The Eastern TBM-3E Avenger was the last major wartime production version of the aircraft, and was significantly lighter than the TBM-3, giving it the same performance as the original TBF-1.
Although the TBM-3 had seen the introduction of a more powerful engine, the steady increase in weight of the Avenger meant that its performance was still down on that of the original TBF-1. In an attempt to solve that problem Eastern made a major effort to reduce the loaded weight of the aircraft. The resulting -3E was 300lb lighter when empty, and 2,600lb lighter when loaded, with a normal loaded weight of 14,160lb. The aircraft's speed went up to 276mph at 16,500ft.
The biggest weight saving was the removal of the 0.30in stinger gun and its ammunition. The TBM-3E could carry an APS-4 radar set in a white radome carried below the right wing. The scope and controls were on the right-hand side of the radio compartment, just forward of the entry door.
Most -3Es were built with the standard internal arrestor hook, but this suffered from corrosion problems which led to intermittent failures, and from aircraft BuNo.86175 it was replaced with an external hook, increasing the length of the aircraft by about a foot.
Most get standard internal arrestor hook, but from BuNo.86175 this is replaced by an external hook, to eliminate a corrosion problem with the internal hook.
Also gets APS-4 radar with white radome under right wing. Scope and some controls on right side of radio compartment just forward of entry door; rest of equipment in centre fuselage compartment
The TBM-3 and TBM-3E were both known as the Avenger III in the Fleet Air Arm, which received 222.
Engine: Wright R-2600-20
Crew: 3 - Pilot, Gunner, Radar? Operator
Wing span: 54ft 2in
Length: 40ft 11.5in
Height: 16ft 5in
Empty Weight: 10,545lb
Normal Loaded Weight: 14,160lb
Gross Weight: 17,895lb
Max Speed: 276mph at 16,500ft
Cruising Speed: 147mph
Initial rate of climb: 2,060ft/ min
Service Ceiling: 30,100ft
Range: 1,010 miles
Armament: Two fixed forward-firing 0.50in guns, one ventral 0.30in gun, one 0.50in gun in powered dorsal turret
Bomb-load: One 22.4in torpedo or 2,000lb internally, eight wing-mounted 5in rockets