The improvements introduced on the AJ-2P were used on a new and improved attack version, designated AJ-2. The cockpit arrangement was revised to have the throttles moved to a central location where all crew members could have access to them. The crew was three, all of them on the upper deck but with the third crewman facing aft.
On August 14, 1950, the Navy issued a contract for the conversion of 42 of the original AJ-1s to AJ-2 configuration. On February 14, 1951, the Navy ordered an additional 55 new build AJ-2s. The AJ-2 served with VC-7, VC-8, and VC-9, as well as with the heavy attack squadrons VAH-5, VAH-6, VAH-7, VAH-9, VAH-11, VAH-15, and VAH-16.
Although the AJ Savage had originally been built as an attack aircraft, it was destined not to serve very long in that role and never saw any combat. The AJ Savage rapidly became obsolete as jet powered aircraft such as the A3D Skywarrior became available. Instead, many AJ Savages were converted as inflight refuelling tankers, with a hose-and real unit and extra fuel tanks being installed in the bomb bay. The jet engine was removed. AJ-2 tanker aircraft served for several years with most of the heavy attack squadrons aboard aircraft carriers.
By 1960, most of the Savages had been removed from active Navy service and replaced by A3K Skywarriors. In 1962, surviving AJ-2s were redesignated A-2B under the new unified designation scheme.
Many surplus AJ Savages ended up in civilian service as fire-fighting aircraft.
Engines: Two Pratt & Whitney R-2800-44W air-cooled radial engines rated at 2300 hp at 30,000 feet and one Allison J33-A-10 turbojet, rated at 4600 lb.s.t. Performance: Maximum speed 449 mph at 34,000 feet, 357 mph at sea level. Cruising speed 260 mph. Landing speed 119 mph. Combat ceiling 41,500 feet. Initial climb rate 3050 feet per minute. Range 2475 miles with a 3200-lb bomb load and a pair of 300 gallon wingtip fuel tanks. Maximum ferry range 3050 miles. Dimensions: Wingspan 71 feet 45 inches, Length 63 feet 1 inches, height 21 feet 5 inches, wing area 836 square feet. Weight: 30,800 pounds empty, 50,600 pounds gross, 54,000 pounds maximum. Armament: Maximum offensive load 12,000 pounds, such as a 7600 pound MK 15 nuclear weapons or six 1600-pound conventional weapons and two 300-gallon wingtip tanks. No defensive armament was carried.
130405/130421 North American AJ-2 Savage c/n 184-1/17 134035/134072 North American AJ-2 Savage c/n 184-18/55