Planes that just were not needed

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Thorlifter, Oct 4, 2016.

  1. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    Using our powers of hindsight, what planes that were developed and put into production were just not needed due to better/similar planes that already existed or were to be quickly outdated due to advancing technology.

    I would question the B-32. My understanding is it was developed "just in case" the B-29 failed to perform. Besides, couldn't the B-17 and B-24 have finished the job if the B-29 had failed?

    What about the Ryan FR Fireball. Even though about 100 were made, this plane just seemed to be a mess from the word go.

    Others?
     
  2. Greyman

    Greyman Active Member

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    Westland Whirlwind. :)
     
  3. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    Possibly the Albacore. after the Swordfish, RN should have concentrated on high performance monoplane strike aircraft. The obvious choices being the Barracuda and the Firefly.

    The main advantages of the albacore over the swordfish was firstly its enclosed cockpit, which made it slightly more livablein poor weather, and its better range. I think in both instances there were easier alternatives. Give the pilot a woolly coat and put long range tanks on the swordfish. then get a move on with the replacements.

    id also say it was the aircraft that were not developed for the RN that cry amazing. Why didn't the RN develop a true high performance single seater built around F5/34 is beyond me. Instead they waited, until it was almost too late and then went nuts to try and convert a bomber into a two seat fighter recon type (the Fulmar). the Fulmar worked, but was never really outstanding. a properly developed single seat fighter would have been sooooo much better.
     
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  4. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    The B-29 program was pushing the limits of technology of the day in a wide range of areas, including the engines. They even had the XB-39 in the works (re-engined B-29) in the event that the R-3350 engines were a failure. So the B-32 was a fallback. While it did not see significant action in the war, it would have been one of the few aircraft capable of carrying nuclear bombs at the time. The B-17 and B-24 also lacked the range of the B-29 with comparable loads.

    My candidate for kicking to the curb, would be the Curtiss SO3C "Seamew". It was a complete failure and forced the retired Curtiss SOC out of retirement to supplement the USN fleet's limited OS2U compliment.
     
  5. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Since we are using hindsight, I nominate the Bell P-39 / P-63 series of fighters. When they were developed, the turbocharger was left out deliberately, making them low-altitude airplanes that we really didn't need. Our own forces never liked them, and building for export-only seems like a waste of manpower. Build for yourself and if there is a surplus capability, sell THAT.

    The British Barracuda / Roc / Skua weren't needed. Aircraft to do the jobs were, but these particular planes probably weren't.

    The Germans didn't need the Me 163, the Natter, the huge BV flying boats (222 / 238), the BV 155, the America bomber (Me 264) or the He 177. They needed useful aircraft quickly.

    The Japanese didn't have nearly as many aircraft as the Germans did, but they could have concentrated on fewer types and probably would have built more. No particular type sticks out to me, but the Emperor should have forced the IJ Army and IJ Navy to cooperate with one another or commit suicide.

    The Russians didn't need any planes before late 1942 / early 1943 (actually a joke). They were all shot down easily. Sure, make prototypes. But after the initial disasters, concentrate on new development while fighting a holding action. Alternately, mass the entire Soviet Army and invade Germany before they invaded the Soviet Union.

    The Italians needed to decide which side they were fighting for before engaging in war. Alternately, hang Mussolini much sooner and declare peace, love, and Pizza while fighting in parliment simultaneously.
     
  6. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    The Bv222 actually contributed quite a bit, for being made in such limited numbers, the Bv238 on the otherhand, never had a chance.

    And if that weren't enough, the Bv222 engaged in a "clash of the Titans" when it encountered a PB4Y and shot it down.
     
  7. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    It WAS needed in 1936 when it was conceived to F.37/35. It was NOT needed four years later when the eight machine gun armament of the Spitfire and Hurricane proved adequate and later, when cannon were fitted to both of these.
    Subsequently other cannon armed aircraft (Beaufighter etc. etc.) came along.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  8. yulzari

    yulzari Active Member

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    Their Lordships wanted a Sea Spitfire from the moment they saw a Spitfire but they were refused. The same for a Hurricane. They looked around and all they could get were Sea Gladiators in the interim and the Fulmar. That was why they went shopping for Martlets. The RAF had priority on any fighter. The FAA tried every way to upgrade it's fighter fleet. Deck parked fixed wing Hurricanes. CAM Hurricanes. It was the Admiralty who pointed out that RAF Hurricanes had landed on Glorious with no problems but still could not get them released, Point the finger at the RAF and the Ministries but the Admiralty knew that they needed a modern fighter. They just could not get one until they got the Seafire which was what they had asked for in 1938 and did not get until 1942.

    The Blackburn Roc that could be outrun by pretty well every German bomber seems superfluous and their Firebrand was in permanent development.

    The Hawker Henley that was an oversized slow Hurricane that could not safely pull a target drogue. The normal Hurricane could carry the same bomb load.

    The Albermarle that became a solution in search of a problem.
     
  9. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    P-63 certainly was not needed, P-39 was at least useful. Marrin Baltimore - looking what Anglo-Americans were producing it was not needed.
    Blackburn Skua was useful, the Roc was not needed. Defiant, as it happened, was not needed. Me 210/410 were not needed, waste of good engines in the time when Italians could not have enough of DB 601/605s, and Fw 190 needed that 603.
    He 177 - LW could've used heavy bomber, but the 177 couldn't fill those shoes.
     
  10. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Hawker Typhoon :)
     
  11. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    That was needed for the same reason as the Whirlwind, though nobody could have known what a car crash the Typhoon programme would turn out to be.
    Eventually it was needed for an entirely different reason. What were the alternatives for the RAF's tactical air forces in 1944/45?
    In the end, unlike the Whirlwind, it was a good job that we had it.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
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  12. pinehilljoe

    pinehilljoe Member

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    #12 pinehilljoe, Oct 4, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2016
    The P-75: Can you picture the Sales team at GM talking to the USAAF: we're going graft the empennage of a dive bomber (SBD), wings of a fighter ( P-40) , undercarriage of a carrier fighter (F4U) and arrange the V-3420 engine (still has some kinks to be worked out) like the P-39 and build a high performance long range fighter. But there was a war on, and we needed thousands of planes, hindsight is 20-20.

    I think the B-32 was worth the effort. The B-29 cost more than the Manhattan Project, the B-32 was insurance. I'm guessing that once the B-29 was advanced enough to know it would work in time, the termination liability on the B-32 was too high to not complete the 118 that were built.
     
  13. pbehn

    pbehn Well-Known Member

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    Fairey Battle
     
  14. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    The P-75 went with the wings from the P-51 (the early prototype did have wings from the P-40) and the tail section from the A-24, because it had a pneumatic tire and no arresting assembly. The whole idea was to use existing material to speed production and reduce cost.

    At the time, it looked like a great idea, but it took too long like many other projects.
     
  15. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    It was only needed to make up numbers and fulfill budget promises, so, in the context of the thread, I agree with this one :)
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  16. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    the p-39 was needed if for nothing else but a stop-gap ac for the us and lend lease. if you were replacing it in equal numbers or more with something better that was available at that date then yes..it could have been be chopped.
     
  17. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The B-24 and B-17 couldn't fly the distance the B-29 could and carry anything like an effective war load. you would have needed 3-4 times the number of bombers. And 3-4 times the number of B-17/24s is not cheaper in purchase price, cheaper in aircrew and cheaper in fuel burned per ton of bombs dropped.
    The B-29s were initially deployed in China with all supplies being flown in over the hump. The distances involved for even the B-29 (or B-32) were marginal. However planning for the capture of the island air fields might have been too optimistic.
    There were 1500 B-29s on order with plants being set up in March of 1942, 3 months before Midway. 13 YB-32s had been ordered in June of 1941 although the B-32 program was also delayed.

    The Ryan Fireball was an attempt to solve several major shortcomings of the early jets. Poor endurance, poor throttle response. The idea being to use the jet engine for take-off and combat and to cruise on the much more economical piston (or turbo prop) engine. The Fireball was the first to fly but the US also built 3 other "mixed" power aircraft. The Convair XP-81, the Curtiss XF15C and the Ryan XF2R Dark Shark.
     
  18. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    There was also the Douglas XBTD-2, that had mixed power (R-3350, 19B turbojet), too.
     
  19. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    In the end it was only kept because they had many times the amount of money invested in production tooling and parts already in the pipeline. Canceling the last 80 something planes in the Whirlwind order was one thing, canceling the hundreds (if not over 1000) Typhoons in the order pipeline was something else. Not to mention the Sabre production.
     
  20. Greyman

    Greyman Active Member

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    How so?
     
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