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North American FJ-4 Fury

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North American FJ-4 Fury

FJ-4 Fury
The last flying FJ-4 in United States Navy colors
Role Fighter aircraft
National origin United States
Manufacturer North American Aviation
First flight 28 October 1954
Retired late 1960s
Status Phased out of service
Primary users United States Navy
United States Marine Corps
Number built 374
Developed from North American FJ-2/-3 Fury

The North American FJ-4 Fury was a swept-wing carrier-capable fighter-bomber for the United States Navy and Marine Corps. The final development in a lineage that included the Air Force's F-86 Sabre, the FJ-4 shared its general layout and engine with the earlier FJ-3, but featured an entirely new wing design and was a vastly different design in its final embodiment.

Design and development

Compared to that of the FJ-3, the FJ-4's new wing was much thinner, with a six percent thickness-to-chord ratio, and featured skin panels milled from solid alloy plates. It also had an increased area, and tapered more sharply towards the tips. Slight camber behind the leading edge improved low speed characteristics. The main landing gear design had to be considerably modified to fold wheel and strut within the contours of the new wing. The track of the main wheels was increased and because they were closer to the center of gravity, there was less weight on the nosewheel. Wing folding was limited to the outer wing panels.

An FJ-4B with six rocket pods
FJ-4F prototype with an additional rocket motor

The FJ-4 was intended as an all-weather interceptor, a role that required considerable range on internal fuel. The FJ-4 had 50% more fuel capacity than the FJ-3 and was lightened by omitting armor and reducing ammunition capacity. The new wing was "wet"; that is, it provided for integral fuel tankage. The fuselage was deepened to add more fuel, and had a distinctive "razorback" rear deck. A modified cockpit made the pilot more comfortable during the longer missions. The tail surfaces were also extensively modified and had a thinner profile. The overall changes resulted in an aircraft that had little in common with the earlier models, although a family resemblance was still present. The two prototypes had the same Wright J65-W-4 engine as the FJ-3, but production aircraft had the J65-W-16A of 7,700 lbf (34 kN) thrust.[1]

The first FJ-4 flew on 28 October 1954 and delivery began in February 1955. Except for one squadron which trained Navy FJ-4B pilots, FJ-4s were used exclusively by the Marine Corps, which operated three squadrons.

Of the original order for 221, the last 71 were modified in the FJ-4B fighter-bomber version. This had a stronger wing with six instead of four underwing stations and stronger landing gear. Additional aerodynamic brakes under the aft fuselage made landing safer by allowing pilots to use higher thrust settings, and were also useful for dive attacks. External load was doubled. But the most important characteristic of the FJ-4B was that it was capable of carrying a nuclear weapon on the inboard port station. It was equipped with the LABS or Low-Altitude Bombing System for the delivery of nuclear weapons. The Navy was eager to maintain a nuclear role in its rivalry with the Air Force, and it equipped 10 squadrons with the FJ-4B. It was also flown by three Marine squadrons. In April 1956 the Navy ordered 151 more FJ-4Bs, bringing the production to a total of 152 FJ-4s and 222 FJ-4Bs.

The Navy ordered six FJ-4s to be converted to FJ-4F to test rocket engines, but only two were completed. These featured the North American Rocketdyne AR-1 engine, installed in a fairing above the tail pipe of the jet engine. It ran on hydrogen peroxide and JP-4 jet fuel, and provided an additional 5,000 lbf (22 kN) of thrust for short periods. The FJ-4F reached speeds of Mach 1.41 and altitude of 71,000 ft (21,600 m).


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. A total of 1,115 Furies were received by the Navy and Marine Corps over the course of its production life.


Four VA-63 FJ-4Bs in 1958.
Family tree of Sabre & Fury variants
Two prototypes with a J65-W-4 engine and re-designed fuselage.[2]
One FJ-4 used for development testing.[2]
FJ-4 Fury
Single-seat fighter-bomber version, powered by a 7,700 lbf (34 kN) Wright J65-W-16A turbojet engine. 150 built.[2]
FJ-4B Fury
Single-seat ground-attack close support version with six underwing pylons, 222 built.[2]
FJ-4F Fury
Test and evaluation aircraft, fitted with an auxiliary rocket motor and supplementary fuel tank. Two conversions from FJ-4.[2]
F-1E Fury
Redesignation of the FJ-4.[2]
AF-1E Fury
Redesignation of the FJ-4B.[2]
AF-1F (NA-295)
Proposed light-attack version with TF30 engine, competitor to the A-7; not built.


 United States


On display

Specifications (FJ-4)

Line drawings for the FJ-4/-4B Fury.

Data from American Military Aircraft[11]

General characteristics


  • Guns: 4 × 20 mm (0.787 in) cannon
  • Rockets: 6 × LAU-3/A 70mm rocket pods
  • Missiles: 4 × AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles
  • Bombs: 3,000 lb (1,400 kg) of underwing ordnance, including missiles

See also

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists



  1. ^ Bowers 1990, pp. 387
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Andrade 1979, p. 190.
  3. ^ "FAA Registry: N400FS" Retrieved: 19 January 2015.
  4. ^ "FJ-4 Fury/143575" Retrieved: 8 April 2015.
  5. ^ "FJ-4 Fury/139486." National Naval Aviation Museum. Retrieved: 16 January 2015.
  6. ^ "FJ-4 Fury/139516." Historic Aviation Memorial Museum. Retrieved: 29 October 2012.
  7. ^ "FJ-4 Fury/139531." Pima Air & Space Museum. Retrieved: 16 January 2015.
  8. ^ "FJ-4 Fury/143557." Retrieved: 8 April 2015.
  9. ^ "FJ-4 Fury/143568." Wings of Freedom Aviation Museum. Retrieved: 16 January 2015.
  10. ^ "FJ-4 Fury/143610." Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park. Retrieved: 29 October 2012.
  11. ^ Humphrey, Hal and Joe Baugher. "North American FJ-4 Fury." American Military Aircraft: US Navy Fighter Aircraft, revised 4 January 2008. Retrieved: 19 July 2011.


  • Andrade, John. U.S.Military Aircraft Designations and Serials since 1909. Hinckley, UK: Midland Counties Publications, 1979. ISBN 0-904597-22-9.
  • Avery, Norm. North American Aircraft 1934–1998 Volume 1. Santa Ana, California: Narkiewicz/Thompson, 1998. ISBN 0-913322-05-9.
  • Bowers, Peter M. United States Navy Aircraft since 1911. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1990, pp. 385–388. ISBN 0-87021-792-5.
  • Bowman, Martin. F-86 Sabre. London: Airlife, 2004. ISBN 1-84037-411-X.
  • Dorr, Robert F. "Fury: The Navy's Sabre." Air International, January 1993.
  • Dorr, Robert F. "North American FJ Fury." Aeroplane Monthly, February 2006.
  • Kinzey, Bert. FJ Fury (Detail & Scale Vol. 68, 8272). Carollton, Texas: Squadron Signal Books, 2003. ISBN 0-89747-461-9.
  • Taylor, John, W.R., ed. "North American FJ Fury." Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1965–1966. London: Jane's All the World's Aircraft, 1967. ISBN 0-7106-1377-6.
  • Wagner, Ray. The North American Sabre. London: Macdonald, 1963. No ISBN.
  • Wilson, Stewart. Combat Aircraft since 1945. Fyshwick, ACT, Australia: Aerospace Publications Pty Ltd., 2000. ISBN 1-875671-50-1.
  • Wilson, Stewart F-86 Sabre / MiG-15 Fagot / Hawker Hunter. London: Aerospace Publications Pty Ltd, 1995. ISBN 1-875671-12-9.
  • Winchester, Jim, ed. "North American FJ Fury." Military Aircraft of the Cold War (The Aviation Factfile). London: Grange Books plc, 2006. ISBN 1-84013-929-3.

External links

  • (1959) NAVAER 01-60JKD-501A Supplemental Flight Handbook Navy Models FJ-4 and FJ4-B Aircraft
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