P-40 vs. M.S. 406

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Clay_Allison, Dec 7, 2009.

  1. Clay_Allison

    Clay_Allison Active Member

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    My question basically is: if the M.S. 406 had been allowed time to reach its' developmental potential, would it have been better in 1944 than the P-40?
     
  2. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Same generation of aircraft. Prefer the P40, better track record. But, the MS was probably lighter. Not sure there was an a lot of development potential in either airframe. Neither one was a Spitfire/Me109. Good designs, but not great.
     
  3. Jerry W. Loper

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    The MS.406 was a small airframe that IMO would have been hard to keep competitive into 1944. In 1944, a souped up P-40 (the XP-40Q prototype) had a speed of 422 m.p.h. and a ceiling of 39,000 feet, though its range was so-so and it only had four .50-caliber guns, an overall performance that was a bit shy of the latest P-47s and P-51s, thus not justifying continued production. Somehow I doubt that the MS.406 could have been "stretched" that far.
     
  4. Clay_Allison

    Clay_Allison Active Member

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    I'm interested by what could have been done with a 1500 horsepower Hispano-Suiza 12Z, considering that represents nearly twice the horsepower. Certainly the frame would have to be beefed up tremendously, but that's a huge power plant on a small body. No idea if it could work, but that's the reason I started the thread.
     
  5. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    #5 tomo pauk, Dec 7, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2009
    Actually, the P-36 would be contemporary of MS-406.
    The P-36/Hawk 75 did performed with distinction during Battle of France, the MS-406 did not. Despite the fact that 406 was introduced earlier (so pilots known their mount), had a cannon extra, while weight power being about the same.

    The Finnish Morko Morane (1100 HP aboard) was slower then the P-40 with engines of about the same power and as fast as D-520 with circa 200 HP less. So I agree about "good, not great" words by timshatz. Perhaps MS-406 would seek to drive the fight into turning one, while P-40 would use the B'n'Z tactic.
     
  6. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    they would have been better off with the Dewoitine D 520.

    the MS 406 had already passed it's development potential when the D 520 was chosen over the MS 450.


    Morane-Saulnier M.S.450 - fighter

    or: Morane-Saulnier M.S.412 (D-3801) - fighter

    It also depends on what your own preferences are. the French fighter/s will never carry the weight of armament that the P-40 will, either in guns or bombs. Might not have the range of the P-40 but might have better speed and climb at 20,000ft and above depending on if the HS 12Z performs as advertised and you stick with single stage Allison powerd P-40s.
     
  7. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    With a major redesign (mostly to make the front of the plane less draggy) and beefing up the construction (some 200kg perhaps, plus 200kg for a more powerful engine accesories), the empty weight would go up to 2300kg. The resulting plane would've weighted something like Bf-109F4s and Spit V, with more power then 109F4 and about the same as Spit V. The wing area would be slightly greater then for 109F, and smaller then clipped wing of Spit.

    So, if the French would've managed to 'iron out' the draggy parts and install the 1500HP engine, the plane would be a tough competitor even for the 109F4. But, more likely the performance would've been somewhere the late P-40 and Spit V.
     
  8. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    IMHO P-40 was better.
    IIRC the last Swiss production version was D-3802, there is an article in one old AE?, but I don’t have time to dig it out, the engine was 1250hp H-S 12Y-52.

    The Finnish “stretch” was Mörkö-Morane, engine was war-booty 1100hp Klimov M-105P. Nose cannon was MG 151/20 in place of 20mm Hispano. Max speed was 490-510km/h, varied from plane to plane, max climb c. 17m/s. As Tomo wrote the forte of MS 406 was its turning ability.

    Juha
     
  9. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    I was thinking along the same lines as Shortround6

    It was weakly armed, even with the 20mm cannon, to stay (well actually - become) competitive, that would definitely need to be improved.

    The HS 12Y-series wasn't exactly small, in fact it's a wonder it actually went in to such a diminutive fighter, at 36 litres, the V12 was bigger than most of its contemporaries in other airforces. Supercharging and induction however, were not on a par with either Rolls-Royce or Daimler-Benz. It wasn't the lack of development potential, Klimov proved that with the VK-105 (a Soviet-developed HS 12Y-series).

    Combining both Tim's and SR6's points
    the Armee de l'air had in the D520 and the MS406 their own Spitfire and Hurricane; the D520 just looked to have more stretch in the original design analogous with the Spitfire whilst the MS406 was outclassed in most flight regimes at the outbreak of hostilities - their Hurricane.
     
  10. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    THere was a lack of development potential in the 12Y series. While the INSIDE of a 12Y was large the outside wasn't any bigger than Merlin, the same width (give or take a fraction) and a little less hight. it was longer though.
    It was also several hundred pounds lighter which was it's advantage in 1938-39 and it's disadvantage after that. It simply couldn't stand up to either higher cylinder pressures (more boost) or increase RPM. While it might have 33% more displacement most the Y series topped out at 2400rpm, only 80% of the RPM. Couple that with the 6 blow through carburators ( no evaperative cooling of the intake charge) and a few other things ( 2valve heads and questionable porting) and it is no wonder that the Russians developed the VK-105, the Hispano company moved on to the "Z" series and even the Swiss modified things with the post war engines built by Saurer.
    Please note that the "developed" engines used either 3 valve or 4 valve heads, in the latter case the intakes were move to the inside of the "V", heavier crank shafts and some other modifications. :)
     
  11. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    I am pretty sure the French were planning to phase out the MS 406 after 1940, as aircraft like the D520 and the MB 157 showed a great deal more promise . The MB 157 would easily have been the fastest fighter in the first half of the war, with a top speed in excess of 441 mph.

    I think it significant that the Vichy air force had very few Moranes on strength after the surrender
     
  12. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    Returning to the original question
    it wouldn't have been difficult to have been better than the P-40 in 1944; the P-40N was the best that Curtiss-Wright could muster in that year and it was hopelessly outclassed by the then-current fighters of the Luftwaffe and the IJN/IJA. Even a B-29 was as fast as a P-40N and at a far more useful altitude.

    Whatever 'development' the 12Y-series underwent as the Klimov, it was development nonetheless; the problems with the MS406 were as much political as technical, the lethargic pace of development (which lagged other European powers) was as much due to the nationalisation program of the French aviation industry.

    That said, it looks doubtful that it was ever going to stretch beyond 1,300hp so would not have made the MS406 a survivable platform in 1944. To have seen it soldiering on in that year would have drawn familiar parallels with the P-40; dirty airframe (by 1944 standards), an underperforming powerplant and largely excluded from the party in the ETO.
     
  13. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    I have dug out the old AE article on the MS406 and the figures they give for the Swiss D-3801 and Finnish Morko Moraanis are similar.
    Swiss D-3801
    Max speed 325mph, loaded weight 5,765lb climb to 16,405ft 5.4 mins.

    Morko Moraani
    Max speed 326mph, initial climb 4,921ft/min max ceiling 39,370ft.

    Note on the guns in the Morko. It was planned to install the 23mm VYa cannon, then it was decided to install the Mg151 20mm, but due to COG problems with the larger engine they were fitted with 12.7mm UB machine gun instead.
     
  14. Timppa

    Timppa Active Member

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    #14 Timppa, Dec 8, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2009
    AFAIK the center gun was planned from the start (and equipped) with the MG151/20.
    It was called Mörkö-Morane (not "Moraani").

    Test flights showed max speed was 435-445 kmh(270-277mph) on the deck, and 490-500kmh (304-311mph)at 4,000m (13,100ft). Best (estimated) climbing speed was about 17 m/s (3350 ft/min) at optimum conditions . Test flights showed 8 mins to 5,000m (16,400 ft), actual best achieved climb speed 13m/s (2560ft/min).
     
  15. Hardrada55

    Hardrada55 Member

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  16. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    Don't shoot me all I did was repeat what the article said.
    I have seen both names used in different sources and the same going for the switch from the 20mm to the HMG, although some say it was because of a shortage of 20mm guns not because of the COG problem. Logic tells me that COG problems have a ring of truth as its a small aircraft and a bigger engine is going to have some impact on the COG.
     
  17. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Hello Glider
    In this case it is better to trust Finnish sources, So it was Mörkö-Morane. Finns had problems with Hispano, so they put 12,7mm HMG in many ordinary 406s, but at least with Berezina HMG problems continued and were bad and that was critical because the engine weapon was the only effective weapon of the plane in 42-44. But in Mörkö-Morane the planned and installed engine weapon was MG 151/20, or at least should have been, I have not checked the a/c papers, so I cannot say that there was never a 12,7mm installed in Mörkö.

    On COG, it moved a bit forward, but that really didn’t harm, in fact it made the plane a bit better gun platform, in 406 the controls had been very light, c. 2kp per G.

    Juha
     
  18. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    When we already talk semantics, its 'Berezin' (or 'Beresin', a human being) not 'Berezina' (the river).
     
  19. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    #19 Juha, Dec 9, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2009
    Hello Tomo
    yes, it was Berezin/UB, but in Finnish AF papers, at least for ex in the list of armament variations possible in MS 406, it is known as Berezina.

    Juha
     
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