Merlin or Griffon powered M.B.3

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by wuzak, May 25, 2013.

  1. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Historically, the Martin-Baker M.B.3 was a Sabre powered fighter. It was to be fitted with 6 x 20mm cannon in the wings, but in the event none were fitted.

    Three prototypes were ordered in 1940, but the first didn't fly until 1942. No performance measurements were taken before the first prototype crashed (after engine failure), killing its pilot and co-creator, Val Baker.

    Maximum speed was said to be around 430mph.

    The second and third prototypes were not completed, though one of them may have served as the basis for the M.B.5 prototype.

    According to Buttler, British Experimental Combat Aircraft of World War II, Martin-Baker preferred Rolls-Royce engines and wanted the Griffon to power the M.B.3. However, the Griffon had yet to be test flown so could not be considered. So in the mean time the Merlin was to be substituted, and three Merlin Xs were ordered from Rolls-Royce. Later, three Griffons were also ordered.

    For an unknown reason the M.B.3 ended up with the Sabre.

    What if the Merlin X was fitted to the M.B.3? Could it have matched or exceeded the Spitfire's performance? Or at least bridges the performance gap between the Hurricane and Spitfire?

    Since the Griffon was the preferred engine, I would imagine that the Merlin would have been replaced when the Griffon became available. That scould have provided decent performance, and may have formed the basis of an earlier M.B.5.

    Martin-Baker were slow getting the M.B.3 to the prototype stage, primarily because they did a lot of urgent conversion and design work for other manufacturers. But if it could have been brought to the prototype stage earlier, it may have been able to be put into production quickly, since it used "simple" steel construction - just like the Hurricane!
     
  2. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    I think a Merlin powered version wouldn't have enough power. The MB 3 while a bit smaller/lighter than the Typhoon was still a large/heavier plane than a Spitfire. In 1942 even with a two stage Merlin you don't have the high boost pressures yet so power compared to the Sabre will be much lower.
    If you get it into production before 1942 what kind of Merlin are you using?
     
  3. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    I was thinking that the M.B.3 would have been somewhat lighter if built around the Merlin or Griffon.

    As the Merlins delivered were Xs, I assume production versions would have started with XXs, moving to the Griffon II early on.
     
  4. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    In 1942, the Sabre too is limited to +7psi, IIRC - about the same situation as with 2-stage Merlin.

    If the resulting plane can best Spitfire in some categories (armament - 4 cannons from get go, more ammunition, better range, roll rate etc) - then I'm all for it. Judging from the plane's size, it would indeed need Griffon or two-stage Merlin to compete. On the other hand, it looks to me that, in MB-3, the British have had the Tempest equivalent a full year ahead, but unfortunately passed on it?
     
  5. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Some in the AM/MAP thought that it gave no advantage to the Typhoon.
     
  6. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    I was reading an modern opinion from a British person, where he states that it was pretty hard for an outsider to sell his stuff to RAF. Eg. MB would be passed in favor of Hawker, Supermarine, Westland etc. Same thing being the reason why Fairey would receive no funding for it's engines, situation compounded by Fairey's license production of the Curtiss D-12 engine.

    Without firm data about real performance, fuel tankage, maneuverability etc. (so the realistic comparison can be made), it is hard to conclude whether it was just an opinion, or truth that MB-3 offered no advantage over Typhoon.
     
  7. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    Is it just me or does the MB3 tail look completely wrong. Far too much rudder and not enough stabiliser.


    800px-Martin-Baker_MB.3.svg.png
     
  8. Aozora

    Aozora Well-Known Member

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    That seemed to be a blind spot in Martin Baker's designs; the MB2 had a deep rear fuselage in the hope that this would provide enough of a lateral surface in place of a tailfin and decent rudder

    [​IMG]

    The A&AEE flight test report (Martlesham Heath December 1938 ) said:

    [​IMG]

    With the new fin and rudder unit (July 1939)
    The MB5 also needed an enlarged fin and rudder unit because on the first few flights it was noted that directional stability needed improvement.
     
  9. krieghund

    krieghund Member

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    I think the historical route was correct to move to the MB5 and the Griffon
     

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  10. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Great plane, but too late into fray.

    One wonders how much of fuel could be stuffed between engine and pilot of the MB-3?

    sabres.JPG
     
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