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AF Guardian

The genesis of the Guardian begins in the late months of World War II as Grumman developed plans to replace the TBF Avenger. The normal continuation of the designation, TB2F, was used on a design for a two-engine aircraft that never was built but the designation was recognized by the Navy. The design which the Navy ordered in February 1945 was a single engine attack aircraft designated XTB3F. Because of the designation change of all Navy attack aircraft to "A" the TB3F entered squadron service in October 1950 as the AF. The aircraft was intended to work in hunter-killer pairs composed of an AF-2S and AF-2W.

The AF-2S was the production development of the XTB3F-2S. Its primary mission was to attack enemy submarines after being directed to the target's position by the AF-2W. The AF-2S laid down a pattern of sonobouys to determine exact location of the enemy submarine after which it launched its sonic-directed torpedo to complete the attack. Rockets and depth bombs could be carried to augment the attack. The AF-2S was a three-place plane for operation ashore or aboard carriers. It was conventional in design and structure with an all-metal two spar wing and a semimonocoque fuselage. Landing gear, slotted flaps, wing folding mechanism and pilot's canopy were hydraulically operated. Ailerons were of sealed balance type with spring tabs and one trim tab. Rudder had a combination trim and four to one ratio balance tab. Elevators were interconnected, one equipped with a spring tab and the other with a trim tab. Power plant installation was conventional with steel tube mount.

The AF-2W was the production development of the XTB3F-1S. Its mission was radar search for submarines. After detecting an underwater craft the AF-2W would direct its companion aircraft, the AF-2S onto the target to launch an attack. The AF-2W was a four-place aircraft for operations ashore and aboard carriers. The airplane was conventional in design and structure with an all metal two-spar wing and a semi-monocoque fuselage. The landing gear, slotted flaps, wing folding mechanism, and pilot's canopy were hydraulically operated. Ailerons were of the sealed balance type with spring tabs and one trim tab. Rudder had a combination trim and 4 to 1 ratio balance tab. Elevators were interconnected, one equipped with a spring tab and the other with a trim tab. Power plan installation as conventional with steel tube mount.

The AF-3S had the same mission and description as the AF-2S but with MAD gear installed.



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