PBM Mariner file photo

PBM Mariner

CountryUnited States
ManufacturerGlenn L. Martin Company
Primary RoleSeaplane
Maiden Flight18 February 1939


ww2dbaseIn 1937, the Glenn L. Martin Company designed a new twin-engined flying boat meant to compliment the Consolidated PBY Catalina aircraft already in military service. On 30 Jun 1937, Martin received an order for a single prototype, followed by an order for an additional 21 examples on 28 Dec 1937. The prototype, XPBM-1, took flight on 18 Feb 1939. To defend itself, the design called for five gun turrets; meanwhile, the bomb bay was large enough for 1,800-kilograms of bombs. They first entered service on 1 Sep 1940, with the US Navy Patrol Squadron VP-55. They operated in neutrality patrol roles prior to the American entrance to the war. After the war began for the United States, they mainly operated in anti-submarine roles, sinking their first German submarine, U-158, on 30 Jun 1942. Throughout the course of the war, they were credited with ten German submarine sinkings. They were also used in the Pacific War, operating in forward areas such as Saipan and Okinawa after seaplane bases were secured. In additional to the US Navy, the US Coast Guard also operated PBM Mariner aircraft. In early 1943, the USCG acquired 27 PBM-3 aircraft. The number increased by 41 PBM-5 aircraft in late 1944, followed by another delivery in early 1945. They operated in patrols off the US coast during the war, and remained in service until 1958. After WW2, US Navy continued to operate PBM Mariner aircraft for patrol missions, including during the Korean War. The last US Navy PBM was taken out of service in Jul 1956.

ww2dbase32 PBM Mariner aircraft were leased to the British Royal Air Force, but they were not deployed operationally; some of them were later returned to the US Navy. 12 PBM-3R aircraft were transferred to the Royal Australian Air Force during the war; they served in transport roles during WW2.

ww2dbaseAfter the war, in late 1955, 17 PBM-5A Mariner aircraft were sold to the Royal Netherlands Navy; they were deployed to New Guinea. The Dutch examples remained in service until Dec 1959.

ww2dbaseDuring the production life of the design, a total of 1,366 PBM Mariner aircraft were built.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

PBM Mariner Timeline

16 Sep 1941 5 PBM Mariner aircraft and 1 PBY Catalina aircraft received radar to help these American aircraft conduct their neutrality patrols.


MachineryTwo Wright R-2600-12 14-cylinder radial engines rated at 1,700hp each
Armament8x12.7mm M2 Browning machines guns (2 in nose, 2 in dorsal turret, 2 in tail turret, 1 in each of 2 blisters), 1,800kg of bombs or 2x Mark 13 torpedoes
Span36.00 m
Length23.50 m
Height5.33 m
Wing Area131.00 m
Weight, Empty15,048 kg
Weight, Loaded25,425 kg
Speed, Maximum330 km/h
Rate of Climb4.10 m/s
Service Ceiling6,040 m
Range, Normal4,800 km


PBM-1 Mariner aircraft of US Navy Patrol Squadron VP-56 in flight, 1940PBM-3 Mariner aircraft of US Navy Patrol Squadron VP-74 in flight, 1942Two PBM-1 (front) and two PBM-3 (back) in flight, 1942. The PBM-1s are from an early production series with retractable floats that were discontinued for principal production. Location unknown. Photo 1 of 2Two PBM-1 (front) and two PBM-3 (back) in flight, 1942. The PBM-1s are from an early production series with retractable floats that were discontinued for principal production. Location unknown. Photo 2 of 2
See all 31 photographs of PBM Mariner Seaplane

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Visitor Submitted Comments

  1. Ronald Dascher says:
    18 Mar 2015 02:13:47 PM

    I was a flt crew member in the PBM- 5A in 1956, Was with VP50 at the navy air station in alameda calif. We were the last squadron to fly the PBM"s
  2. L. Molina says:
    16 May 2016 10:41:12 AM

    Need to know squadron for this PBM Mariner, nose art wolf head roundel bomb in background

  3. Anonymous says:
    23 Jul 2016 07:30:04 PM

    My father flew PBM's in the Solomon Islands in WWII. Was awarded several DFC's for bravery; we never knew the exact number. Neither the Army Air Corp or Navy recorded these medals. We only know the kind of work these pilots did took a huge toll on the squadrons. They were the "dustoff" pilots of WWII.

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PBM Mariner Seaplane Photo Gallery
PBM-1 Mariner aircraft of US Navy Patrol Squadron VP-56 in flight, 1940
See all 31 photographs of PBM Mariner Seaplane

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