It was called the “Ensign Eliminator” for a reason.

The Corsair was originally designed and manufactured by the American air craft company Vought with the goal of achieving “maximum speed with minimal air resistance” in mind. The aircraft’s development began in early 1938, with its first prototype appearing in mid-1940, and had performed remarkably well during its maiden flight.

The massive 13-foot propeller (known then as the “XFU-1”) broke the speed record for a single-engined, single-seat shipborne fighter at the time, exceeding 400 miles per hour in level flight—and this didn’t go unnoticed by the Navy. Impressed, the service branch shortly ordered the aircraft’s mass production, and by the end of its run in 1952, Vought had manufactured nearly 13,000 units. The Corsair had the longest production run of any WWII era aircraft.

World-breaking Speed

The aircraft, renamed FAU-1 by the US Navy, played a critical role during the intense fighting in the Pacific Theater, and its introduction into service in late 1942 coincided with the Allied forces’ advance to victory.