Seversky A8V

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Seversky A8V1
A8V1 (Seversky 2PA).jpg
Role Fighter
Manufacturer Seversky
Designer Alexander Kartveli
First flight 15 August 1935
Introduction 1937
Retired September 1952 (Sweden)
Number built 20
Developed from Seversky P-35

In the late 1930s, Seversky aircraft exported twenty two-seat 2PA-B3 to Japan for operational service by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service as the A8V1 Type S Two Seat Fighter. The history of this type in Japanese service is obscure and not covered in any detail in the main English-language references for Japanese aircraft. The aircraft were supposedly imported as a result of Japanese anxiety over escalating losses for their unescorted strategic bombing raids with Type 96 G3M bombers deep into China from bases in Formosa (Taiwan) which had begun in 1937. The purchase contract for the Seversky 2PA-B3, construction numbers 122 through 141 had been negotiated secretly but was to cause controversy in the USA and subsequent difficulties in Seversky's relationship with the US government and military. Sources differ on exactly when the aircraft were delivered, but it must have been at least prior to October 1938 (see below).

Design and development[edit]

The origins of the Seversky P-35 single-seat fighter trace back to the Seversky SEV-3 amphibian, which was developed into the Seversky BT-8 basic trainer. Seversky's chief designer, Alexander Kartveli, also proposed a two-seat fighter derivative, the SEV-2XP. This, powered by a 735 hp (548 kW) Wright R-1670 radial engine. It had fixed landing gear in aerodynamic spats and was armed with one .50 in (12.7 mm) and one .30 in (7.62 mm) forward-firing machine guns plus an additional .30 in (7.62 mm) gun for rear defence.

When the USAAC announced a competition for a new single-seat fighter in 1935, Seversky sent the SEV-2XP, confident it would win despite being a two-seater. However, the aircraft was damaged on 18 June 1935 during its transit to the fly-offs at Wright Field. The Air Corps delayed the flyoff until March 1936, which allowed Seversky time to rework the fighter into the single-seat SEV-1XP with retractable landing gear and re-engined with the Wright R-1820 radial.[1]

In what proved to be an unpopular move for Seversky, twenty 2PA-B3s were sold to the Japanese Navy, which briefly employed them in the Second Sino-Japanese War as Navy Type S Two-Seat Fighter or A8V-1 (Allied codename "Dick").

Two demonstrators ended up in the USSR; although a manufacturing licence was also bought, the Soviets undertook no production. Sweden ordered 52 2PAs (known as the B 6), but only two were delivered before the remaining 50 were impounded in 1940 and put into service with the USAAF as the AT-12 Guardsman advanced trainer. On 18 June 1940, United States declared an embargo against exporting weapons to any nation other than the United Kingdom.

Operations[edit]

The Seversky two seat fighters were to be used as long range escort aircraft with forward firing guns and the observer equipped with a hand-held machine gun. However when they arrived and were tested the Japanese were disappointed with their performance, climb rate and agility in the air. There does not seem to be any record of them being used in the long range bomber escort role for which intended but instead they were relegated to a reconnaissance role over central China with the 12th Kōkūtai, operating from bases around Nanking. Possibly the successful development of the Zero-sen as a long range fighter was also a factor in their demise. Unfortunately little has been documented about their operational use over China.

Expecting to encounter these aircraft still in service they were given the Allied reporting name "Dick", but by that time they had long been withdrawn from service.

Two of the aircraft were passed on to the Asahi Newspaper company to become Shiokaze-go J-BAAN and Umikaze-go J-BAAQ and a third was given to the Tokyo Nichinichi Newspaper company.

J-BAAN was registered in October 1938 and J-BAAQ in March 1941 but a registration for the Tokyo Nichinichi Newspaper aircraft cannot be confirmed.

Variants[edit]

2PA
Two-seat version of Seversky P-35 with rear gunner.
2PA-202 - European demonstrator (1)
2PA-A - for USSR (1)
2PA-B - European demonstrator (1)
2PA-BX - European demonstrator (1)
2PA-B3 - 20 production aircraft for Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service as Seversky A8V1.
2PA-L - for USSR (1)
A8V1 "Dick" 
Japanese designation for 2PA-B3 (and U.S. codename).
B 6 
Swedish designation of the 2PA (only 2 delivered, see below).
AT-12 Guardsman 
Two-seat advanced trainer for the USAAF (50 2PA ordered by Sweden, but impounded).

Specifications (A8V1)[edit]

Data from [2]

General characteristics

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 300 mph (483 km/h; 261 kn)
  • Service ceiling: 30,000 ft (9,144 m)

See also[edit]

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ Green 1961
  2. ^ Jane's All the World's Aircraft, 1938 edition
Bibliography
  • Davis Larry. P-35: Mini in Action (Mini Number 1). Carrollton, Texas: Squadron/Signal Publications, 1994. ISBN 0-89747-321-3.
  • Fitzsimmons, Bernard. The Illustrated International Aircraft Guide Fighters of WWII, Part IX. London: MacDonald Phoebus Ltd., 1981.
  • Green, William. War Planes of the Second World War, Volume Four: Fighters. London: Macdonald & Co. (Publishers) Ltd., 1961 (Sixth impression 1969). ISBN 0-356-01448-7.
  • Hucker, Robert. "Seversky: Innovator and Prophet." Air Classics, 20th Anniversary Special Edition 1964-1984, 1984.
  • United States Air Force Museum Guidebook. Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio: Air Force Museum Foundation, 1975.

External links[edit]