4 years to get a fighter

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by The Basket, Aug 16, 2009.

  1. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    Just thinking that if you look at the big players

    Spitfire, Hurricane Me 109 Fw190 Mustnang and others it took about 4 years from first flight when they were avaliable to real war winning machines built in numbers.

    So is this a fair assessment? That it takes 4 years?

    That means every major combat type would have at least had to fly the prototype by 1940 to see serious action.

    I don't mean seeing action...I mean been avavilable enough to do some good and equip squadrons....not just a few here and there. And not developments of existing designs I am talking clean sheet of paper designs.
     
  2. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    The Me-109 program was hampered by by delays in producing the DB601 engine. The Fw-190 was delayed much worse as it started with a DB601 engine, switched to the BMW139 radial and switched agan to the BMW801 radial. Without the engine delays both these aircraft would likely be operational within 3 years.

    The American P-51 was prevented from reaching full potential by lack of a decent supercharger for the Allison engine. If the RR Merlin had been installed in the original prototype during 1940 then the RAF and U.S.Army Air Corps would have a great long range fighter aircraft during 1942. The P-38 is a similiar story. Install RR Merlins or a supercharged version of the Allison engine in the 1939 prototype and you will have a decent fighter in mass production by the end of 1941.
     
  3. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    In all the histories of the Fw190 I have read, I have never come across any reference to the Fw190 ever being initially designed with a DB601 engine. In fact, the histories say Kurt Tank went with a radial engine because he foresaw that the massive airplane production programs would monopolize the DB and Jumo engines. He also wanted to power his airplane with the most powerful engine available at that time and this was the BMW139.

    The Merlin of 1940 had a no better supercharger than did the Allison, both being single stage superchargers. The Spitfire didn't get a Merlin 60 series engine (2 speed/2 stage) til late 1942. All Allison engines for airplane use had a supercharger. I think you will find that the Allison had a better sfc than the Merlin.

    Why would Lockheed want to put a less powerful engine that ran out of steam around 15,000 feet in the P-38?

    Later in the P-38s life, a design study was done with Merlin 60 series engines installed and it was found there was really no overall difference in the performance of the airplane.
     
  4. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    I is not saying operational...the Me 262 was operational...I am talking about a war winning weapon.

    And that means numbers.

    And that seems to me to take 4 years.
     
  5. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    #5 DerAdlerIstGelandet, Aug 16, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2009
    That information is incorrect. The Fw 190 did not start out as a design with the DB 601. The RLM put out a request for a new fighter. Focke Wulf responded with several designs that were built around the DB 601. All were rejected because they offered no superiority over the Bf 109.

    Because of these rejections, Kurt Tank then designed a brand new aircraft around the BMW-139 two-row 18-cylinder air-cooled radial engine with 1,156 kW (1,550 HP).

    The design was not related to the other designs either.
     
  6. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    Really?
    I didn't realise that Rolls-Royce engines were ever installed in a P-38. Do you have the paper on this?
     
  7. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    The first order for the P-51 was March, 1940. The first orders for the P-51B was August 1942, the first fligts of the 51B were May 1943 and first combat production line units were delivered to USAAF in June 1943.

    Three years plus three months from figment of imagination to the first production model that broke the back of the LW. Three years nine months for full combat ops in 354th FG and RAF #19 Squadron.

    One year from figment to fully combat operational (RAF Mustang I) low to medium altitude fighter capable of battling Fw 190 and me 109.

    The latter is the most dramatic example of exceptional performance delevered in full production in less than a year from start of design.
     
  8. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    Not installed Colin for it was all numbers crunching on paper and no I don't have the paper. Another story (??) I have heard of was that there was lobbying done in Washington to keep the Merlin out of the P-38.
     
  9. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    I worked at Lockheed in the 1980s and worked along side people who worked on P-38s. There was always talk about this P-38/ Merlin study, but it seemed it never went anywhere. Warren Bodie, a very famous Lockheed historian made reference to this design study and the possible completion of the installation package in several of his books. There were people who I worked with who said it was done but I don't believe any documented evidence of this exists. I went through the old company Library in Burbank on several occasions to try to find something about a Merlin powered P-38 and couldn't come up with anything.

    Had there had been a decision to put Merlins in the P-38 it would have had to be initialized by the government as contracts were signed and the logistics machine was in place to mass produce this aircraft on a grand scale with Allisons. If anything, there would have been an an effort to kept the basic design in tact as the aircraft was desperately needed, especially in the PTO. Had the improvement justified the need to disrupt the production line, I believe we could have seen Merlin powered P-38s. The only lobbying I'd believe was going on was an effort to keep the assembly line going.
     
  10. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    I could be Bodie is the source of the Merlin P-38.

    It would have had to be one great improvement with the Merlin for the production of Merlin P-38s as the production was not allowed to be shut down for 2 weeks to convert the line to P-39K production.
     
  11. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    In the book "Vee's for Victory" I believe there are accounts of several different schemes for using Merlin engines in P-38s, none of witch went any where because they offered no real improvement in performance.

    Whither they would have offered any improvement in reliability is another story. The problem not being with the basic Allison engine but rying to keep all the duct work tight.
    They would almost certainly have offered shorter range.
     
  12. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    I disagree - I would have been better to go with the P-38K. The modification could have been done with little or no disruption on the production line and the improvements gained would have been more cost effective then redesigning the while P-38 QEC to facilitate the Merlin.

    The P-38K
     
  13. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    Ugh?? How did you arrive at that from what I wrote?
     
  14. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    A redesign of the QEC and implementation into the P-38 production like could have taken months in lieu of 2 weeks for the P-38K. In the end the performance offered by the Merlin P-38 wasn't that much better than the P-38K. Had a Merlin powered P-38 been produced you're looking at a whole bunch of other things that would affect operations - manual changes, part suppliers, training, etc., all time consuming.
     
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