|A U.S. Navy PBM-5 Mariner|
|Role||Patrol bomber flying boat|
|National origin||United States|
|Manufacturer||Glenn L. Martin Company|
|First flight||18 February 1939|
|Primary users||United States Navy|
United States Coast Guard
Royal Australian Air Force
|Developed into||Martin P5M Marlin|
The Martin PBM Mariner was a twin-engine American patrol bomber flying boat of World War II and the early Cold War era. It was designed to complement the Consolidated PBY Catalina and PB2Y Coronado in service. A total of 1,366 PBMs were built, with the first example flying on 18 February 1939 and the type entering service in September 1940, with the last of the type being retired in 1964.
In 1937 the Glenn L. Martin Company designed a new twin-engined flying boat, the Model 162, to succeed its earlier Martin P3M and complement the PBY Catalina and PB2Y Coronado. It received an order for a single prototype XPBM-1 on 30 June 1937. This was followed by an initial production order for 21 PBM-1 aircraft on 28 December 1937.
To test the PBM's layout, Martin built a ⅜ scale flying model, the Martin 162A Tadpole Clipper with a crew of one and powered by a single 120 hp (89 kW) Chevrolet engine driving two airscrews via v-belts; this was flown in December 1937. The first genuine PBM, the XPBM-1, flew on 18 February 1939.
The aircraft had multiple gun positions including single mounts at each midship beam and stern above the tail cone. Additional guns were positioned in the nose and dorsal turrets, each fitted with two-gun turrets. The bomb bays were in the engine nacelles. The gull wing was of cantilever design, and featured clean aerodynamics with an unbraced twin tail. The PBM-1 was equipped with retractable wing landing floats that were hinged outboard, with single-strut supported floats that retracted inwards to rest beneath the wing, with the floats' keels just outboard of each of the engine nacelles. The PBM-3 had fixed floats, and the fuselage was three feet longer than that of the PBM-1.
The first PBM-1s entered service with Patrol Squadron Fifty-Five (VP-55) of the United States Navy on 1 September 1940. Prior to the USA's entry into World War II, PBMs were used (together with PBYs) to carry out Neutrality Patrols in the Atlantic, including operations from Iceland. Following Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, PBMs were used on anti-submarine patrols, sinking their first German U-boat, U-158, on 30 June 1942. PBMs were responsible, wholly or in part, for sinking a total of ten U-boats during World War II. PBMs were also heavily used in the Pacific War, operating from bases at Saipan, Okinawa, Iwo Jima, and the South West Pacific.
The United States Coast Guard acquired 27 Martin PBM-3 aircraft during the first half of 1943. In late 1944, the service acquired 41 PBM-5 models and more were delivered in the latter half of 1945. Ten were still in service in 1955, although all were gone from the active Coast Guard inventory by 1958 (when the last example was released from CGAS San Diego and returned to the U.S. Navy). These flying boats became the backbone of the long-range aerial search and rescue efforts of the Coast Guard in the early post-war years until supplanted by the P5M Marlin and the HU-16 Albatross in the mid-1950s.
PBMs continued in service with the U.S. Navy following the end of World War II, flying long patrol missions during the Korean War. It continued in front line use until replaced by its successor, the P5M Marlin. The last Navy squadron equipped with the PBM, Patrol Squadron Fifty (VP-50), retired them in July 1956.
The British Royal Air Force acquired 32 Mariners, but they were not used operationally, with some returned to the United States Navy. A further 12 PBM-3Rs were transferred to the Royal Australian Air Force for transporting troops and cargo.
The Royal Netherlands Navy acquired 17 PBM-5A Mariners at the end of 1955 for service in Netherlands New Guinea. The PBM-5A was an amphibian with retractable landing gear. The engines were 2,100 hp (1,600 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-2800-34. After a series of crashes, the Dutch withdrew their remaining aircraft from use in December 1959.
Data from Jane’s Fighting Aircraft of World War II
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