, 31.07.2012

I was withheavy attack squadron 6 at NAS North Island 1956.
We had a detachment of 3 aircraft and 55 men on every attack carrier in the Pacific. Plua a permanent detachment stationed at Atsugi,Japan. All of our aircraft were AJ 2's.
Oursquadron had over 650 men:one of the biggest in the USN.

Ed Legg, 09.07.2012

I agree with Banky.
There is a partal list of the VC squadrons enlisted men on line but not complet.
I flew as 3rd crewman on the AJs but was in VC-7.

d, banky, 08.07.2012

I would like to see a roster list for the enlisted US Navy men, in the 1st air crews of AJ-1 in VC-5, at Paxunent, MD.
It's totally un-American to give all the glory to officers only, especially to these enlisted unsung elite. For SHAME!

Klaatu83, 30.06.2012

After the two atomic bombs were dropped on Japan by B-29 bombers of the Army Air Force, the Navy high command became concerned that the post-war government would assign future defense funding to the Army Air Force at the expense of the Navy, and that the Navy's aircraft carriers would all be scrapped. The Navy believed that, in order to keep their carriers viable, they would have to have a carrier-based nuclear bomber of their own. This aircraft was the result. It may not have been the most elegant of airplanes, but N.A. were able to put it into production relatively quickly, so that soon the Navy was able to tell Congress that they, too, possessed the capability of delivering nuclear weapons.

W. Robert (Bob) Preston, 23.06.2012

I joined VAP 61 at NAS Marimar, CA, in October 1954. I was assigned to the squadron to fly the PB4Y1P because of prior PB4Y2 experience. During my first fam flight in the PB4Y1P, we received a call from the Miramar tower to return to base immediately.

W. Robert (Bob) Preston, 23.06.2012

I joined VAP 61 at NAS Marimar, CAL, in October 1954. I was assigned to the squadron to fly the PB4Y1P because of prior PB4Y2 experience.

W. Robert (Bob) Preston, 23.06.2012

I joined VAP 61 at NAS Marimar, CAL, in October 1954.

patrick Land, 19.06.2012

My Dad was in VC-6 and rembers the AJs

patrick Land, 19.06.2012

My Dad was in VC-6 and rembers the AJs

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