Design a USN 2-Seat multirole fighter for service in 1940

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by oldcrowcv63, Aug 7, 2012.

  1. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #1 oldcrowcv63, Aug 7, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012
    Rear Admiral E.J. King, wakes up on June 12, 1936 on his last day as Chief of BuAer and discovers to his chargrin that he has been the subject of Admiralty Mind Control Experiments similar to those performed on Englishman by the sentient blamonges from Planet Skyron in the Andromeda galaxy in order to win wimbledon fortnight. King's thinking is now governed by RN/FAA philosophy. He calls his aide and orders him to generate a request sent to american aircraft companies and the the NAF Warminster facility to submit proposals for a two-seat multirole carrier fighter.

    What would be the result assuming his immediate institutionalization (ordered by the USN heirarchy) does not abort the effort. (This scenario is historically accurate and is the source of King's well know anglo-phobia)

    Just curious what you wags think such an aircraft might resemble and how it might compare to the Fairey Fulmar.

    Tomo, this is one for you!

    My own vision is that of a Brewster Buccaneer-like fighter bomber (~ SBA-1) the mere sight of which would clear the skies of all opposition due to uncontrollable spasms of hilarity. But I wonder what Grumman would have done starting with its prior experience with the 2 seat FF-1 fighter.
     

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  2. RCAFson

    RCAFson Well-Known Member

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    The big problem is finding a suitable 1200hp or more class of engine in 1940. The Merlin VIII had a combat rating of 1275hp in April 1940, when the Fulmar I went into series production.
     
  3. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Why not a twin engine? You could make a smaller version of the F7F powered by a pair of R1830 engines.
     
  4. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #4 oldcrowcv63, Aug 7, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012
    That would be a revolutionary approach for the time and very non-traditional (remember, he is being thought controlled by the RN :twisted: ) (Before the deluge of protests arrive about the comparative innovative mind set of the RN-FAA, it's been my experience that the USN, on occasion, could teach the RN a thing or two about hide-bound thinking) OTOH, with the USN's big deck carriers, it might be a suitable tack. Grumman's XF5F might be a protoype of such an aircraft, but with a first flight on 1 April 1940 seems a bit late to serve as a solution
     
  5. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    The USA did lots of things different from other nations.
    .....Mass produced an expensive semi automatic rifle for infantry use. Other nations kept using bolt action rifles until an inexpensive semi / full auto rifle was ready for production.
    .....Infantry .30cal MGs were updated WWI models. Most other nations introduced modern LMGs during the 1930s.
    .....Built a working atomic bomb. Several other nations investigated the possibility but gave up when they realized how much it would cost.
    .....Failed to build a reliable 20mm aircraft cannon. Most other nations had one by 1941.
    .....The USA built fighter aircraft such as the P-47 and P-38 which were twice as heavy and twice as expensive as fighter aircraft produced by other nations.
    .....The USA had the worst torpedos in the world.
    .....The U.S. Army had essentially no CAS capability until the final year of the war. Nothing comparable to German Ju-87, Soviet Il-2, RAF Hurricane Mk IIC etc.

    Doing things our own way is an American tradition. I see no reason we shouldn't build a large twin engine fighter aircraft during the 1930s to take advantage of those giant (for 1930s) Lexington class aircraft carriers.
     
  6. RCAFson

    RCAFson Well-Known Member

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    I don't want to bring the thread OT, so I hope this doesn't cause a lot of replys.

    The A bomb project started in the UK and Canada with the code name "Tube Alloys", and they turned over all their research to the US and ended development in 1941, AFAIK, because the US promised to share their research and production...

    Tube Alloys - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  7. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Oh boy here we go...
     
  8. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Tell it to Oppenheimer - get back on track. We'll give Canada it's due if it makes you feel better....

    For the rest of you - this isn't USA aganist the world. Stay on topic.
     
  9. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    Old crow Intersting topic, and i have a pretty fair idea what your motivation is for the thread. What would motivate the US to move in this direction. Multi-seat fighter had advantages and suited the RN situation, but not so much the USN situation. Im at a loss as to why they might ever think they needed such a beast....
     
  10. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #10 oldcrowcv63, Aug 8, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2012
    Of course, the subject was inspired by posts on the Buffalo thread and I believe you are correct: I can think of no reason the USN would move in this direction, hence the (meant to be) tongue-in-cheek intro. I just thought it was an interesting question of technology. RCAFson's engine comment seems to me very much to the point, although I would think a 1,000 hp class engine might serve to produce something marginally viable. I am kind of surprised no one has yet suggested an SBD variant as a candidate since there was evidently a feeling in the USN in 1941-2 that they made a viable surrogate fighter under certain circumstances.

    Thinking of Grumman, Douglas and perhaps Vought as the best contenders for something workable. None of what I can envision has the look of a multirole fighter. I suppose the Fulmar has the look of a fighter because of the aerodynamic lines its in-line engine allows. To me, F2A and F4F look like fighters. SBD, SBA/SBN and TBD do not. I can't envision a design to achieve a fusion (although the SB2U may contain a hint of one in its long lines). I wondered if anyone else could.
     
  11. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Something that is rarely mentioned (and may not be true?) about the Fulmar is that the second seater operated the radio gear. Not that that in itself is a big deal but part of the radio gear was the ability to home in on a beacon from the carrier. Depending on the exact year and state of the art of a particular countries radio gear this may have required somebody besides the pilot to operate it. Just as in the late 30s long range radio usually required the use of code and not voice. For the same power transmitter code radio range was 2-3 times longer than voice radio. Trying to use a Morse key while one hand is on the stick might be a bit difficult ;)
     
  12. krieghund

    krieghund Member

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    I would put forth a two seat version of the Grumman XF5F (XP-50) to meet this requirement.
     

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  13. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    #13 FLYBOYJ, Aug 8, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2012
    Not really - if the plane is trimmed for level flight in cruise with little turbulence, this can be easily done - HOWEVER

    As we know the radio transmitter and receivers of the day were large and bulky. If I remember correctly VLF to LF units were used and were sometimes hard to tune so it made perfect sense to add another crew position to work the radio.

    Here's an interesting article on the Zero's radio

    Radio Systems in the Early A6M Zero
     
  14. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    That's more or less what I had in mind. There's no reason the USN requirement couldn't be issued a year or two earlier so the fighter aircraft would be in service during 1940.
     
  15. RCAFson

    RCAFson Well-Known Member

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    The USN's SBD was kinda, sorta, similar in it's capabilities and was used as an ersatz fighter on numerous occasions. It is an interesting "what if" to have the USN build the Fulmar instead of the SBD.

    Fulmar II-SBD-6 scout (this was the best performing SBD with 1300hp at the military rating).

    introduced/Wing span/Length/Folded width/weight/max [email protected]**/Max Speed/time to 10,000ft/armament/bombs*/USG
    Jan [email protected][email protected]/5.8-6.9/8x.303-2x.5/500-1600/186-284

    The above performance data is at the 5min or military rating with full ammo but no bombs. With the normal rating time to 10000ft/20000ft = 7.1-7.4/20-18.1
    * typical bomb load for SBD-3 was 1 x 1000lb or 1 x 500 and 1 x 112lb, max bomb load for the Fulmar was 500lb but theoretically it was 1 x 500 and 2 x 250lb.
    ** SBD-6 max speed with all external bomb racks and aerials removed was 257mph at SL and 273mph at 15600ft. The SBD-6 was the only variant with a military engine rating, according to the SAC data sheets.

    The Fulmar typically has a lower bomb load, and probably lower accuracy while dive bombing, but much more fire power. With a 1200hp engine, SBD "clean" performance in late 1941 would have been similar to the Fulmar.
    Fulmar data from various sources, SBD-6 = SAC data
     
  16. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    SBD aerial performance was similiar to the Ju-87. Admiral King would need to be taking hallucinogenic drugs to confuse these dive bombers with fighter aircraft.
     
  17. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    Ju 87 handled porly, and had little or no forward firing armament in 1940. Are there any instances of the Stuka being used as a fighter. are there any recorded instances of the Dauntless being used as a fighter?.
     
  18. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Stanley W. Vejtasa


    At 11:14 a.m., Vejtasa's six planes were jumped by twelve Zeros. Two Dauntlesses fell flaming into the water. Vejtasa managed to escape the first attack and yelled to his radio man: "Son, we're in for a scrap. Keep your head and conserve your ammunition.... I'll take care of the rest."

    As the Zeros closed in again, Swede Vejtasa fought with the skill of a born fighter pilot. His rear gunner kept the swift Zeros off his flanks, while Vejtasa calmly leveled his sights at the Japanese fighters coming head on for the steady Dauntless. Again and again--three times--he maneuvered the scout bomber so that its two forward-firing guns ripped into a Zero. Three times a surprised Japanese pilot found himself spinning into the Coral Sea.

    Another Dauntless pilot was proving he could handle the Zero too. Lieutenant John Leppla who, with his gunner D. K. Liska, had flamed four Japanese planes the day before during the bombing attack on the carrier Shoho, now put his newfound talent to work again. Without hesitation, Leppla sent his Dauntless plunging into the deadly enemy torpedo planes heading for the Lexington. Not only did Leppla send three of these Japanese bombers careening into the water below, he also saved the life of a fellow Dauntless pilot by a daring attack on a Zero, about to shoot down the American. (Later Commander Flatley picked outstanding bomber pilots like Swede Vejtasa and John Leppla, to form his new fighter group, which would be named the "Grim Reapers.")


    Battle of the Coral Sea, Lt. James Flatley, Lt. Noel Gayler, Comm. Bob Dixon, Lt. Stanley "Swede" Vejtasa, Lt. John Leppla
     
  19. RCAFson

    RCAFson Well-Known Member

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    Ju-87s were used as fighters against FAA Albacores during the Raid on Kirkenes and Petsamo. I don`t know if the Ju-87s made any kills, but I do know that an Albacore made a front gun kill on a Ju-87...

    The SBD was used as low altitude fighter in May 1942:
    in much the same manner as the Fulmar was used in June and August 1942 in the Med, where it was used at low altitude to break up torpedo bomber attacks and to pick off cripples.
     
  20. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    If the Americans felt they had any need for an aircraft of this type, the SBD was their best bet. It needed a heavier forward firing armement, somehow a lightened airframe, probably a reduced bombload, and if at all possible more engine power. They needed to get the fully loaded airspeed up to about 280-300 mph to make a difference.

    Whilst not as good as the F4F, one can envisage SBD being bomb armed and left to take care of themselves when delivering a strike. An SBD with a top speed of say 290mph and 4 or so 0.5" HMGs plus a rear gunner is going to be a difficult beast to bring down
     
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