01/31/2010. In 1943 the USN authorized McDonnell to proceed with prototypes of a larger development of the FD-1 Phantom which was destined to be among the fighter-bombers available to the USN for operations in Korea. A March 2, 1945, contract covered two XF2D-l prototypes, the designation changing to F2H soon after these were completed.
In general appearance the F2H closely resembled the Phantom, but sizes and weights were increased, and the engines were 3,000 lb (1,361 kg) s.t Westinghouse J34- WE-22s. Armament comprised four 0.787 in (20 mm) cannon in the nose, and the prototype, first flown on January 11, 1947, had dihedral on the tail-plane. This latter feature was absent from the production model F2H-1 Banshees, 56 of which had been ordered in May 1947, and deliveries began in March 1949.
The F2H-2, which followed later in 1949, had a longer fuselage and fixed wingtip tanks, both features being intended to increase the internal fuel capacity and hence the range. Engines were 3,250 lb (1,474 kg) s.t
J34-WE-34s, and all F2H-2s were eventually modified for in-flight refueling. Production, completed by September 1952, totaled 364, plus a further fourteen F2H-2N night fighters with nose radomes and 58 F2H-2Ps carrying reconnaissance cameras in a lengthened nose.
The continuing search for additional range led to the third Banshee model, the F2H-3, which had a further extension in the fuselage to accommodate two more tanks. Search radar was a standard fitting, made possible by relocation of the four cannon farther aft in the fuselage sides.
January 26, 1945, and on March 7 that year the USN ordered 100, this contract later being cut back to sixty.
The 250 F2H-3s had the same engines as the -2 model; the 150 F2H-4s delivered in 1953 had 3,600 lb (1,633 kg) s.t J34-WE-38s and different radar. Both operated in the aII-weather role. The surviving F2H-3s and F2H-4s were redesignated F-2C and F-2D respectively in 1962.