TYPE: 3 Seated patrol bomber/escort
AMOUNT IN NORWEGIAN SERVICE: 24
4x 12.7mm Machineguns fixed forward
2x 7.62mm Colt machineguns dorsal and ventral placed
1x 910kg Torpedo
910kg of bombs or depth charges ca 5 depth charges
Crew: 3 (pilot, navigator/bombardier and wireless operator/rear gunner)
Length: 11 m
Wingspan: 14.91 m
Height: 3.7 m
Wing area: 35.01 m2
Empty weight: 2,808 kg
Gross weight: 3,856 kg
Max takeoff weight: 4,808 kg
Powerplant: 1x Wright GR-1820-G205A 9-cyl. air-cooled radial piston engine, 1,200 hp (890 kW)
Propellers: 3-bladed variable-pitch propeller
Maximum speed: 414 km/h at sea level
Cruise speed: 296 km/h
Range: 1,600 km
Service ceiling: 7,300 m
Time to altitude: 4,600 m in 4.4 minutes
SERIAL NUMBERS - times in service and fates
The outbreak of war in 1939 showed that it had been absolutely necessary to focus on the equipment in the Army’s and Navy’s air force. In 1938, a modernization program was launched which, among other things, resulted in the acquisition of the He 115 from Germany. However, the Norwegian-made patrol aircraft M.F.11 was also approaching retirement age. It was impossible to get more relevant material released in Europe, so both the army and navy turned their eyes to the United States. The Navy concentrated on the newly started company Northrop Aircraft Inc in California. An aircraft they had on the drawing board would be able to satisfy all Norwegian requirements, and 24 aircraft of the N-3PB type were ordered in March 1940. This was the company’s first production.
The planes never arrived in Norway in 1940. Production began that autumn, and it was eventually decided to deploy them in submarine hunting from bases in Iceland. The first six aircraft were sent to the Norwegian training camp in Canada for use in the training of new naval pilots, the rest to Iceland in the spring of 1941. Later, three of the aircraft in Canada were also sent to Iceland. Three bases were established there, Reykjavik in the west, Akureyri on the north coast and Budareyri on the east coast. From these stations No 330 (Norwegian) Sqn flew anti-submarine patrols, convoy escort and air defense missions from spring 1941 to spring 1943 in all weather conditions.
Of the 21 aircraft that were sent to Iceland, 11 aircraft were totaled or disappeared. In many cases this was due to the extreme weather conditions that could occur. The N-3PB was considered to be the world’s fastest military seaplane at this time and in several cases was given the role of fighter when long-range German Focke Wulf FW 200 Condor patrol aircraft were detected in the operational area, sometimes with fatal results for the German crew and the aircraft. All operations with Northrop from Reykjavik and Akureyri ceased on 1 December 1942. The base at Budareyri was maintained until 5 April 1943, but was only decommissioned in early June.
The stresses meant that the planes eventually wore down, and all but two were chopped up. The last two were newly overhauled and were flown to Scotland when the crews were moved to Oban in 1943 to convert to Short Sunderland. They were then taken home to Norway in 1945. Here both were unfortunately scrapped, the latter after a hangar roof at Kjevik collapsed during a snowfall in 1954.
The aircraft, which today is located at Flysamlingen at Gardermoen, was stationed in Budareyri when it crashed after an emergency landing in a breely on 21 April 1943. Both on board were uninjured. The wreck was salvaged in 1979 and transported to the Northrop factory in California, where it was restored in connection with the company’s 40th anniversary. It was given as a gift to Norway in November 1980.
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