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MCARA Aircraft > Grumman TBM-3Q Avenger

The TBM was a mainstay of Naval Aviation in WW II with nearly 10,000 produced on multi-company assembly lines of one version or another. The basic version had a crew of three and was protected by a gunner employing an electrical powered turret. At the end of the war with ECM in its infancy but being recognized as a needed capability, the Navy began to modify the last version of the aircraft (TBM-3s) to provide a rudimentary ECM capability.

About 50 were modified and designated “Q” as authorized by the Bureau of Aeronautics beginning in 1946. At least 10 aircraft carriers were deployed with a 5 plane detachment of TBM-3Qs from 1946 until 1948 when they were quickly replaced by the more capable and newer AD Skyraiders. The modifications to the Q version were largely done by the aircraft repair and rework facilities such as the one at NAS Norfolk. A manual describing the modifications and a parts catalogue was published in 1948.

The 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing at MCAS Cherry Point received two TBM-3Qs early in 1950, likely cast offs from the Navy as they were completing their transition to the AD-2Q. The bureau numbers for these aircraft were reported as 91362 and 53840. It is not known when these aircraft were dropped in favor of the ADs. See the 2nd MAW Hedron-2 ECM Section for more information regards this initial Marine Corps EW capability.

(Write-up by Col. H. Wayne Whitten USMC (ret)) July, 2008