A navalised P-38 Lightning?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Lucky13, Apr 20, 2014.

  1. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Would it have been possible?
     
  2. fubar57

    fubar57 Well-Known Member

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    "The US Navy acquired four F-5Bs from the USAAF in North Africa. They were designated FO-1 and were assigned the BuNos 01209/01212. They were operated exclusively as land- based aircraft and never from carriers. Lockheed had proposed a carrier-based version of the Lightning, the Model 822, with folding wings, arrester hooks, and a strengthened airframe. However, the Navy looked askance at such a large aircraft on its carrier decks, and they disliked liquid-cooled engines for carrier-based planes. Consequently, this project never got past the paper stage."

    From P-38s with US Navy and Foreign Air Forces

    Geo
     
  3. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Learn something new everyday.... :thumbright:
     
  4. fubar57

    fubar57 Well-Known Member

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    Moi aussi mon ami.

    Geo
     
  5. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    #5 tomo pauk, Apr 20, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2014
  6. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    How about this P-38? Sure to have a great rate of climb and superior acceleration, but not too sure about the armament suite...

    P38_Shopped.jpg
     
    • Bacon Bacon x 1
  7. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    In terms of outright size, the P-38 is no bigger than a TBF. Except when it comes to stowage.
     
  8. BiffF15

    BiffF15 Well-Known Member

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    Wuzak,

    How "did" the Navy park them on board a carrier (particularly in the hanger deck)? I would imagine there is some tail to tail with overlap, and the P-38 is considerably wider (I would think) than the TBF.

    Cheers,
    Biff
     
  9. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    It appears from pictures that they are side by side. At least on deck.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    But the P-38 would be wider with wings folded than the TDF, and that is what I meant. Taking off or landing the P-38 won't take up any more space than the TBF, but it will when it is being stored on deck or in the hangar.
     
  10. BiffF15

    BiffF15 Well-Known Member

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    Wuzak,

    I was thinking the same thing, footprint wise. The curious question I have is where was the hook going to be located?

    Cheers,
    Biff
     
  11. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    That is a good question.

    The link Tomo gave does not seem to show a hook.

    I would assume that a hook directly off the crew nacelle would not work so well?

    Perhaps a big triangular frame hung off the booms, with the hook below the horizontal stabiliser?
     
  12. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    The hook would extend down, angle against horizontal of maybe 60-70 deg, from central necelle. It is visible as a bar extending from the central nacelle to the aft side of the lowered main wheel.
     
  13. rinkol

    rinkol Member

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    #13 rinkol, Apr 21, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2014
    One of the attractions of the P-38 layout was that the booms provided space for the turbosuperchargers and intercoolers. If these are removed in accordance with US Navy practice, this advantage is lost and the decrease in performance will be significant unless a two stage mechanically driven supercharger can be installed. This pretty much rules out an early service introduction.

    From an operational perspective, for a carrier aircraft, two engines are a liability in the sense that a take-off or landing with an engine failure is likely to come to an unhappy ending. It might be added that the P-38 had a wing loading that was high compared to that of standard carrier aircraft of the time.

    In addition to the hanger storage space issue, there are maintenance issues - there are two liquid cooled engines with 24 cylinders between them. Furthermore, these engines differ substantially in construction from those used on other carrier aircraft. There would have to be compelling reasons to justify the provision of additional replacement parts, equipment and trained maintenance personnel to say nothing of the extensive modifications that would be needed to the aircraft itself.





    T
     
  14. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    #14 tomo pauk, Apr 21, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2014
    The P-38 was not using booms for inter-coolers, and the turbos themselves were pretty much 'atop' the wings. For the non-turbo P-38 to be of much use as a fighter, the intended costumer need to avoid the mistake RAF (and French) made - ordering the C-15 engines for it, instead of F3R and subsequent. The 'F' series were offering circa 10% more power under 13000 ft, and were more amenable for war emergency regime.
    It would be also good to incorporate handed engines (= left turning of the equivalent of the F3R), install 'proper', individual exhausts (instead of collector pipe) for some speed increase, extend the intake to take a form of the one used at P-40 or P-51 (for better use of ram effect), take care for balancing out the now-missing turbos (installing the Prestone coolers under/around the prop spinners? - seems like Lockheed's proposal for he USN was suggesting that). Actually, the proposal has a similar layout of cooler like the pre-P-38 had.
    An engine failure when engine quits does not seem any happier thing ;) Pilot of the S/E aircraft whose engine quits miles from carrier, due to enemy action or otherwise, can't expect much, either.
    The P-38 have had Fowler flaps, that allow for good low-speed abilities. Without turbos, it would be also much lighter, hopefully enough lighter to make out for weight gains due to now being carrier capable.

    edit: Actually, scratch that relocation of the cooling radiators, we need either less weight on front, or more aft
     
  15. VBF-13

    VBF-13 Well-Known Member

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    #15 VBF-13, Apr 22, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2014
    I'm not understanding what advantages it would bring in relationship to what the Navy already had that would make it worth trying to figure out how to fold it up and hook it and otherwise outfit it to just fit it in the elevators.
     
  16. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Assuming the USN proceeds anyway with a navalized P-38, there are several advantages vs. other CV-borne planes. Against F6F and F4U, it can be available much earlier (a major advantage). It will out-climb both. From Autumn of 1943 on, it would be able to provide a substantially better range/radius.
    Against F4F, it can offer much better speed and climb performance (despite capability to carry a more powerful gun battery), better range/radius, capability to haul a substantial bomb payload and still be pretty much immune to interception by Zero and Oscar (and earlier types). In fighter trim, it will be much faster than anything Japanese can throw in for much of a duration of ww2, especially in the earlier years.
    Lockheed's proposal included folding wings and, of course, hook.
     
  17. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Without opening a 2nd production line it is not really available at all. Not without shorting the Army.
    Lockheed made 207 P-38s in 1941, many of them not combat capable.
    Lockheed made 1479 P-38s in 1942 581 of them in last 4 months. 39% in the last 25% of the year.
    By April-May of 1943 F4U production is swapping back and forth with P-38 production.

    How long to design and tool up for folding wing?

    BTW, take off for a P-38F with a 40mph head wind was 490 ft at 15,500lbs, 700 ft at 17,500lbs and 950 ft at 19,500lbs. basic weight of an "F" was 13,000lbs. take off distances are at 0 degrees C or 32 degrees F, increase 10% for every 20 Degrees above 0C/32F or 40-50% in the tropics.

    Weight of pilot, reduced oil, 20mm ammo and under 1/2 ammo for .50 cals and 230 gals of fuel is 2049lbs.
    Weight of pilot, full oil, 20mm ammo and full ammo for .50 cals and 300 gals of fuel is 2909lbs. Best approach speed (not stall or landing speed) was 100mph at 13,500lbs. Stall speed ws 69mph at 15,000lbs.

    You can pretty much forget flying off the carrier deck without catapult with any sort of under wing load.
     
  18. BiffF15

    BiffF15 Well-Known Member

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    How would you recover a P-38 that is single engine and heavy weight (no capability to jettison internal fuel)?

    Cheers,
    Biff
     
  19. VBF-13

    VBF-13 Well-Known Member

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    That's probably why these weren't even considered in the trials. These are oddballs on carriers, everybody could see that.
     
  20. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    #20 tomo pauk, Apr 24, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2014
    A monoplane carrier-borne aircraft were looking as an oddball, until the people really tried it. So did the 2-engined jobs, until tried. Heck, all aircraft were looked upon as oddballs prior ww1, let alone naval A/C.

    Yep, the production of the P-38s only really hit the stride after there was no that much need for them, like in 1944/45.

    The proposal was dated as of 1937. Should be tested by 1939 if the Navy wants it?

    For a take off weight of 32000 lbs, the B-25 was supposed to use 1400 ft of runaway at 40 mph headwind, 0 deg C; at 28000 lbs, it was 1000 ft. The Doolittle raiders weighted 31000 lbs, yet managed to take off at under 500 ft of the deck space. No assist used.

    BiffF15 said:

    The P-38 didn't have problems flying on one engine. Fly around until you've used up the fuel and then land.
     
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