North American FJ-4 Fury WRG# 0000239
FJ Fury aircraft of VMF-312 fly close air support during a training exercise in 1957
[Source: NMNA]

The North American FJ-2/-3/-4 Fury were a series of carrier-capable fighters for the United States Navy and Marine Corps. Based on the the United States Air Force's F-86 Sabre, they shared a US Navy's designation with their distant predecessor, the FJ-1 Fury, though they were wholly different aircraft.


Design and development


By 1951, the Navy's existing straight-wing fighters were much inferior in performance to the swept-wing Soviet MiG-15 then operating in the Korean War; the swept-wing fighters in the Navy's development pipeline, including the F7U Cutlass and F9F Cougar were not yet ready for deployment. As an interim measure, Navy purchased three swept-wing F-86E Sabres with Navy-specific equipment and strengthened airframes. The three planes began flight testing in December 1951 under the designation XFJ-2. The design was eventually put into production as the FJ-2, but construction was slowed due to demand for the F-86 in Korea; the FJ-2 was not produced in large numbers until after that conflict had concluded. By then, because of a weak nose gear and arrestor hook on the FJ-2, the Navy preferred the F9F Cougar due to its superior slow-speed performance for carrier operations, and the 200 FJ-2 models built were delivered to the United States Marine Corps.


The development of the FJ-3, which was to be powered by a license-built version of the new Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire turbojet, resulted in its first flight in July 1953. Deliveries began in September 1954, and the FJ-3 joined the fleet in May 1955. An FJ-3 was the first fighter to land aboard the new supercarrier USS Forrestal in 1956. Five hundred thirty-eight FJ-3s were built, including 194 FJ-3Ms with the ability to carry AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles. Some FJ-3s were later modified to control Regulus and F9F-6K Cougar target drones. In 1955 the Navy added the new wing design that had been successful on the F-86F, providing space for additional fuel, and in 1956 retro-fitted all its FJ-3s with probe-and-drogue air refueling equipment.

North American FJ-4 Fury WRG#
FJ-3 Fury's of VMF-235, September 1957.
[Source: U.S. Navy Photo]


The final versions of the Fury were the FJ-4 and FJ-4B, which featured several improvements on previous versions. Internal fuel capacity was increased, necessitating a distinctive, taller "razorback" rear deck. The tail was modified, as were the wings, to provide more positive control and stability during carrier landings, and the landing gear was widened. Delivery of FJ-4s began in February 1955, and except for one squadron which trained Navy FJ-4B pilots, FJ-4s were used exclusively by the Marine Corps. The FJ-4B was a fighter-bomber version, capable of carrying double the underwing stores, including nuclear weapons on a single station. One hundred fifty-two FJ-4s and 222 FJ-4Bs were produced.

North American FJ-4 Fury WRG# 0015833
An FJ-4B Fury of VA-144 launches from the U.S.S. Shangri-La (CVA 38)
during flight operations off Japan on July 6, 1959

[Source: NMNA]

With the new designation system adopted in 1962, the FJ-4 became the F-1E and the FJ-4B the AF-1E. AF-1Es served with United States Naval Reserve units until the late 1960s. The FJ Fury was the first aircraft of the VF-84 incarnation of the legendary Jolly Rogers Squadron. A total of 1,115 Furies were received by the Navy and Marine Corps over the course of its production life.

Wikipedia: North American FJ Fury