Feasibility of interwar 2,000 lb. armed FAA dive bomber

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Airman 1st Class
Aug 3, 2021
Calgary, AB, CA
I think we’re too early for the Hercules to have the aircraft in service before WW2. Though the Hercules engine was first run in 1936 so the pre-war aircraft could be “designed-for-but-not-with” the Hercules. Settle for a smaller engine until the Hercules is ready.

I‘d stay away from the dual role combo DB with torpedoes, instead we’re looking for an early British Val or SBD. No one is dive bombing with a Mosquito, but a CV-capable, folding wing twin DB could be doable. It will need to be narrow to fit down the 22ft wide lifts. But has there been any twin DB capable of near 90 degree dives like we’re looking for here?
Ju.88, Me.210/410 and Pe.2 were all DB twins capable of near 90* dives.

CV-capable folding wing plane is very tough on 22' lift. Westland Whirlwind has engine center lines 12' 9" apart and 10' diameter 3 blade propellers adding minimum 2' 6" to either side which gets you to 17' 9". About the same as the historical Fulmar; you do need a wing with >50% additional area compared to the Fulmar to get landing and take-off speeds down to carrier acceptable levels. And you need a solution to provide single engine control at those speeds but no over control at higher speeds - Grumman Tracker does it by having 2 piece rudder - both pieces move when landing gear is down, only rear section at higher speeds.

A twin boom fuselage e.g. F-82/Me.109Z-1 would allow you to shave a couple feet off that, but it makes for a challenge to construct tail plane strong enough for arresting gear - the Fw.189 had central tail wheel, so possible but the structure is going to add weight.

If it has to a twin, I would go for Arsenal VB-10/Ki-64 (but forget evaporative cooling) design with pair of Kestrels to start - view over the cowl as good as any inline engine plane. Yes, you will need a fancy new gear box on the front engine and blank plate aka P-39 on rear, but in theory, you can start early enough ('35/'36) to have the kinks worked out of it by '39. P-75 Eagle / Bugatti 100 are other alternatives on the theme.

Corrected my sin/cos use error...
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Staff Sergeant
Sep 2, 2010
I was thinking what if the Vengeance had come along a couple years earlier but after reading up on it, it doesnt look like a very good candidate for carrier ops due to its long nose. I dont think any variants had folding wings and it had a <2k lb. bomb load.

Vultee Vengeance (1).jpg

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