British ask NAA to produce something other than P-40's under license

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by gjs238, Jun 12, 2012.

  1. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    Historically, the British Purchasing Commission asked North American Aviation to produce P-40's under license.
    NAA offered the P-51.

    But could things have transpired differently?
    If NAA had to tool up to produce P-40's, or P-51's, then would they not be just as capable of tooling up to produce something else?

    What else would have been feasible, and hopefully very beneficial to the allied war effort, for NAA to produce?
     
  2. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    I would think that the only choice would be Spitfires - but with Allison engines, until PAckard comes online with Merlins.
     
  3. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    #3 Shortround6, Jun 12, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2012
    In the Spring/summer of 1940?

    I am not sure when the US Government threw in the requirement that the planes built for foreign governments had to be US types. The Lockheed Hudson was ordered in 1938 before this became policy as was the Martin Maryland orders.

    If you are looking for usable US fighters in the summer of 1940 the pickings are pretty thin.


    At some point in 1940 the US government would not allow US air craft companies to build British designs. The US had gotten burned in WW I with too many factories tooled up to build foreign weapons the US army didn't want and too little factory capacity for weapons the US army did want. The US Government refused to consider building any British tank designs and the furthest they would bend was a different turret on the M3 Grant, primarily to mount the radio in the turret instead of the hull. I imagine the same held true for aircraft.
     
  4. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    #4 wuzak, Jun 12, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2012
    The P-38 was not ready for production, so it can be counted out.

    The RAF would still be getting P-40s from Curtiss - so I would assume they would still have the requirement for the commonality of engines, so the Lightning I's performance would still be poor.

    Not sure where the P-39 was in terms of production, but the British didn't like that anyway.

    Were P-36s still being made - certainly they were for teh French and British for a while, but did production continue after the P-40 came on-line?

    P-35s? Would they be of any use to the British?

    Maybe P-43s?
     
  5. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    How did the P-51 slip by if it was not a US type at the time?
    Also, Merlin was not a US type.

    As pointed out in other threads, there was an advantage to the US to build Merlins.
    Perhaps such an advantage would have been perceived for Spitfires?
     
  6. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    The main advantage of US built Merlins was having more of them available.
     
  7. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    How I interpreted some of the other discussions was that there was an advantage to the US having a 2nd domestically produced inline engine available.
    The Merlin was a proven commodity, the V-1710 was not.
     
  8. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, I misinterpreted what you were saying.

    Indeed, it was advantageous for the US to have Merlins built in the US.

    From the British perspective it was advantageous to have more available.
     
  9. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    #9 Shortround6, Jun 13, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2012
    If the US Could/would use a British design then approval would be given. Deal with the Merlins was that from the START 1/3 would be used for US planes even though they had no idea which planes they would go in. Please remember that at the time of the deal the Allison in production was the 1040HP "C" model. The 1150hp E F models were still almost a year away from production. One US General called the Merlin "obsolete" and wondered why the US agreed to the deal :)


    They had to get approval for the P-51 and I believe the contract stated that the 4th and 10th aircraft would go to the US Army for testing.
    Army was miffed enough at the P-51 that testing was done late (planes sat on airfields for weeks) and sporadically. Treatment of a totally foreign design would be less than stellar.


    The Spitfire did not have the Range to meet US requirements. One reason the US fighters were so big was range. even the P-39 started with 200 gallons internal which soon dropped to 170, it became 120 with the self sealing tanks. A squadron of Spitfires may have required 30-50% more fuel stops on a coast to coast flight than a squadron of P-40s. Even a better fighter does no good if it is being refueled 1-2 fuel stops away from where the fighting is. US still be concerned with self defense at the time. The Spitfire was also not built to the US standards of Structural strength. It was not stressed to the same ultimate "G" loading. Now that requirement could latter be shown to be a bit too extreme, The P-51H being built closer to the British load limit than the P-51D but it would have needed to be waved or the Spitfire restressed to meet US requirements (with the weight gain).
     
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