Tail warning radar on P-51 ?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Park, Dec 15, 2013.

  1. Park

    Park Member

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    I read about tail warning radar in Fight Journal on page 34, I was not aware of this, anyone ever heard of this ?

    Ken
     
  2. fubar57

    fubar57 Well-Known Member

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    Someone just posted something about this very recently. I'll see if I can find the post.

    Geo
     
  3. fubar57

    fubar57 Well-Known Member

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  4. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    #4 Airframes, Dec 15, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2013
    Have a look at Geedee's thread on his 1:1 P-51 cockpit, in the modelling section, and you'll see the warning bell, and a drawing of the antenna, which was mounted near the top of the fin. Off hand, I can't remember the dates, but it came into service in the ETO either in very late 1944, or early 1945, and was, of course, in service from then, until war's end, in the PTO.
    This was a fairly basic piece of equipment, which warned of the presence of an aircraft directly to the rear, with a relatively narrow arc each side of the center line, and did not distinguish between friend or foe. Also, at lower altitudes ( I think below around 4,000 feet), the effects of 'ground return' could activate the radar, setting off the alarm bell.
     
  5. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    I know that the P-51D-25NA and corresponding P-51K's had the AN/APS-13 tail warning radar. Positioned on top 1/3 of the vertical stab in front of rudder.
     
  6. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Not a very good photo, but this is what the fin-mounted antenna looked like. I've got a better pic somewhere, but a bit short on time at the moment.
     

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  7. glennasher

    glennasher Member

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    According to Bill Dunn's book, he hated the thing. He claimed it added 400 lbs. to the tail of the aircraft and didn't provide enough benefit to justify the weight addition, not to mention COG. etc.
     
  8. pattle

    pattle Member

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    Was it a success? it sort of makes me think of the parking sensors on my car which can at times be a pain rather than a benefit.
     
  9. Park

    Park Member

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    Well I'll be darn, Like many on the forum I've been reading about WWII aircraft for over 40 years and never heard of this...learn something every day !
     
  10. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    from the conversations i have had...they couldnt use it while flying formation...except for maybe tail end charlie. when they spotted the enemy...dropped their tanks...turned on guns...etc..they forgot to turn that on. if they did turn it on...everytime a plane past through the cone the bell would go off and a lot just found it too distracting. they relied more on the mirrors and their wing man.
     
  11. pattle

    pattle Member

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    #11 pattle, Dec 16, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2013
    Distracting, a bit like the parking sensors on my car then! Some Lancasters carried a tail warning and gun laying system called Village Inn which took the shape of a pointed dome and poked out from the rear fuselage. I think the P51 radar to be more like Monica which was also used by Bomber Command and which was abandoned after it was discovered that German night fighters were attracted to its beams.
     
  12. Mike Williams

    Mike Williams Active Member

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  13. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Village Inn wasn't so much a tail warning radar, as in 'Boozer' or 'Monica', but a gun laying system (AGLT) for the rear turret, using radio/radar and infra red. The twin lamps in the nose blister of later Lancs were infra red emitting, and intended as identification of a 'friendly' aircraft to the AGLT, to prevent the rear gunner locking on and opening fire.
     
  14. pbehn

    pbehn Well-Known Member

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    Surely a typo?
     
  15. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    It has to be or Mr. Dunn was very wrong (no disrespect) According this link the APS-13 (British ANAPS-13) weighed 20 pounds and was installed on the Tempest as well.

    The Hawker Tempest Page
     
  16. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    No way possible to add 400 pounds aft of the tail wheel and fly the airplane in a 51. The 85 gallons of fuel with a moment arm of a couple of feet made the 51 hoggish until the fuel burned down - just imagine a permanent 400 pound weight Anywhere from aft of the fuel tank to the tailwheel. It 'looks' like it weighs between 10-20 pounds max.

    BTW Dunn's only possible exposure to the AN/APS-13 would have been with P-47D in 406FG. IIRC he wasn't flying much combat when he went to China after ETO duties complete.
     
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  17. glennasher

    glennasher Member

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    He didn't like the aft fuel tank, either. Just going by what he wrote. I hadn't even heard of the tail-warning radar until then. 400 lbs. is what he claimed, I couldn't say how much it weighed, since I didn't know about it until reading the book.
     
  18. Maxrobot1

    Maxrobot1 Member

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    a-bomb_1456835i.jpg The tail warning radar was used as an "off the shelf" item for fusing of the the Atomic bombs used on Japan. This was to ensure an air burst no matter what the barometric pressure was.
    Photos of the very early bombs show the radar antennae and replicas include them to varying degrees of accuracy.
     
  19. pattle

    pattle Member

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    400lbs, that's 400 bags of sugar!
     
  20. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Sounds like a heck of weight, even if it included the wiring, actual 'black box', bell and switches etc, spread throughout the airframe from tail to cockpit. Maybe a total of 40 Pounds ?
     
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