There are references and photo links on other pages of this website to the P2V-3C and P2V-3B Neptunes, the first carrier launched nuclear attack aircraft.

There is conflicting information in historical records and anecdotal memories about the early days of the VC squadrons' P2Vs. This page is my compilation.

I welcome correction and deletion information, and squadron assignments, tailcodes, disposition, etc.


Twelve new P2V-3Cs and one P2V-2C (prototype for the -3C) were initially assigned to VC-5.

Buno 122449 - P2V-2C (NB-41). This was the aircraft, equipped with a tailhook, which made over 100 arrested landings (traps) at NATC Patuxent River.

The remaining twelve, below, were all originally P2V-3C versions when initially assigned to VC-5, and then to the other VC squadrons. Later they were re-designated P2V-3Bs with the AN/ASB-1 Bomb Director Systems in HATU and HATULANT.

No arrested landings were accomplished on Aircraft Carriers, but during the deployments to Port Lyautey in the early 1950's the tailhook equipped P2V-3C Neptunes did make arrested landings in Turkey at one of the short runway "staging" airfields. The arresting wires were attached to heavy weights at each side of the runway, and were simply dragged down the field.

  1. Buno 122924 - (NB-2), later HATULANT NAS Sanford 1956.
  2. Buno 122927 - later HATULANT NAS Sanford 1956.
  3. Buno 122930 - later flown by VP-2 (SB)
  4. Buno 122933
  5. Buno 122936
  6. Buno 122942 - later in VC-6 (NF-22)
  7. Buno 122947 - later HATU NAS Norfolk 1954, HATULANT NAS Sanford 1956. NAWC, China Lake CA for low level bombing trials, and NATTC, Memphis TN.
  8. Buno 122949 - later HATU NAS Norfolk 1954.
  9. Buno 122951 - (NB-38), later HATU NAS Norfolk 1954 and VC-6 (NF).
  10. Buno 122966
  11. Buno 122969 - later HATULANT NAS Sanford 1956.
  12. Buno 122971 - later in VC-8 (NC-11), and HATULANT NAS Sanford 1956.

Thanks to Carl England, Jr. CAPT. USNR-R for corrections.


Many of the above P2V-3C versions were converted to P2V-3B versions by the addition of the AN/ASB-1 Bomb Director System, which was also installed in the AJ Savages and A3D Skywarriors.

The P2V-3Bs were assigned to HATULANT (later VAH-3) and HATUPAC (later VAH-123) for crew training in support of the Heavy Attack Squadrons (VAH) that replaced the Heavy Attack Composite Squadrons (VC).


Buno 122944 was a P2V-3 and was at the VP-30 Museum at St. Petersburg FL for many years. In June 2000 it made its last "flight" and was sunk offshore as an artificial fish reef. I only mention it because it has been inaccurately referenced as a P2V-3C in some news articles.


In addition to the P2V-3C/B Neptunes referenced on this page, VC squadrons also flew older P2V-2 Neptunes for logistical (to include boondoggling!) purposes. These aircraft were built in 1947 and 1948 - Buno series 39318 thru 39466. Buno 39366 was in VC-7 and Buno 39329 was in HATU.

Chuck Huber - cerebralhush@gmail.com



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