Revolutionary aircraft of World war 2?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Aozora, May 17, 2014.

  1. Aozora

    Aozora Well-Known Member

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    From the Hellcat vs Zero thread: http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/aviation/hellcat-vs-zero-40782.html

    According to the dictionary the only way to define "revolutionary" when related to aircraft design is: adj. 1 Involving or causing dramatic change. (Concise Oxford English Dictionary). Looked in several other dictionaries and definitions are similar.

    1) Unarmed PR Spitfires: redefined PR aircraft.

    2) Me 262:

    3) Mosquito as a fast unarmed bomber/PR. Redefined fast bomber with no defensive armament. Tied with Ju 88 as versatile, multi-role aircraft. Was the all-wood construction technique revolutionary? The de H Hornet was arguably more revolutionary because it pioneered the technique of bonding dissimilar materials, rather than using rivets or screws or bolts.

    3 =) Arado 234: first unarmed jet bomber PR aircraft.
     
  2. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    #2 nuuumannn, May 18, 2014
    Last edited: May 18, 2014
    Aozora, take a look at moy post in the other thread. I wouldn't consider the Me 262 as revolutionary; it introduced a revolution in powerplant design, but it in itself was not because it was in no real position to bring about the change that gas turbines could and eventually would offer for two reasons. One, the engine technology itself wasn't advanced enough and neither was the airframe to take advantage of what gas turbines could potentially offer and it was rushed into service prematurely, thus adding to this and two, the Allies got the better of the Me 262 relatively quickly using contemporary technology. Had the war continued, P-80s and Meteors would have been introduced, which also suffered the same deficiencies, being of that generation. Perhaps the first generation of fighters to take advantage of what the gas turbine could really offer in terms of aerodynamic advance was tentatively the F-86, MiG-15 and Hawker Hunter generation and from there, the likes of the MiG-19 and F-100. The '262 was a contemporary design mated to a revolutionary powerplant, as was the Meat box and P-80 and were mere evolution on what currently existed.

    As for the Mossie, like I said in the other thread, it was tangential to existing philosophies, rather than truly new, since the idea was out there before and during the Great War actually put into practise. It offered nothing new in technology - it was just very well designed. The techniques in its design and construction were not new at all, nor was those used in the Hornet, but were the epitome of old technologies applied in an exceptional and rather clever way. Its versatility as a fighting machine certainly brought about a considerable change post war in approach that lasts, as I said in the other thread, to this day in bomber/attack aircraft concepts, but was not truly new.

    Arado 234 I'll give you, but only tentatively for the same reasons as the Me 262. The Canberra could be argued as the first truly revolutionary jet bomber over previous bombers - also embodying the virtues of the Mosquito philosophy and taking better advantage of the new technology beyond what the Arado could. The Arado was new engines, old airframe, but it was unstoppable and even then this was only temporary by nature of progress, however.

    PR Spit? hmm, again, a tangent to an existing philosophy and the idea of high speed unarmed recon machines had been applied by the Germans (in practise, I might add) before the British - and the Germans also used Fw 190s and Bf 109s in the same role. In terms of impact on the war, certainly game changing, but it was the use of the information these aircraft produced and the structure and flexibility of the entire British/Allied PR machine - Medmenham, excellent PIs etc that made the RAF PR system so damned good, rather than just the Spitfire.

    Any more?
     
  3. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Just an observation here, but it could be said that the Me262 was revolutionary in the fact that the speed it offered changed the face of aerial warfare. It wasn't the first jet aircraft to take flight and it wasn't the first armed jet aircraft to take flight, but it was a sum of the whole, that made it revolutionary. Tactics both in deploying it and in countering it had to be re-written. The lineage of all combat jets that entered a combat zone from that point onwards will point directly back to it.

    That would certainly qualify it as revolutionary.
     
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  4. Aozora

    Aozora Well-Known Member

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    The 262 used new engine technology and was the first to adopt swept, slatted wings - albeit this was forced upon the designers - plus modular construction techniques, all allied to a heavy armament, and (later) tricycle undercarriage. The events surrounding its introduction into service had nothing to do with the design -it was the first operational jet fighter and foreshadowed every jet fighter that came after it. That is the definition of revolutionary.

    The only reason unarmed recce aircraft were used at the start of WW1 was because the existing tractor engines did not allow aircraft to carry fixed armament; all unarmed recce aircraft were rapidly rendered obsolete with Fokker's interrupter/synchronised armament and pusher fighters such as the DH 2. Otherwise, there was no such thing as an unarmed fast bomber capable of outpacing almost all existing fighters throughout the war. So what if the Mosquito was tangential to existing philosophies, fact is it worked, helped overturn those philosophies (or do you mean doctrines?) and foreshadowed every unarmed bomber built between 1941 to the present day. Revolutionary

    I didn't say it was, which is why I added a question mark...

    Then please tell me another WW2 aircraft that used a high strength epoxy to bond two completely dissimilar materials? "the epitome of old technologies applied in an exceptional and rather clever way." What better way to describe revolutionary?

    Discounting the Mosquito, while allowing that the Ar 234 was revolutionary is somewhat contradictory. The Canberra was still an old airframe - including the use of a conventional bomb-aimer's position - mated to new engines. It was a permutation of concepts pioneered by the Mossie and Ar 234.
     
  5. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    Revolutionary Aircraft.

    Sikorsky R-4
    Me 163
    Boeing B29

    These offered a capability not seen before.
     
  6. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    I am not sure if the R-4 could be considered revolutionary. It was the first helicopter produced on a large scale, but the concept had already been around for a while.

    Same with the B-29. While I consider it the best bomber produced during WW2, and even though it had many advanced features it still was just a 4 engined piston heavy bomber which too was going the way of the Dodo bird.
     
  7. m37b1

    m37b1 Member

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  8. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    V-2 and V-1.

    R-4 was the first helicopter which worked. Not some novelty.

    B-29 was the first nuclear bomber. It introduced warfare beyond imagination and was the biggest spending project in US during WW2. it was far more than a fancier B-17.
     
  9. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    If so then 1903 Wright Flyer deserves the credit. Or perhaps the multitude of wooden gliders which proceeded the Wright Flyer.
     
  10. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Herr Adler's correct, the R-4 may have been produced in large numbers, but it wasn't the first in production and it wasn't the first used operationally in a forward area.

    The German helicopter program was far from producing novelties...

    The Focke-Achgelis Fa223, while produced in small quantities proved it's worth outside of it's original design to drop bombs. It was used as a heavy lift/cargo transport and ended up setting records for distance 1,041 miles (1,675km) and for being the first helicopter to cross the English Channel.

    The Flettner Fl282 was produced in small numbers, intended to be a maritime liaison aircraft, ended up being used on the battlefield as an artillery spotter and messenger.

    One of the main reasons why the Germans did not produce more of their helicopters, was that the factories kept getting bombed and not being a priority aircraft, did not see the resources to quickly re-establish production like the fighter/bomber facilities did.

    Those listed above, were true helicopters, there were several types of Auto-Gyros in service, like the Japanese Kayaba Ka-1/2 that served throughout the war...mostly in anti-submarine duties.
     
  11. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    I will go with Guided Missiles, drones, V2.

    I will through out the Bachem 349 Natter as the first vertically launched fighter.
     
  12. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    They had "drones" in WWI
     
  13. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    No the R-4 was not the first which worked. Both the Americans and Germans had working helicopters before the R-4. It was just the first to be produced in large numbers.

    As for the B-29, just because it cost a lot of money does not make it revolutionary. The aircraft itself was still a piston engined heavy bomber.
     
  14. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    #14 nuuumannn, May 18, 2014
    Last edited: May 18, 2014
    V2 most certainly revolutionary, but not the V1. Fi 103 could have been built by any competent aircraft manufacturing nation, besides, like what's been pointed out here, guided missiles had been built by both sides prior to WW2, although in saying that, the guided missile was a revolutionary concept, just not the Fi 103. Its application was innovatory, but not a revolution in sicence or technology; it was very simple in design and construction. The A 4 rocket however, was a revolution; it did change the face of warfare.

    Aozora and Dave, the reason why I don't consider the 262 revolutionary is because it in itself wasn't. Its gas turbine engines were and as far as the swept wings are concerned, they were also not new and placed due to cg concerns, not to take advantage of its powerplant. As for re-writing the rule book, the RAF had the Meteor in squadron service before the Me 262 and as I stated earlier, the 262 was and could be defeated by conventional means, the Allies did not employ jets to defeat the threat. It had potential, but it was very much a contemporary design - the Meteor and the P-80 were its equal technology wise. The revolution was the gas turbine engine, not the 262 airframe it was fitted to. Its contribution was the potential it offered for the future, potential that it was not entirely capable of carrying out owing to its faults. You could argue that jet fighters as a whole - not specifically the 262, it wasn't the first jet fighter, was a revolutionary concept, but again, it could be argued that they were as much an evolution since piston engines were reaching their zenith in terms of what they could produce - hmmm this is very contradictory... See, not so easy to quantify eh.

    Mossie, sorry, not revolutionary. Certainly innovative use of existing technology and theories put into practise in a very well designed package, but not a revolution in design, nor technology. In terms of application, like I said, the idea had been around for awhile - Volkert set the ball rolling in Britain at least with his paper on high speed unarmed bombers in the mid 1930s and many within the Air Staff actually liked the idea. The Mossie proved a theory could work and that the high speed unarmed bomber's time had come, but it was hardly a revolutionary concept. Existing ideas of bombing did not die off with the application of the high speed unarmed bomber idea. The big bomber with defensive weapons had a few miles left in it at the time the Mossie entered RAF Bomber Command.

    As for the Hornet, the use of bonded structure was innovative, but not revolutionary; it didn't in itself change the nature of aircraft manufacture. Composites and bonded structures, although not dissimilar materials as in the Hornet, had been in use before; ever heard of the Aerolite Spitfire? What about the DH.88 and Albatross? Wooden structures have been referred to as nature's composite. One structural innovation that has changed the face of aircraft manufacture is milled structural skin panels, these have had a far greater impact on aircraft design than the Hornet's bonded structure. Almost every modern aircraft since the early to mid 1960s have used milled structural panels.

    The point behind me suggesting the Canberra was that it was able to take better advantage of the engines's advances and therefore its application was more akin to a revolution in what it offered to bombing, whereas the Ar 234 could not; it did not have the same flexibility of design as the Canberra. Old airframe? Perhaps in 2006, when the RAF retired them, but not in 1949 when it first flew. Yes, it had a visual bomb aimer's position, but that was a requirement of the design, as did all the V bombers, but there was also a blind bomber variant, the B.5, although it was not put into production, it was superceded by the BI.8 interdictor.

    As for the B-29, I can't agree that it was entirely a revolution, although as a nuclear bomber it was and what if offered the Russian aircraft industry, but that is because the Russians were far behind the USA, Britain and Germany. As an aircraft, it was a piston engined bomber and the ultimate expression of that (discounting the B-36, but you could argue that it was a B-29 on steroids and offered nothing new other than load carrying capability and distance). Had the B-29 appeared with gas turbines and swept back wings and emp - i.e, the B-47, then it would have been truly revolutionary in WW2!

    Here are things considered to be revolutionary as a whole, the internal combustion engine, the nautical screw, the rapid fire machine gun, gas turbine engines, nuclear weapons, aircraft carriers, practical vertical take off and landing aircraft, i.e. rotor craft and the Harrier, ballistic missiles and rocket technology, aircraft as a whole, economy class (some of you are thinking "Say wha..?" Think about it, before economy class was invented, the only people who could fly as pax were the very wealthy. Economy class changed that and with its application, pax numbers around the world escalated by the thousands. It was only with the advent of large airliners that it truly became a viable concept. Changed the world, you know), steam engines, balloons, aerial photography etc...
     
  15. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    I would never call the V-1, V-2 or Fi 103 as revolutionary "aircraft".... more like revolutionary weapons.
     
  16. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Same with the Nuke. It was a revolutionary weapon, but the plane that dropped it was not a revolutionary design. It had many innovative features though.

    That is why I can't see it as a revolutionary plane.
     
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  17. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    Yep, agree entirely, although its impact on the Russian aviation industry was revolutionary since the Russians had nothing like it and had to learn a whole new set of skills and manufacturing techniques that they did not possess, but were common abroad.
     
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  18. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    That I can agree with.
     
  19. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    The Natter truly revolutionary but it wasnt operational and didnt work as advertised.

    And to my knowledge hasnt been copied.

    B29 was revolutioary in what it brought.
    It maybe another piston prop bomber like He-111 but thats selling it very short.

    Todays helicopters are not based on German designs pre-war.
     
  20. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    Are we looking at the whole history of flight, or just WWII

    If we are looking at the whole history, then a few standouts ought to be mentioned

    1903 Orville flyer (obvious)
    Fokker Eindekker fighters (first aircraft with workable interruptor gear)
    Packard-Le Père LUSAC-11 (first aircraft to break 37000 feet and first aircraft with workable cabin pressurization
    ??????? (first aircraft to carry cannon armament)
    ??????? (first aircraft with operational guided missile armement)
    ??????? (first carrier based aircraft able to outperform land based equivaenet)
    Hawker Harrier and Sea Harrier ( first aircraft with workable VTOL capability and supersonic
     
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