Pre war SB2Us in formation[1]

The Vought SB2U Vindicator was an early monoplane dive bomber used by the Allies during the early months of World War 2.


The Vindicator was a decent aircraft when it was accepted in 1936 as the U.S. Navy's first monoplane scout bomber. It was the product of a call for comparative trials between a modern biplane and modern monoplane design. The monoplane design proved much superior and was put into production in October 1936. Deliveries began in December 1937.

A small number were ordered by the French as the V-156F, and 24 had been delivered by May 1940. Half of these were wiped out on the first day of the German invasion. Those aircraft not yet delivered to the French were taken over by the British, who ordered an additional 50 as the Chesapeake Mark I.

The Vindicator was clearly obsolete by the start of the Pacific War. A few –3s saw action with the Marines at Midway, suffering relatively light casualties but failing to get any hits. Its crews sardonically referred to it as the "Wind Indicator." [2]


  • Crew: 2
  • Dimensions: 41'11" (12.78m) by 33'11.75" (10.36m) by 14'3" (4.34m)
  • Wing area: 305 square feet (28.3 square meters)
  • Weight: 5634-9763 lbs (2556-4428 kg)
  • Maximum speed: 243 mph (391 km/h) at 9500 feet (2900 meters), 232 mph (373 km/h) at sea level
  • Cruise speed: 152 mph (245 km/h)
  • Landing speed: 71 mph (114 km/h)
  • Climb rate: 18 feet per second (5.5 meters per second)
  • Service ceiling: 23,600 feet (7200 meters)
  • Power plant: One 750 hp (559 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1535-02 Twin Wasp Junior 14-cylinder two-row radial driving a two bladed propeller.
  • Armament: One 0.50 fixed wing machine gun, One 0.50 flexible rear cockpit machine gun
  • External stores: 1000 lbs (454 kg) of bombs
  • Range: 1120 miles (1800 km) with bomb load, 2450 miles (3940 km) as ferry
  • Fuel: 538 gallons (2037 liters)
  • Production: Vought-Sikorsky Division of United Aircraft, East Hartford, CT, comprising 54 –1s, 58 –2s and 57 –3s.[2]


  1. Dave's Warbirds
  2. 2.0 2.1 Pacific War Encyclopedia