The Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer was a World War II and Korean War era patrol bomber of the United States Navy derived from the Consolidated B-24 Liberator. The Navy had been using unmodified B-24s as the PB4Y-1 Liberator, and the type was considered very successful. A fully navalized design was desired, and Consolidated developed a dedicated long-range patrol bomber in 1943, designated PB4Y-2 Privateer. In 1951, the series was redesignated P4Y-2 Privateer. A further change occurred in October 1962 when remaining Navy Privateers (all having previously been converted to drone configuration as P4Y-2K) were redesignated QP-4B.
The Privateer entered Navy service during late 1944, Patrol Bomber
Squadrons 118 and 119 (VPB-118 and VPB-119) being the first Fleet
squadrons to equip with the aircraft. The first overseas deployment
began on 6 January 1945, when VPB-118 left for operations in the
Marianas. On 2 March 1945 VPB-119 began "offensive search" missions out
of Clark Field,
Luzon in the Philippines, flying sectored searches of the seas and
coastlines extending from the Gulf of Tonkin in the south, along the
Chinese coast, and beyond Okinawa in the north.
The Privateer was used as a typhoon/hurricane hunter
from 1945 to the mid-1950s. One aircraft, designated BuNo 59415 of
VPB-119, went down when it experienced mechanical trouble while
investigating a Category 1 typhoon near Batan Island in the Philippines.
It attempted to land on the island, but was unable to do so and
crashed. It was one of the only six hurricane hunter flights ever lost,
and the only one found.
The French also used Privateers as bombers during the Indochina War.
All Navy PB4Y-2s were retired by 1954, though unarmed PB4Y-2G Privateers served until 1958 with the Coast Guard before being auctioned off for salvage.
The family was redesignated P4Y-2 Privateer in 1951. The earlier XP4Y-1 Corregidor was a completely different design, based on the Consolidated Model 31 twin-engine flying boat.
PB4Y-2 were still being used as drones in the 1950s/early 1960s, designated PB4Y-2K initially and then P4Y-2 based names after 1951. They were then redesignated QP-4B under the 1962 United States Tri-Service aircraft designation system, part of the new patrol series, between the Lockheed P-3 Orion and the Martin P-5 Marlin.
A number of PB4Ys were supplied to the Republic of China Air Force
for use in missions over the People's Republic of China. One was shot
down by ground fire on 12 September 1954, near Xiamen, People's Republic
of China. The crew of nine were killed. Another was shot down on 15
February 1961 by Burmese Hawker Sea Fury
fighter aircraft, near the Thai-Burmese border, killing the crew of
five. Two other crew members were taken prisoner. This aircraft was
carrying supplies for Chinese Kuomintang forces fighting in northern
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