Vought Rapier FB Mk-2

Design of the Rapier was started in 1943 by the Vought company in the USA. The official US Navy designation was XF5U-1. The first prototype was completed in 1946 and after some initial vibration problems with the long propeller shafts the development proceeded smoothly.

The first US Navy F5U-1s entered service in October 1947 and proved a good match for the Mitsubishi A8M fighters that were appearing at the front at about the same time.

The Rapier was exported to a number of Allied countries, mostly as naval fighters but the Free French also used them from land bases.

The Rapier was a fast aircraft with a top speed of 890km/h in its fighter configuration. It was used as a pure fighter but also as a fighter bomber.

The Royal Navy used 254 Rapiers in the F Mk-1 (F5U-1a) and FB Mk-2 (FBU-4) variants from its aircraft carriers.

Last updated: 21/06/2016