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Lockheed Ventura

The Lockheed Ventura, a twin-engine medium bomber and patrol bomber from World War II, made its combat debut in Europe as a bomber with the RAF in late 1942.

Known as the PV-1 in the United States Navy (US Navy), it saw action in the Pacific in 1943.

Additionally, the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) utilised the bomber, designating it as the Lockheed B-34 (Lexington) and B-37 for training purposes.

Various British Commonwealth forces also employed the Ventura in different roles, such as anti-shipping and anti-submarine search and attack missions.

The Ventura aircraft originated from the Lockheed Model 18 Lodestar transport plane, with the intention of replacing the Lockheed Hudson bombers that were currently being utilized by the Royal Air Force.

Initially deployed for daylight assaults on occupied Europe, these aircraft demonstrated certain vulnerabilities, leading to their withdrawal from bomber operations.

However, some Ventura’s were repurposed for patrol missions conducted by Coastal Command.

Following the elimination of the US Army Air Force’s exclusive control over land-based bombers, the US Navy commissioned a modified version of the aircraft.

This revised design, known as the PV-2 Harpoon, was specifically employed for anti-submarine operations and subsequently entered active service.



US designation for the Model 137 (with 2000-hp R-2800-31 engines) bought for the Royal Air Force, 200 built and designated the Ventura IIA by the British.


Former Royal Air Force Ventura’s returned to the USAAF under a reverse lend-lease.


B-34As converted as navigation trainers.


Lockheed Model 437 for the USAAF (with 1700-hp R-2600-13 engines), only 18 out of an order of 550 built for armed observation.

Originally designated the O-56, it was later designated the RB-37.


United States Navy version of the B-34; 1,600 built.

A total of 388 were delivered to the Royal Air Force as the Ventura GR.V, others to the RAAF, RNZAF and SAAF.


Designation for PV-1s fitted with a camera installation.

PV-2 Harpoon

Updated model with larger fin and wing area; 470 built.


Modified version of the PV-2 used for training; 30 built.


Same as PV-2 but with eight 0.5-inch nose guns; 35 built.


Designation for PV-2s used for crew training.


Twenty-seven former RAF Ventura IIs requisitioned by the USN.

Ventura I

R-2800-S1A4-G powered variant for the Royal Air Force,

188 built, 30 to the RCAF and some to the SAAF,

later re-designated the Ventura GR.I.

Ventura II

R-2800-31 powered variant for the RAF, 487 built, some transferred to the USAAC and USN.

Ventura IIA

British designation for the B-34.

Ventura V

British designation for the PV-1, later designated Ventura GR.V.


B-34 Lexington




51 ft 5 in (15.7 m)


65 ft 6 in (20 m)


11 ft 10 in (3.6 m)

Wing area

551 sq ft (51.2 m2)

Empty weight

20,197 lb (9,161 kg)

Gross weight

31,000 lb (14,061 kg)

Max take-off weight

34,000 lb (15,422 kg)


2 × Pratt & Whitney R-2800 radial engines,

2,000 hp (1,500 kW) each


Maximum speed

322 mph (518 km/h, 280 kn)

Cruise speed

230 mph (370 km/h, 200 kn)


1,660 mi (2,670 km, 1,440 nmi)

Ferry range

2,600 mi (4,200 km, 2,300 nmi)

Service ceiling

26,300 ft (8,020 m)

Rate of climb

2,035 ft/min (15.4 m/s)

Wing loading

56.4 lb/sq ft (275 kg/m2)


0.13 hp/lb (0.21 kW/kg)



4 × .50 BMG (12.7 mm) Browning M2 machine guns

2 × .30 cal. (7.62 mm) M1919 Browning machine guns


3,000 lb (1,400 kg) general ordnance


6 × 325 lb (147 kg) depth charges


1 × torpedo.


Squadron Signal Aircraft In Action 1048 Lockheed PV1 Ventura.

USAAF Aircraft Markings and Camouflage 1941-1947-Robert D Archer.

United States Navy Aircraft since 1911-Gordon Swanborough & Peter M Bowers.

United States Naval Aviation, 1910-1995-Roy A Grossnick.

The Official Monogram US Navy & Marine Corps Aircraft Color Guide, Vol 1, 1911-1939-John M Elliott.

The Official Monogram US Navy & Marine Corps Aircraft Color Guide-1940-1949-John M Elliot.

The Concise Guide to American Aircraft of WW2-David Mondey.

Navy Air Colors, 1911-1945-Thomas E Doll, Berkeley R Jackson & William A Riley.

RAF Bomber Units, July 1942-1945-Bryan Philpott.

The Secret Years, Flight Testing at Boscombe Down, 1939-45-Tim Mason.

Royal Australian Air Force and Royal New Zealand Air Force in the Pacific-Rene J. Francillon & Frank F. Smith.

RAAF Camouflage & Markings, 1939-1945, Vol 2-Geoffrey Pentland.

Aircraft and Markings of the R.A.A.F. 1939-45-Geoffrey Pentland.

Aircraft Of The Second World War, The Development of the Warplane 1939-45-Philip Jarrett.

Classic Warbirds 8-Pacific Twins.


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