The PV-2 Harpoon was a major redesign of the PV-1 Ventura with the wing area increased from 551 ft² (51.2 m²) to 686 ft² (63.7 m²) giving an increased load-carrying capability. The motivation for redesign was weaknesses in the PV-1, since it had shown to have poor-quality takeoffs when carrying a full load of fuel. On the PV-2, the armament became standardised at five forward-firing machine guns. Many early PV-1s had a bombardier's position, which was deleted in the PV-2. Some other significant developments included the increase of the bombload by 30% to 4,000 lb (1,800 kg), and the ability to carry eight 5-inch (127 mm) HVAR rockets under the wings.While the PV-2 was expected to have increased range and better takeoff, the anticipated speed statistics were projected lower than those of the PV-1, due to the use of the same engines but an increase in weight. The Navy ordered 500 examples, designating them with the popular name Harpoon. This one is on display at US National Museum of Naval Aviation, Pensacola, Florida
387 PV-1s were used by the RAF as the Ventura G.R.V. They were used in the Mediterranean and by Coastal Command. Some RAF aircraft were modified into Ventura C.V transport aircraft. The Ventura Mark I was first delivered to the Royal Air Force in September 1941, and flew its first combat mission on 3 November 1942 against a factory in Hengelo, the Netherlands. On 6 December 1942, 47 Venturas engaged in a daylight, low-altitude attack against Eindhoven, also in the Netherlands. This was the primary event that demonstrated the Ventura's weakness in such raids: of the 47, nine of the bombers were downed.