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AIR FORCE/MILITARY HISTORY

C-119 Flying Boxcar

The Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar was an American military transport aircraft developed from the World War II-era Fairchild C-82 Packet, designed to carry cargo, personnel, litter patients, and mechanized equipment, and to drop cargo and troops by parachute.

Top speed: 290 mph

Introduced: December 1949

Retired: 1974

Range: 2,280 mi

Primary users United States Air Force

                              United States Navy

                              United States Marine Corps

Manufacturer: Fairchild Aircraft

Engine types: Radial engine, Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major

In contrast to the C-82, the cockpit was moved forward to fit flush with the nose rather than its previous location over the cargo compartment. This resulted in more usable cargo space and larger loads than the C-82 could accommodate. The C-119 also featured more powerful engines, and a wider and stronger airframe. The first C-119 prototype (called the XC-82B) first flew in November 1947, with deliveries of C-119Bs from Fairchild's Hagerstown, Maryland factory beginning in December 1949.


In 1951, Henry J. Kaiser was awarded a contract to assemble additional C-119s at the Kaiser-Frazer automotive factory located in the former B-24 plant at Willow Run Airport in Belleville, Michigan. Initially, the Kaiser-built C-119F differed from the Fairchild aircraft by the use of Wright R-3350-85 Duplex Cyclone engines in place of Fairchild's use of the Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major radial engine. Kaiser built 71 C-119s at Willow Run in 1952 and 1953 (AF Ser. No. 51-8098 to 51-8168) before converting the factory for a planned production of the Chase C-123 that never eventuated. The Kaiser sub-contract was frowned upon by Fairchild, and efforts were made through political channels to stop Kaiser's production, which may have proven successful. Following Kaiser's termination of C-119 production the contract for the C-123 was instead awarded to Fairchild. Most Kaiser-built aircraft were issued to the U.S. Marine Corps as R4Qs, with several later turned over to the South Vietnamese air force in the 1970s.

The AC-119G "Shadow" gunship variant was fitted with four six-barrel 7.62 mm (0.300 in) NATO miniguns, armor plating, flare launchers, and night-capable infrared equipment. Like the AC-130 that preceded it, the AC-119 proved to be a potent weapon. The AC-119 was made more deadly by the introduction of the AC-119K "Stinger" version, which featured the addition of two General Electric M61 Vulcan 20 mm (0.79 in) cannon, improved avionics, and two underwing-mounted General Electric J85-GE-17 turbojet engines, adding nearly 6,000 lbf (27 kN) of thrust.


Other major variants included the EC-119J, used for satellite tracking, and the YC-119H Skyvan prototype, with larger wings and tail.


In civilian use, many C-119s feature the "Jet-Pack" modification, which incorporates a 3,400 lbf (15,000 N) Westinghouse J34 turbojet engine in a nacelle above the fuselage.

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