Planes for FAA thatwould realy kick some axis a$

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by tomo pauk, Mar 3, 2009.

  1. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    The mention of Skua and Albacore in the other thread got me thinking about the planes for FAA at the start of WWII*. The current composition (39/40) is made of Swordfishes, Albacores, Skuas, Rocs, Sea Gladiators, Fulmars. The real aircraft that suplemented/replaced them in 1941/42 are Sea Hurricane, Barracuda, Martlet, Seafire.
    Decent planes, but methinks that Brits could muster better ones with their bits and parts. Of course, feel free to add a few oversea components if you think it's nice :)


    * disclaimer ( ;) ): intention of the thread is that we talk more about hardware and less about the doctrine. Thank you.

    My proposition would be navalised Defiant, as a dive bomber fighter at 1st. With some wing guns added it would be a better fighter then those deployed before 1942. With 1600HP+ (Merlin 60s, Griffon or Hercules aboard) and without turret it could well serve throughout the 2nd half ot the war.
     
  2. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    Hate to say it Tomo, but you can't talk hardware without doctrine, and vice versa. They are products of each other.
     
  3. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Damit, Taxi, I've epected from the Brit a more positive attitude. Churchillian, is that the word... ;)

    On the more serious note, the navalized Defiant would be a twin seater (at least at 1st) would be along the lines of Skua, Fulmar and/or Firefly (= folowing the proscribed doctrine). Being much lighter then later two would be beneficial.
     
  4. merlin

    merlin Member

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    It must have been a kick in the ***** for Boulton Paul - their Sea Defiant gets rejected, in favour of the Blackburn Roc - which was obscenely slow (!) yet they had to make it.
    Yet, even with land to crash into, a shot down Defiant can't have been any fun for the poor gunner - imagine trying to get out of that turret in the sea.

    So alternatives:
    First of all replace the Gladiator earlier - either Sea Hurricane, navalised Gloster F.4/34, Gruman Martlet, or perhaps a navalised Boulton Paul P.94 (single-seat Defiant).
    Second (without compremising dotrine) supplant/replace the FDB Skua, with the Navalised (Sea) Henley (shouldn't have a problem adding machine guns in the wings).
     
  5. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Defiant was as fast as Firefly, the 1943 design :)shock: ), so the decision is (was) even more tragic.

    Anyway, I've just checked out Tony Williams' article on his site*, where he proposes a 'compact twin' that would be employed as a multirole plane both as ground or CV based plane. Furthermore, the plane's wing span is about 15-16m, similar to Albacore, Fulmar, Baracuda etc. That design would make possible to field almost equal number of planes, the main benefit being that 'compact twins' would be the multirole planes. So, the carrier could have, say, 60+ planes to employ either as fighter, or bombers, or torpedo planes. Their initial performance would be at 550-600 km/h with two Tauruses (2 x 1050HP), clean, in 1940. Tony admits the existance of a similar Gloster plane thouh.


    *too bad we don't hear from him anymore here :(
     
  6. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    A navalised Defiant? trying to make a silk purse out of a sows ear? To have a good British ship board AC in WW2, Hawker needed to develop the Sea Fury earlier.
     
  7. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    I would design a fighter around the Hercules engine. Its available, powerful and as good as most engines around as well as being more in tune with low altitude work.
    The Gloster beefed up would be a good starting point and give it some teeth with 2 x 20mm matched with a good supply of ammunition. 4 x 20mm is overkill and at sea the extra ammunition would be more valuable.

    The Skua is fine as a dive bomber and I would convert the Defiant into a torpedo bomber. Leave the turret off just have a simple back gunner and use the weight saved for the payload.
     
  8. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Compared with what British planes were on board of RN carriers in 1939-42, Defiant looks like an eagle compared to turkeys. Defiant was some 100km/h faster the Fairey Fulmar of the same era. The Mk II from 1940 was as fast as Fulmar from 1943 ( :shock: again).
    The reason I propose Defiant is that airframe was better suited for carrier ops then two other top ones Brits had, Hrriacane and Spifire. It was full metal, and the wheels are comfortably wide for landing on carrier. Plus, Huri and Spit did have the BoB to do.
    The turret is liability for a fighter, but it could be deleted if we don't want the multirole plane,the max performance being the goal.
    With Hercules, providing some 1500HP as early as 1940, it would rock. A transfromation a-la LaGG3 -> La-5, or Ki-61 -> Ki-100.

    Sea Fury would be feasible in second part of WWII IMO (just in time to replace the Defiant ;) ). The plane was really a top shot, even for 1945.
     
  9. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    But, what about the structural strength for arrested landings. Did the Defiant have that strength and if not how much weight would be added. How about slow speed stability and handling. That was the problem with Mustang. How about folding wings. The British carriers were limited with space so folding wings were a necessity. They add weight and complexity.
     
  10. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    I wouldnt like to became known as Defiant advocate, but think that Brits could muster much better planes for FAA that it was historically.* It was shame they haven't employed the Bristol Hercules there. Even bolted to the Sea Hurricane instead of Merlin it would be a step forward, not to mention a more advanced airframe.


    *The same could be said for other airfrces of the world, sure.
     
  11. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    But, TP, one of the reasons the Seafire was not effective as a carrier fighter was that it's air frame and landing gear were not robust enough for continued service at sea. Putting a radial engine in an air frame originally intended for an inline engine results in increased drag and decreased performance. The FAA was treated like a "red headed step child" as long as it was more or less part of the RAF. That was a mistake that was not repeated by the US and Japan. It is shameful that the RN was not allowed to develop and procure AC on it's own hook, given how advanced the RN was in developing carrier aviation.
     
  12. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    The Seafire never was fitted with a radial AFAIK ren. I would tend to agree with you that the much of the weight saved by deleting the Defiant's turret would be eaten up by fuselage strengthening, wing fold gear and so on. If it is being suggested that the Defiant is navalised with the turret in place, I have two objections:

    1) The added weight of carrier equipment would further degrade less-than-stellar performance

    2) The FAA already operated a turret fighter, the Blackburn Roc, which had even less success than the RAF's Defiants. You would simply be replacing/supplanting one duff type with another, IMHO.
     
  13. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    .
     
  14. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Hello, BombTaxi,

    Care to say what would be your design for the FAA plane(s), any role, 1st half of WWII?
     
  15. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    TP, your points about the Soviet AC are well made. Wouldn't though a switch to a radial need to have a nice increase in HP to overcome the drag. The Merlin put out around 1200 to 1400 HP in 1941 did it not? What radial could put out more than that but still fit in an air frame the size of the Hurricane. The Corsair was supposedly the smallest airframe that the R2800 with 2000 HP would fit and the Corsair was a lot bigger than the Hurricane. However the R2800 fit in the F8F which was smaller than the Corsair or Hellcat.
     
  16. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    There were two British radial engines that could do the job, Bristol Taurus and Hercules.
    Taurus was capable of 1050HP from 1939, so at least as good as Merlin of the same time frame. It was 50kg lighter then Merlin II dry, the diference further increasing when we calculate in the coolant, radiator and out-of-engine plumbing. The absence of radiator would cancel out a great deal the higher drag of a radial engine.
    So it is a good candidate IMO.

    Hercules is another choice. The weight is some 150kg bigger then Merlin's, but we need to calculate the coolant, radiator and out-of-engine plumbing. We again benefit from deleting the radiator, drag-wise.
    The power is 1270 HP in 1939, and 1375 HP in 1940. Again, a more than decent candidate.

    As you can see, I'm not discussing the 1943-45 time frame because of two reasons:
    1. Hellcats, Corsairs and Avengers are available for those years
    2. The time when Brits were hard pressed in ETO, MTO and Asia was gone.
     
  17. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Also the radials are more resistant to battle damage, an important factor over the ocean.
     
  18. merlin

    merlin Member

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    Valid points have been made in favour of radial engines for naval/carrier aircraft i.e. ease of maintenance, resistance to battle damage, and perhaps most important a better view when landing and taking-off.

    Many of the FAA aircraft were radial engined, those that weren't were there by necessity - Hurricane Spitfire, and the Fulmar was only a 'light Battle' conversion.
    Don't see anyway a radial Hurricane would have been seriously considered - the Air Staff went for a 'new' design for a cannon armed aircraft rather than consider a re-design of the Hurricane or Spitfire!

    Rolls-Royce were working on the Exe/Boreas radial engine - intended for maritime aircraft, but work discontinued to concentrate on other engines.

    So to have an effective naval (radial) fighter in the early part of the war, you need either the British Purchasing Commission to get its 'finger-out' and order the Martlet in September '39 (rather than later take-over the French order); or earlier FAA is able to have a navalised Gloster F.5/34 - which perhaps could have accepted more powerful engines.
     
  19. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    I read the coments made her and just shake my head.....the best aircraft available the Brits 1939-41 were the swordfish and the Albacore, because they suited the british capabilities of the time completely.

    When you look at the British carrier successes in this time period, one thing comes out glaringly at the observer. the british were attacking at night. And guess what...no other aircraft other than the Albacore or the Swordfish could do this.

    Moreover, all this talk about the british fielding superior fighters is a self defeating argument.

    Because the british fielded less than adequate fighters, its only on rare occasions that they ventured their carriers into Axis land based fighter range, by day. One exception was the Formidable in May 1941. another was the Illustrious in January 1941. But as a rule, the british tried as much as possible to keep their Carriers away from Axis Fighters. That meant most of the time, the carrier based fighters were shooting down Axis bombers, and in this endeavour, the more stable, more forgiving types like the Fulmar were perfect for the job. Even the venerable Gladiator could do this job, though its lack of firepower was an admitted drawback.

    Giving the RN topline fighters at this time was going to do two bad things. Firstly, every state of the art fighters is going to lanquish on the decks of the brit carriers, whilst ashore, where top line fighters were needed, someone is going to go without.

    Secondly having acquired these topline fighters, it is going to lull the British admirals into a false sense of security, and liklley for them to take greater risks with their carriers to achieve absolutely nothing more than they did historically. And likely to lose a carrier or three whilst they swan around in harms way. There simply were not enough fighters on board British carriers for them to challenge axis air superiority in the way suggested in this thread.....
     
  20. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Now that's a war winning spirit :rolleyes:

    What about the daylight operations, where FAA planes were involved, like Channel Dash, or many convoy escorts? What about Norway in 1940 and Dunkuerque? The results of FAA crews were second to none in the 1st half of WWII, despite (not because) of the sucky equipment.

    As for 'forgiving aircrafts': was the Sea Hurricane a troublesome plane? No.
    So why not to order from Fairey (or Blackburn, or Boulton Paul, or Gloster) to develop produce the Sea Hurricane? A couple of hundreds available before fall of France would meant more then a thousand in 1942.
    Or perhaps to install Taurus in Blackburn Skua, and delete the turret to create something that could do 450km/h a year and a half before Fulmar could do the same?

    The planes I propose could be anyway considered 'decent', not 'top-notch' anyway. And better planes would mean better results, not bigger losses.
     
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