PBY-5a Catalina

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PBY-5a Catalina
General characteristics
6 peopleCrew
15.6 tTake-off weight
Flight characteristics
4 420 mCeiling
2 х Pratt & Whitney R1830-92Engine
airCooling system
Speed of destruction
405 km/hStructural
450 km/hGear
Defensive armament
12.7 mm M2 Browning machine gun2 х Turret
478 roundsAmmunition
750 shots/minFire rate
7.62 mm Browning machine gunTurret
500 roundsAmmunition
1 000 shots/minFire rate
7.62 mm Browning machine gunTurret
1 000 roundsAmmunition
1 000 shots/minFire rate
Suspended armament
16 x 100 lb AN-M30A1 bombSetup 1
4 x 500 lb AN-M64A1 bombSetup 2
4 x 1000 lb AN-M65A1 bombSetup 3
2 x Mk.13 torpedo (2216 lbs)Setup 4
2 x Mk.13/44 torpedo (2216 lbs)Setup 5
7 900 Rp icon.pngResearch
10 000 Sl icon.pngPurchase
Sl icon.png2 060 / 2 605/1 840 / 2 327/700 / 885Repair
3 000 Sl icon.pngCrew training
10 000 Sl icon.pngExperts
130 Ge icon.pngAces
112 % Rp icon.pngReward for battle
230 % Sl icon.png200 % Sl icon.png80 % Sl icon.png
Msg-info.png This page is about the aircraft PBY-5a Catalina. For other uses, see PBY-5 (Disambiguation)


GarageImage PBY-5a Catalina.jpg

The PBY-5a Catalina is a Rank I American bomber with a battle rating of 2.0 (AB/SB) and 1.7 (RB).

General info

Flight Performance

Max Speed
(km/h at 2,135 m)
Max altitude
Turn time
Rate of climb
Take-off run
259 249 4 420 31.3 32.0 2.6 2.6 364
Max Speed
(km/h at ?,000 m)
Max altitude (meters) Turn time (seconds) Rate of climb
Take-off run (meters)
 ?  ? 4 420  ??.?  ??.?  ??.?  ??.?  ???


Combat flap Take-off flap Landing flap Air brakes Arrestor gear
Wing-break speed
Gear limit
Combat flap
Max Static G
+ -
405 450 N/A ~1 ~1
Optimal velocities
< 220 < 220 < 230 > 200
Compressor (RB/SB)
Setting 1
Optimal altitude 100% Engine power WEP Engine power
1,886 m 2,100 hp 2,982 hp

Survivability and armour

Armour plates

  • 9.5 mm steel pilot seats
  • 6.35 mm steel behind tail gunner
  • 6.35 mm and 4.7 mm steel plates inside the structural pylon

Critical component protection

  • 2 self-sealing fuel tanks in the wings


Suspended armament

The PBY-5a Catalina is able to be equipped with:

  • 16 x 100 lb AN-M30A1 bombs
  • 4 x 500 lb AN-M64A1 bombs
  • 4 x 1000 lb AN-M65A1 bombs
  • 2 x 2,216 lb Mk.13 torpedoes
  • 2 x 2,216 lb Mk.13/44 torpedoes

Defensive armament

The PBY-5a Catalina is defended with:

  • 1 x 7.62 mm Browning machine gun, nose turret (1,000 rpg)
  • 1 x 12.7 mm M2 Browning machine gun, 2 x beam turret (400 rpg = 800 total)
  • 1 x 12.7 mm M2 Browning machine gun, ventral turret (500 rpg)

Usage in the battles

Although technically a medium bomber, the PBY-5's strategies are much like that of heavy bombers in higher tiers such as the B-17. It is best to fly high, as flying low will make you an easy target for fighters and AA. The best tactic for fending off enemy fighters is to use the rudders to direct one of the side gunners towards the attacking plane. It is also smart to use the guns manually in this situation, as the AI is often very inaccurate and will refuse to fire beyond a certain distance. In the worst case scenarios, a dive can be used to greatly increase the plane's speed to get to attack a ground target before a pursuing enemy fighter shoots it down.

Although the PBY-5a Catalina is slow and clunky, it offers a heavy payload that is sure to be a game changer if used properly. It also has a very good defensive armament for its tier, which can occasionally be a savior against an enemy fighter.

The plane is quite unmanuaverable, and its wings are very weak, being able to snap just by turning just a little too tight at higher speeds in a realistic battle. Unlike its predecessor, this version has landing gear, Allowing it to land on airfields as well as in water, allowing it to repair and respawn at airfields in Realistic Mode without belly landing, and enabling it to capture bases in Airfield Domination mode in Arcade Battles.

Manual Engine Control

MEC elements
Mixer Pitch Radiator Supercharger Turbocharger
Oil Water Type
Not controllable Controllable
Has automatic pitch
Not controllable Controllable Separate Not controllable Not controllable


Tier Flight performance Survivability Weaponry
I Fuselage Repair Radiator Turret 7.62 mm belts MBC-5
II Compressor Airframe New 7.62 mm MGs (turret) LTC-5
III Wings Repair Engine Turret 12.7 mm belts Improved torpedo
IV Engine Injection Cover New 12.7 mm MGs (turret) LBC-5

The bomb load upgrades allow an increase in total bomb load, from 1600 lb through 2000 lb to 4000 lb so they are a priority, especially that the bigger bombs also allow destroying ships or tanks.

Pros and cons


  • Good bomb load
  • Good defensive weaponry.
  • Can land on airfields compared to other flying boats.
  • Can land on water.
  • Has wheel so can land on land


  • Very slow, not a plane for the impatient.
  • Humble engine power and bad rate of climb.
  • Poor energy retention.
  • Susceptible to ripping wings.
  • Poor downward facing armament.


Describe the history of the creation and combat usage of the aircraft in more detail than in the introduction. If the historical reference turns out to be too big, take it to a separate article, taking a link to an article about the vehicle and adding a block "/ historical reference" (example: https://wiki.warthunder.com/Name-vehicles/historical reference) and add a link to it here using the main template. Be sure to include links to sources at the end of the article.


An excellent addition to the article will be video guides, as well as screenshots from the game and photos.

Read also


USA bombers
Dive  SB2U-2 · SB2U-3 · SBD-3 · SB2C-1c · SB2C-4
Torpedo  TBD-1 · PBY-5 Catalina · PBY-5a Catalina · TBF-1C · BTD-1
Medium  B-10B · B-18A · B-34 · PV-2D · B-25J-1 · B-25J-20 · A-26C-45 · A-26C-45DT
Heavy  B-17E · B-17E/L · B-17G-60-VE · PB4Y-2 · B-24D-25-CO · B-29A-BN
Other  PBM-3 "Mariner"