Airplanes for FAA, 1943-44

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by tomo pauk, Apr 17, 2012.

  1. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    What kinds of planes would you like to see on board of the RN carriers, in service from early 1943 - late '44 ? Not LL stuff (not even the LL engines, nor armament to be used), but something that UK industry was capable to produce for that time frame. From fighters to bombers, toss your ideas :)
     
  2. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Replace .50cal MGs with 20mm cannon and the F4U is as good as they get for a WWII era CV based fighter aircraft.

    Unfortunately the RN cannot make full use of the TBF torpedo bomber as the bomb bay will not accept standard 18" aerial torpedoes. So that's where the design effort should go. The Stringbag was obsolete by 1939 (when Japan introduced the B5N) so a new British torpedo bomber is long overdue.

    The B5N was pretty good so I'd be tempted to copy it. You will need a lightweight British radial engine ILO the Nakajima radial engine. With a bit more hp you could also include some armor protection.
     
  3. PJay

    PJay Member

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    I guess the Typhoon/Tempest could be navalised.
    I'd like the idea of a Sea Mosquito but I don't know if wooden aircraft do well at sea, and even with folding wings they'd take up a lot of space.
    The Barracuda was less than optimal.
     
  4. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    The low-risk approach would be a Merlin-based fighter (though I'd really like to see a Hercules-based fighter), 4 cannons, circa 150 gals of fuel, inward retracting U/C. The attack plane could be designed around a bomb bay, to feature Hercules, 2 wing cannons, 2 x .303 back.
    A high-risk approach could involve Griffon and/or Sabre, the rest about the same.
     
  5. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Are you planning to use this aircraft during WWII? If so then both engines are bad choices as both were in short supply. Ironically even the RR Merlin was in short supply, requiring Britain to obtain thousands from Packard.

    If you are going to import the engine, aluminum for the airframe and high octane aviation gasoline then why not just import a F4U?
     
  6. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    F4U and other LL planes would be acquired as they were historically.
    The UK was still producing planes for FAA. My intention being to check out what the people here think about the best stuff that might've been built, for the specified era.
     
  7. RCAFson

    RCAFson Well-Known Member

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    Yet better than anything else available at the time.
     
  8. RCAFson

    RCAFson Well-Known Member

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    It seems likely that the Seafire XV and Barracuda V could have been available much earlier if the FAA was given priority for Griffon engine development and deliveries, however Spitfire XIV development might have suffered as a result.
     
  9. Kryten

    Kryten Member

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    A Navalised typhoon, usure if you could achieve take off speed off a deck though?
     
  10. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Good luck getting PM Churchill to sign that document. I suspect FAA priority was so low they would have trouble obtaining Packard built Merlin engines.
     
  11. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    150 gallons is too little fuel for a strike aircraft. Barracudas had two 90 gallon tanks and most had an extra pair of 24 gallon tanks for up to 228 Imp gallons internal (in the wings).

    Fairey Fireflys were in production (first delivered) in March of 1943 built to a 1939 specification that was revised in 1940, first prototype flew in Dec 1941. Used Griffon engines. No bomb bay but????

    Hercules may be too low powered for a strike aircraft or even a fighter. Unless the British can figure the low drag cowing out sooner what ever extra power it may have may be used up fighting the extra drag. Please remember that it is about 10% smaller in displacement than the Wright R-2600 and the sleeve valves can only make up for so much.
     
  12. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Well, Hercules is a low-risk part; the issue with low-risk engines is usually that power delivered is not world beating. The 1570-1770 HP versions would be as good as pre-1944 R-2600s for powering a strike plane. Agree that UK had better fighter engines, though.
    The 150 imp gals is a figure for a fighter, not for a strike aircraft.
    Perhaps it was too bad that Firefly did not featured at least a hull recess, so the torpedo could be nested there.
     
  13. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    I don't have my books with me at the moment so Iam not sure when the 1770hp Hercules shows up. If you are at 1600hp or under things don't look so good.
    While 150 gallons is better than a Seafire or Sea Hurricane it is a small amount compared to the American fighters. It is one thing to adapt existing fighters. It is another to design a second rate fighter just to use British parts when 1st class fighters already exist and are available. If the British are going to make their own planes and not use the LL planes then the Britsh planes should be as close to 1st class as they can get.
     
  14. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Recently read a book entitled "Flying the Edge," not a great read but went into a lot of detail about the USN testing a converted British landbased trainer called the Hawk which the Navy wanted to adopt where it would be the T45A Goshawk. A lot more to it than meets the eye. That program turned out to be a costly mess. Converting a landbased plane to a ship board plane seldom works out well. A lot easier to take a successful ship board AC, (like the F4U or F4 Phantom) and adapt it for landbased use.
     
  15. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Hi, SR6,
    I've covered that: "A high-risk approach could involve Griffon and/or Sabre"

    Again, no risk, no (high) power :)
    1600 HP was available as early as late 1941, the Barracuda-sized plane should have no problems to perform. The Fairey-Youngman flaps should help.

    A Merlin-engined fighter with 150 imp gals (~180 US gals) would have range (on internal fuel only) something in between the late F4U and F8F, the engine is far less thirsty. The resulting plane can be of such a size weight to allow for a great climb, speed range figures.
    The Griffon/Sabre engined planes would be, indeed, better off with maybe 200 imp gals.
     
  16. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Take a look at the Barracuda. After the first 30 they had the Merlin 32 engine with 1640hp. It is not just peak power that went up. The Merlin 32 could use About 3lbs more boost in climb and max continuous than the Merlin 30 and even more boost at Max lean I think? The pilots notes are available on this site. The Hercules may offer the 1600 HP sooner but it may have more drag Than the Merlin on the Barracuda. The Barracuda took a long time to get into service. I don't know if it was that troublesome or if the British were just suffering from a shortage of engineers and draftsmen that slowed a lot of projects.

    As for range on 180 US gallons of fuel, while the Mustang did fine many other aircraft didn't do so well. See range of P-40 with about 150 gallons. F4F was pretty short ranged also.
    What is the "payload" of your proposed fighter? Guns,ammo, fuel, armor, radios, etc. On limited power (1600hp vs 2000hp) something has to give. If you want range then the guns and ammo will be proportionately less. If you want the guns and ammo then the range suffers. or you can have guns ammo AND range but speed and climb are less than what is wanted.
    The inline engines offer some hope of trading lower drag for performance ( including cruise) compared to the big radial engine fighters. The Hercules installations do not offer that option until much later in the war or post war.
    Remember that the P-36 had 22% more drag than a P-40? Even if the British get the Hercules down to 14% more than the Merlin that is still 224hp more going to drag out of 1600 HP total. even 11% is 176hp.
     
  17. RCAFson

    RCAFson Well-Known Member

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    Barracuda I first production = 18 May 1942, and first prototype Mk II = 17 Aug 1942, first production Mk II = late 1942. It would seem to me that the Mk II was mainly delayed waiting for the Merlin 32 since it must have been obvious to all and sundry that the Merlin 30 didn't have enough TO power. Yet, the Griffon engine was already producing more power at SL (griffon II = 1720hp/griffon VI = 1820hp) than the Merlin 32, but it was being fitted into the Spitfire XII, which is ironic, since, IIRC, the Griffon was originally funded by the RN.

    Ideally the FAA could have had the Firefly FR4 and Barracuda V in service by 1943 and the Seafire XV by 1944, and the Firefly I/Barracuda I somewhat sooner than historically, and the Barracuda I could have had a 16lb boost engine (merlin 45M?), instead of the 18lb Merlin 32. The Firefly FR4 would have been a ~370 mph strike fighter capable of dealing with most potential threats.
     
  18. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    I'm not championing, not even proposing the Barracuda - I'm only stating it as a size reference. The Hercules is indeed draggier than Merlin, but would it be such an issue for the strike aircraft? After 1570-1600 HP, Hercules goes to 1670, than to (1944?) 1770 HP - most R-2600 in USN and all for the USAAF service, prior late 1944, were in the ballpark.
    The radials ought to have more drag, yet we are building a plane around a bomb bay (sized as Avenger's, perhaps). So we end up less draggy than Barracuda, when carrying payload. The inline -engined plane can also have the bomb bay, yet the plane gets 'pregnant' for having the bomb bay of the same size, further diminishing the drag advantage it has.

    30 gals more means 20% more in this case, vs. the P-40. The plane should be more aerodynamically efficient, being newer design. F4F was carrying 144-147 US gals, so it's a difference of more than 20%. The Bearcat carried 185 US gals, feeding a thirstier engine - we're besting it.

    So the 'low risk' fighter encounters the same issues other CV-capable planes were facing - if one wants performance, scarifies 'usability', or vice-versa. Or, he builds a 'high-risk' plane, thus reducing the effect of trade-offs, while hoping that his new plane doesn't make a flop.
    Anyway, the Merlin-engined plane would feature 3 fuel tanks (70 gals hull, 2 x 40 wing roots), inward-retracting U/C, cannon ammo taking place outboard of wing tanks U/C attachment point. 130-140 rpg, or maybe 120 for outer pair, 150 for inner pair of cannons. Two drop tanks. The retractable Fairey-Youngman flaps. I'd give in some RoC here; capable, with 2-stage Merlin same settings, to climb as good as Merlin Mustang.

    Now it's your turn to propose Griffon/Sabre planes (or whatever you fancy following the 1st post here) :)
     
  19. yulzari

    yulzari Active Member

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    It may be worth recalling that the Griffon was designed in 1938 at the request of the Royal Navy for their use and first ran in 1939 so it is not unreasonable to have the Fleet Air Arm retain priority for production.

    If development had not been delayed, by attention to the Vulture, then it is not unreasonable to expect 1944 Griffons to be @2,000bhp at low level. At the same time the Firefly was going into production.

    Do we think that it could have carried an @725kg 18" torpedo? If so, could we then suggest the Fleet Air Arm standardise on purely Fireflies (except for Martlets and Swordfish for the smallest carriers)? I imagine we should add an ability to use Highball as well.
     
  20. merlin

    merlin Member

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    I think an earlier change - with a Hercules fighter (P.88a), which as the engine gets better gets fighter-bomber capability, Sea Henley FDB = no Fulmar/Firefly. Hercules fighter replaced by a centaurus engined fighter, and the Fairey Spearfish arrives earlier, though Fairey had several designs of 'strike' aircraft which could have been interesting.
     
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