| In 1945, when the US Navy was issuing contracts for carrier-based
jet powered fighters, it was noted that the McDonnell XFD-1
"Phantom" was some what slower than contemporary USAAF jet
fighters such as Lockheed's P-80 "Shooting
Star". The Bureau of Aeronautics invited McDonnell to submit a
design for a successor to the FD-1 "Phantom" even before the had
entered production. On March 22, 1945, a Letter of Intent was issued which
covered the development and manufacture for three prototypes of the new
aircraft, the XF2D-1, 99858 to 99860.
The XF2D-1 design team at McDonnell was headed by Herman D. Barkey, the new design was basically an enlarged Phantom powered by 2x 3,000 lb Westinghouse J34 turbojets mounted in the wing root . The fuselage was longer and provided for a extra 151 US gallons of fuel and four 20mm cannons replaced the four 0.50-inch machine guns of the FD-1, these guns were relocated from the top to the bottom of the nose in order to reduce the blinding effect on the pilot.
|The mockup was inspected on the 24-26/4/1945. However end of the war in the Pacific resulted in the cancellation of many aircraft projects, but the US Navy thought the new fighter from McDonnell's sufficiently promising that it was spared the axe. Nevertheless, work on the three XF2D-1 prototypes proceeded at a less hectic pace with the construction of the first aircraft being delayed until 1946. The first XF2D-1 took to the air for the first time from Lambert Field in St. Louis on 11/1/1947, the flight tests and service evaluations went fairly well, but some control problems were encountered which resulted in the decision to replace the dihedral tailplanes of the prototypes with tailplanes without dihedral on all production models. Shortly after its first flight, the XF2D-1 was redesignated XF2H-1 when the factory code for McDonnell changed from D to H.||
The first production batch of the F2H-1 "Banshee" was ordered on 29/5/1947, with 56 machines being delivered between August 1948 and August 1949. All were identical to the prototype except for the elimination of the tailplane dihedral and later retrofitted with the more powerful J34-WE-30 making 3150 lb of thrust. The "Banshee" would serve with the US Navy until 1961.