The F4U Corsair was the first U.S. single-engine production aircraft capable of 400 mph in level flight. The most striking feature of the aircraft is the inverted gull wing, designed to conserve space while the aircraft was in place on a carrier deck. It was a superb fighter compared to its contemporaries, achieving a 10 to 1 victory ratio. From February 1943 onward, the "U-Bird" flew from Guadalcanal and ultimately other bases in the Solomon Islands. Corsairs were flown by the famous Black Sheep Squadron VMF-214 in an area of the Solomon Islands called The Slot. Corsairs also served well as fighter-bombers in the Central Pacific and the Philippines. Night-fighter versions were produced, equipping Navy and Marine units ashore and afloat. At war's end, Corsairs were ashore on Okinawa combating the Kamikaze suicide pilots and flying from fleet and escort carriers.
During the war, Allied forces flying the aircraft included the British Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm and the Royal New Zealand Air Force.
The Corsair also served as ground attack aircraft during the Korean War.