Brewster Aeronautical Corporation was a minor player in the air war with an apparently well-deserved poor reputation. Starting as a float and components subcontractor, they tried their hand at airplane design in order to become a fully-fledged aircraft company.

Brewster Aeronautical Corporation developed a name for bad management and shady business practices. These were considered at least contributors to a record of poor performance and poor quality. The situation became dire enough that control ofthe company was taken over by the government in 1942. The company never did rise to the performance level of its competitors and ultimately folded shortly after the war. Their primary contribution to the war effort seems to have been license-building of Vought F4U Corsair fighters, which apparently was done under first Navy, then Henry J Kaiser, supervision.

None of the Brewster planes warranted a separate listing in Jane's.

Brewster had a short list of types:

A corporate history timeline, compiled the "Corporate activities during …" sections of Eaton's A Chronicle of the Aviation Industry in America gives a capsule history of the company.

More on the history, especially of the Johnsville site, is to be found at the site of the Naval Air Development Center particularly the history page.

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F2A Buffalo

The Brewster Buffalo beat out the prototype Grumman F4F (biplane) in direct competition for a prewar production contract. Before it was tested in combat it was considered fast, maneuverable, and well-armed. The Finns, who used an export version against the Soviets, held on to that valuation, but the Americans, Dutch and British, who had to put their Buffalos out against Zekes and Oscars developed a much less favorable view. Some of the blame, though, should honestly be assigned to the use of inadequate tactics. Early on the Grumman F4F Wildcat also showed poorly against the Zero until John Thach developed a tactical formation that gave Allied planes a chance against their much more agile Japanese opponent.

Early on, Brewster merely refered to their F2A as "The Brewster." The "Buffalo" nickname as bestowed by the British and had been taken up by US sources by mid-1941.


SB2A Buccaneer, Bermuda

A follow-on design to the SBA, the SB2A was designed as a shipborne scout/dive bomber. Photos show perforated dive flaps a la SBD Dauntless, highlighting the dive bomber role. Production numbers listed in Wikipedia seem successful, but quality problems and lack of spares relegated the planes to training and target-towing service. The same plane — there does not seem to have been a separate export version as there was for many other types — was used by the British as the Bermuda. A number were also sold to the Dutch for use in the Netherlands East Indies. I have no record of any action they may have participated in.

F3A-1 Corsair

After being taken over by the Navy, Brewster was awarded a contract to build F4U Corsairs under license. The planes were assigned a Brewster code, F3A-1.

Apparently, the change in management was not enough to revitalize Brewster's production lines, as the F3As have a bad reputation for quality and, according to Wikipedia, were never delivered to the front lines.

Any data or images on the F3A will be included in the page for the Chance Vought F4U Corsair.