The Consolidated TBY-2 Sea Wolf was the production version of the XTBU-1 torpedo bomber developed by Vought at the same time as the Grumman Avenger.
The XTBU-1 was very similar to the Avenger, although with a less 'chunky' appearance. The first prototype flew on 22 December 1941, and was delivered to NAS Anacostia in March 1942. This placed it several months behind the Avenger, which had made its maiden flight in August 1941, and a first production order had been placed as early as December 1940.
Although the XTBU-1 was 30mph faster than the Grumman design it suffered from several disadvantages. The first was that the Avenger was already in production by the time the prototype XTBU-1 reached Anacostia. With their wings folded the XTBU-1 took up more space than the Avenger, reducing the number that could be carried on each carrier. Finally Vought's own production facilities were fully occupied building F4U Corsairs.
The Navy sat on the XTBU-1 for well over a year, before deciding to put it into production after all. In September 1943 Consolidated Vultee received an order to built 1,100 of the redesignated TBY-2 Sea Wolf at their new factory at Allentwon, Pennsylvania.
The TBY-2 carried more guns than the XTBU-1, gaining two more fixed 0.50in guns for a total of three, to go with the 0.30in ventral gun and the 0.50in gun in the powered dorsal turret. It could carry bombs or a torpedo in its internal bomb bay, and was equipped with four zero-length stubs for 5-inch rockets under each wing. Search radar was carried, with the antenna housed in a radome on the leading edge of the right wing.
Production of the new aircraft was slow. The first Sea Wolf didn't make its maiden flight until 20 August 1944, eleven months after the contract was placed, while the first delivery to the navy didn't come until 7 November 1944. After only 180 aircraft had been completed production was cancelled. None of the existing aircraft were used in combat, instead being allocated to training units based in the United States.
Engine: Pratt & Whitney R-2800-22
Wing span: 56ft 11in
Length: 39ft 2in
Height: 15ft 6in
Empty Weight: 11,336lb
Gross Weight: 16,247lb
Maximum Weight: 18,940lb
Max Speed: 316mph
Armament: Four .50in guns, one .30in guns.
Bomb-load: One torpedo or three bombs in internal bomb bay, up to eight 5in rockets under the wings