History of NAS Patuxent River

Naval Aviation in Space

Weapons Systems

Unmanned Technology

Engine and Propulsion Gallery

Sea Legs - Carrier-based Aviation

Art and Photography Gallery

and much more!


Maritime Dominance Gallery

Battlespace Control Exhibit

Women in Leadership


content provided by Summer Youth Volunteer Rebekah M. 

Douglas NA-4M Skyhawk

Also known as the “scooter,” this aircraft satisfied the Navy’s need for a successor to the A-1 Skyraider attack aircraft. The A-4M actually went through many stages before reaching its final product. The different versions mainly had changes in engines but the A-4M, the final product, is distinguished by a hump on the fuselage that used to house mission electronics. Our display aircraft has been at NAS Patuxent River all its life. It was, at first, an A-4F but it was converted to the A-4M prototype and was given the “N” designation indicating that it was a permanent test aircraft. It was sent to the Naval Air Test Center for Surveys and then to the Engine Component Improvement Program to be used for other projects. It finally retired in November of 1990.

Grumman E-2B Hawkeye

This aircraft is very interesting in looks. Its rotating dome on top is very distinct and this is the only plane in the flight line that has one. The E-2 is normally used for air, land, and sea surveillance, recovery missions, and tactical missions. The E-2Bs were converted from the E-2A because they were unreliable in service. The E-2Bs were converted in the 1970s, and the upgrades included a new mission computer, and better avionics cooling. Our Hawkeye has served with multiple fleet squadrons before it was converted to an E-2B in January of 1971 and had logged six thousand seven hundred hours.

Beech T-34B Mentor

This plane was loosely based on the civil Beech Bonanza aircraft. It started replacing the original Navy T-6 Texan when it first came out. This aircraft was also primarily used for flight training. For over forty years, aviators who had golden wings received basic flight instruction in the T-34B.

Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite

Although this aircraft was originally designed as a single-engine utility helicopter, the Seasprite was transformed into a twin-engine aircraft with varied versions and missions. The aircraft on display was accepted into the Navy in 1983 and flew with the Naval Air Test Center’s rotary wing aircraft test directorate from March to October in 1984. It was converted to the SH-2G variant while it was in Kaman. After the conversion was finished in 1993, it came back to the NATC’s rotary wing testers to be used for system development and flight envelope expansion. Its final flight was in September 1997 and had logged 541.6 flight hours.

McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II 

Originally the British Hawker Siddeley, the evolved AV-8B Harrier helped to investigate the value of tactical jet operations. The Harrier became operational with the Marines in 1985 and featured extensive changes from the AV-8A, which included a supercritical composite wing, increased fuel capacity, a new cockpit, and a bubble canopy. Our display was the fourth production of the AV-8B and flew here at NAS Pax River along with the strike aircraft test directorate and naval strike aircraft test five, all before it retired in September, 199. As this is one of the museum’s new additions, it was added to the flight line In January 2019.

F-4J Phantom II

       The Phantom II is a supersonic, long range, all weather interceptor with full ground attack capability. In
addition to service in our Navy, Marines, and Air Force, it was flown by the military of seven allied countries. The McDonnell production line started in September 1955 and continued until August 1979;5,057 were built.The Phantom II's first flight was on 27 May 1958. Flying Qualities and Performance (FQ&P) Navy Preliminary Evaluation (NPE) I took place in September 1958. Our display aircraft, F-4J BuNo 153071 (Salty Dog 100), has spent its entire operational life involved intest and evaluation work. Its first flight was 28 June 1966 and it arrived at the Naval Air Test Center in 
February 1967. Over the years, it was specially instrumented and served as one of the primary aircraft
carrier suitability testing and automatic carrier landing system development aircraft.

Grumman S-2D Tracker

           This aircraft went through a lot of nicknames during its lifetime. It’s been nicknamed “stoof,” a rough pronunciation of its designation originally being S2F. It was later changed to S-2. This aircraft was the first to be able to both search for and attack submarines. The S-2s were equipped with a lot of sensors like a magnetic anomaly detector, a search radar, and a searchlight. The aircraft could also carry torpedoes, mines, and depth bombs. Our display aircraft was manufactured on March 20th, 1962, and it flew at NAS Patuxent River. This is one of the oldest planes on our flight line, as it was moved here in 1982.

North American T-39D Sabreliner

The Sabreliner is a 50s era business jet with the wings being inspired by the F-86 Sabre jet fighter. Our display here is one of a kind. It was accepted by the Navy in 1964 and served as am NFO trainer until 1977. In August of the same year, it was fitted with an F/A-18 radar, nose and engineering crew stations. The aircraft’s last flight was on July 14, 1989 and was transferred to the museum in 1994.

Northrop Grumman RQ-8A Fire Scout

           The Northrop Grumman RQ-8A Fire Scout is an unmanned aircraft. It’s displayed inside of the museum. This aircraft’s use was for surveilling and locating suspicious ground activities. It had laser which would illuminate targets for laser-guided weapons. Our PRNAM Fire Scout was the third one ever built. It retired on September 30, 2011.

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