Franklin D Roosevelt Library
President's Secretary File (PSF) 1933-1945
Box 60
Folder: Navy Department: 1943

Navy Dept. Folder
2-43

THE WHITE HOUSE
WASHINGTON

May 8, 1943.

MEMORANDUM FOR

                                ADMIRAL LEAHY:

Will you speak to me about this?

F.D.R.

@ material shortage etc indicates that we should talk in tons of airplanes instead of number of planes. Get Nelson & find what we can do 1944 with material & facilities available –

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THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY
WASHINGTON

7 May, 1943

(SC)A1-3/VV
Serial 014500A
CONFIDENTIAL

THIRD ENDORSEMENT to
BuAer Conf. Ltr. Aer-PL-
6-MML:HDL, VV, KV, Serial
C-9184, dated 5 May, 1943

From:                 The Secretary of the Navy.
To:                     The President.

Subject:              Aircraft Program, Navy and Marine Corps -- revision of.

1. I recommend approval of the aircraft program, subject to the modifications, as recommended in the first endorsement.

/S/
FRANK KNOX

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THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE NAVY FOR AIR
WASHINGTON

May 6, 1943

CONFIDENTIAL

SECOND ENDORSEMENT to
BuAer Conf. Ltr. C9184
of May 5, 1943.

From:            Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Air.
To:                Secretary of the Navy.

Subject:         Aircraft Program, Navy and Marine Corps – Revision of.

1. Forwarded, recommending approval as modified in the first endorsement.

2. I favor emphatically the substitution of VB(H) for VPB(H) type aircraft. Measures for this change-over in production are currently being processed.

/S/
A.L. GATES

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COMINCH FILE

UNITED STATES FLEET
HEADQUARTERS OF THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF
NAVY DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON. D. C.

FF1/A1-3/VV
Serial: 01386

MAY 6 1943

CONFIDENTIAL

FIRST ENDORSEMENT to
BuAer Conf. Ltr. C9184
of May 5, 1943.

From:             Commander in Chief, United States Fleet
                        and Chief of Naval Operations.
To                 Secretary of the Navy.
Via:               Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Air.

Subject:         Aircraft Program, Navy and Marine Corps – revision of.

1. Forwarded, recommending approval subject to following modification:

(a) That under "Estimated Aircraft Requirements - End of 1943" on page 5 of Enclosure (A), the number of Patrol-Heavy, Designation VPB(H), Squadrons be reduced from 17 to 5 and that as the equipment of those squadrons is expended by attrition, they be re-equipped with VB(H) type aircraft.

2. No further inclusion of squadrons equipped with four-engined patrol seaplanes is contemplated for the Naval Aeronautical Organization.

3. It is requested that this matter be presented to the President after it shall have been cleared through the Joint U.S. Chiefs of Staff.

/S/
E.J. KING

Copy to:
     BuAer

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ENCLOSURE

In reply address not the signer of
this letter but Bureau of Aeronautics,
Navy Department, Washington, D.C.

Refer to No. Aer-PL-6-MML:HDL
                 VV
                 KV

NAVY DEPARTMENT
BUREAU OF AERONAUTICS
WASHINGTON

CONFIDENTIAL

5 MAY 1943

From:            The Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics.
To:                The Secretary of the Navy.

Via:              (1) The Commander in Chief, United States Fleet.
                    (2) The Assistant Secretary for Air.

SUBJECT:   Aircraft Program, Navy and Marine Corps - Revision of.

Reference:
               (a) 27,500 Plane Program (Opnav conf. ltr. Op-12-4-EK
               (SC) F1-1 dated 7 January 1942).
               (b) 27,500 Plane Program (Buaer conf. ltr. Serial C-0179,
               A16-1, VV, dated 2 January 1942.)

Enclosure:
               (A) Recommended Aircraft Program, Navy and Marine Corps (Appendix).

1. In reference (b) the Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics submitted the 27,500 Plane Program to the Chief of Naval Operations, which was further submitted to the Secretary of the Navy by reference (a). The President of the United States approved this program on 7 January 1942.

2. Submitted herewith as Enclosure (A) is a revised program replacing the program of 27,500 planes as previously established in references (a) and (b).

3. This program involves an organization with aircraft requirements of 33,056 airplanes, of which 23,625 are to be operating aircraft.

4. The major differences in this program over that of the 27,500 plane program are (1) increase in the shipbuilding program of carriers, with corresponding increase in aircraft with which they must be complemented; (2) revisions of the operating aircraft complements of the various types of ships, as a result of wartime experience to date; and (3) increased utilization of four-engine and twin-engine landplanes for antisubmarine warfare in addition to their original missions of patrol and search. For the purpose of this study, it has been assumed that the current shipbuilding program will be extended beyond the number of ships now authorized, to provide replacements at a rate equal to the attrition in ships.

5. It will be noted that, commencing in 1944, provision is made for a Striking Force within each Fleet Air Wing. The normal complement of this force will be two 18-plane VF squadrons, one 18-plane VSB squadron and one 18-plane VTB squadron. The addition of such a force to each Fleet Air Wing will enable the wing commander to form balanced task forces within his wing which are appropriate to the task at hand, without diversion of other units from their normal missions. It has been necessary to utilize carrier groups for this purpose thus far; it has been possible to do this because, thus far, carrier air groups have generally been salvaged when carriers have been lost. Although the need for these Striking Forces is not acute at present in the Atlantic, it is an urgent requirement in the Pacific. Provision has been made, therefore, for sixteen (16) such groups for assignment to Fleet Air Wings. The typical complement of a Fleet Air Wing in the South Pacific would be:

2  –  12-plane VB(H) squadrons
4  –  12-plane VB(M) squadrons
1  –  12-plane VPB(H) squadron
2  –  12-plane VPB(M) squadrons
1  –  18-plane VO/VS squadron
1  –  12-plane VF(N) squadron
1  –  6-plane VD squadron
2  –  18-plane VF squadrons
1  –  18-plane VSB squadron
1  –  18-plane VTB squadron

With the above complement, well balanced task groups can be formulated as required. In less active theaters the above listed complement may be reduced by the elimination of types not required in certain areas, such as the night fighters, photographic squadrons and the striking force. It is intended that the exact composition of the wing be adapted to the requirements of the locality in which it is to operate.

6. The basic increases proposed in this program which are not included in the 27,500 Plane Program are as follows:

Shipbuilding
35 CV's versus 24 CV's (new CV allowance includes 9 ex-CL).
86 ACV's versus 16 ACV (This total includes the Kaiser class).
U. S. Marine Aviation.
4 Marine Air Wings versus 3 Marine Air Wings.
15 Base Defense Groups versus 6 Base Defense Groups.
2 Night Fighter Groups not in previous program.
Fleet Air Wings.
12 VPB (Heavy) versus 20 squadrons.
20 VPB (Medium) versus 58 squadrons.
32 VB (Four-engine) versus 12 squadrons.
68 VB (Two-Engine) versus 24 squadrons.
Naval Air Transport Service.
750 Transport airplanes versus 200.
Fleet Utility and Target Towing Squadrons.
18 Squadrons versus 4 squadrons.
Aircraft for Training Purposes.
9,432 Planes versus 8,232 planes.

7. Section 8 of Public Document No. 757, 76th Congress, of 19 July 1940, provided as follows:

"The President of the United States is hereby authorized to acquire or construct naval airplanes and spare parts and equipment, as may be necessary to provide and maintain the number of useful naval airplanes at a total of 15,000. Provided, that if, in the judgment of the Secretary of the Navy, the total number of airplanes authorized herein is not sufficient to meet the needs of the national defense, he may, with the approval of the President, make such plans for procurement as the situation may demand."

8. In view of the experiences of war having indicated an additional requirement in the total number of airplanes to be operated by the U. S. Navy in defense of the interests of the United States and in light of the foregoing, the Bureau of Aeronautics recommends the adoption of the increased airplane program by the Secretary of the Navy with the approval of the President.

/S/
JOHN S. McCAIN

Rear Admiral, U.S.N.
Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics

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APPENDIX

COMPARISON OF 27,500 PLANE PROGRAM
WITH PROPOSED PROGRAM OF MAY 5, 1943.

Type Unit

27,500 Plane Program

Aircraft Program Navy and Marine Corps

No.
Units

Operating
Planes

Spare
Planes

Total
Planes

No.
Units

Operating
Planes

Spare
Planes

Total
Planes

CV Groups

24

2,144

2,083

4,227

19

1,671

1,254

2,925

CV Additional Groups

24

2,022

2,022

4,044

19

1,671

552

2,223

ACV Groups

16

388

380

768

66

2,073

1,284

3,367

ACV Additional Groups

16

358

358

716

16

501

165

666

TOTAL CV - ACV


4,912

4,843

9,755


5,916

3,255

9,171

BB

32

101

101

202

25

65

26

91

CA

26

104

104

208

37

144

58

202

CB

11

66

66

132

2

8

3

11

CL

69

277

277

554

60

220

88

308

AV

10

10

5

15

14

14

6

20

DD

7

7

7

14

3

3

1

4

PG

2

2

2

4

2

2

0

2

TOTAL SHIPS


567

562

1,129


456

182

638

VBH*

12

168

84

252

37

444

222

666

VBM

24

336

168

504

68

818

406

1,224

VPBH*

20

280

140

420

0

0

0

0

VPBM

58

770

385

1,155

20

240

79

319

VO/VS

24

290

146

436

16

288

95

385

Night Fighter

0

0

0

0

8

96

72

168

Photographic

0

0

0

0

4

48

24

72

Striking Force (VF)

0

0

0

0

32

575

432

1,008

Striking Force (VSB)

0

0

0

0

16

288

144

432

Striking Force (VTB)

0

0

0

0

16

288

144

432

TOTAL FAW


1,844

923

2,767


3,084

1,620

4,704

Utility

4

132

51

183

12

180

45

225

Target

2

52

20

72

6

78

20

98

NATS

3

150

50

200

15

600

150

750

Rescue

8

96

24

120

8

96

24

120

Courier

2

24

10

34

0

0

0

0

TOTAL SERVICE


454

155

609


954

239

1,193

Marine Air Wings

3

1,242

1,123

2,365

4

1,582

1,052

2,634

Base Defense Air Groups

6

492

468

960

15

1,176

804

1,980

VF Groups

2

176

160

336

2

154

116

270

VF(N) Groups

0

0

0

0

2

104

78

182

VB Groups

2

100

100

200

2

100

50

150

TOTAL FMF


2,010

1,851

3,861


3,116

2,100

5,216

Training Establishment


6,860

1,372

8,232


7,859

1,573

9,432

Fleet Training


0

0

0


1,145

229

1,374

TOTAL TRAINING


6,860

1,372

8,232


9,004

1,802

10,806

Coast Guard

0

0

0

0


122

23

145

Administrative


480

95

575


681

137

818

Projects

0

0

0

0


108

55

163

Experimental


115

0

115


97

0

97

TOTAL


17,242

9,801

27,043


23,558

9,413

32,951

Unallocated Reserve


0

0

457


0

0

0

GRAND TOTAL




27,500




32,951

* - The VBH and VPBH programs have been adjusted in accordance with Cominch 1st endorsements i.e., the VPBH program has been reduced to five squadrons which have been reequipped with VBH as attrition occurred.