Originally designed for carrier service, to give the Navy a fighter with performance equal to that of land-based fighters, the Corsair had development problems that delayed its introduction to carrier service and was sent to the Marine Corps for land-based operations in the PTO island-hopping campaigns, where it excelled. After teething problems with carrier service were ironed out, it became an important player in combating Kamikaze attacks in the Western Pacific zone.

Later variants (F4U-1D and subsequent) had mountings on the inner wing and/or under the belly for bombs or droppable fuel tanks. As the war progressed (and in postwar usage) the number of underwing hardpoints for bombs and rockets increased until some planes could carry three bombs (or napalm or fuel tanks) and ten rockets. Wartime F4U-1D models could carry up to eight rockets and two bombs or napalm tanks. In lieu of weapons, fuel tanks on the inner-wing hardpoints gave butt-numbing range and duration capabilities.

Contracts were let to Brewster Aeronautical Corp (as F3A) and Goodyear Aircraft Corp (as the FG- series.) Brewster planes did not meet quality requirements and their contracts were cancelled; Wikipedia reports that no F3A variants went to frontline units. The Goodyear planes, on the other hand, were quite successful and eventually evolved into the F2G Super Corsair variant, with the Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major "Corncob" engine. These appeared too late to participate in the War.

A number of planes were delivered to the British Fleet Air Arm. These had 8" trimmed from each wing tip to allow the planes to be stored in the smaller British hangar decks.

A Design Analysis article on the F4U [ HTML ], was published in the August, 1945, issue of Industrial Aviation.

In the meantime, here are some wallpaper images, developed from a phantom rendering included as part of the Design Analysis article. The rendering was by R G Smith and R J Poole.