North American AJ-1 Savage

Last revised December 22, 2001

The first production version of the Savage was the AJ-1. It differed from the prototype in having a number of structural improvements. The number of crew members was increased to three. The wingtips and the vertical tail folded for storage aboard carriers. Although the earliest examples retained the clear, sliding canopy of the prototype, this was later replaced by a fixed, framed canopy. Entry and exit to the cockpit was via a door located on the right side of the fuselage, although there was an emergency escape window in the canopy itself. Wingtip-mounted fuel tanks were added for increased range.

The first AJ-1 flew for the first time in May of 1949, and initial flight tests were carried out at NAS Patuxent River, MD and at NAS Moffett Field, CA. The first AJ-1 carrier takeoff took place on April 21, 1950, from deck of the USS Coral Sea. The first carrier landing was on August 31.

The first squadron to receive the AJ-1 was composite squadron VC-5, with deliveries beginning in September of 1949. VC-6 and V-7 also later received AJ-1s. A total of 55 AJ-1s were built.

Many AJ-1s were rebuilt as AJ-2s. Surviving AJ-1s were redesignated A-2A in 1962 under the new unified designation system.

North American AJ-1 Savage

Engines: Two Pratt & Whitney R-2800-48 air-cooled radial engines rated at 2300 hp at 30,000 feet and one Allison J33-A-10 turbojet, rated at 4600 lb.s.t. Performance: Maximum speed 449 mph at 34,000 feet, 357 mph at sea level. Cruising speed 270 mph. Landing speed 120 mph. Combat ceiling 40,800 feet. Initial climb rate 2900 feet per minute. Range 1730 miles with a 7600 lb MK-15 nuclear weapon and a pair of 300 gallon wingtip fuel tanks. Maximum ferry range 3000 miles. Dimensions: Wingspan 71 feet 45 inches, Length 63 feet 1 inches, height 21 feet 5 inches, wing area 836 square feet. Weight: 30,800 pounds empty, 50,900 pounds gross, 54,000 pounds maximum. Armament: Maximum offensive load 12,000 pounds, such as a 7600 pound MK 15 nuclear weapons or six 1600-pound conventional weapons and two 300-gallon wingtip tanks. No defensive armament was carried.

Serial Numbers of North American AJ-1 Savage

122590/122601	North American AJ-1 Savage
				c/n 156-38465/38476
124157/124186	North American AJ-1 Savage
				124157/124184 c/n 160-1/28
				124185 and 124186 cancelled
124850/124864	North American AJ-1 Savage
				c/n 169-1/15


  1. American Combat Planes, 3rd Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982.

  2. United States Navy Aircraft Since 1911, GordonSwanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1990.

  3. North American Aircraft 1934-1999, Volume 2, Kevin Thompson, Narkiewicz//Thompson, 1999.