Two P-38 questions

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by NVSMITH, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. NVSMITH

    NVSMITH New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2011
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    1. Why didn't Lockheed simply extend the fuselage (and account for C/G issues) and make a two seat P-38 night fighter? The P-38M came late in the war and looked very uncomfortable for the back seater/RIO.
    2. Way out in left field: can anyone imagine a P-38 with radial engines and used as a dedicated low altitude ground attack/shipping strike aircraft?
     
  2. Dcazz7606

    Dcazz7606 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2012
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Occupation:
    facilities - public schools
    Location:
    Jaffrey, Nh
    I believe they did. Nicknamed the Swordfish. It had a very streamlined 2 seat fuselage. It ended up being used as a test plane for different wing plane forms.
    It looked like a winner to me. I don't know why it wasn't developed further.
     
  3. Rufus123

    Rufus123 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2013
    Messages:
    141
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    There is no need them for the twin booms. It starts to look like a Tigercat at this point.
     
  4. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2009
    Messages:
    9,769
    Likes Received:
    800
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    retired Firefighter
    Location:
    Central Florida Highlands
    From 1941 until well into 1943 the P-38 was the Premier US fighter and there simply weren't enough to go around as it was. Various theaters were rationed/limited as to what fighters they could get. Cutting production of the day fighter at this point would have the situation even worse.
    First flight of the XP-61 was on May 26, 1942. it takes a long time to from sketches on paper to service use. It can take a long time to go from prototype flight to service use.

    The radial P-38 is a big why bother. The US already had A-20s, B-25s and B-26s with longer ranges and bigger bomb loads than you were going to get on a P-38. There is only so much stuff you can hang on the outside of a 327sq ft wing airplane with 400 gallons of fuel inside.
    You have to spend 10s of thousands of hours on the redesign, set up a new production line (or loose fighters) and even if you convert one of the bomber factories all you get is the building, workers and SOME tooling, all the jigs and fixtures specific to the P-38 (or parts you are using) have to be made.
     
  5. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2009
    Messages:
    6,418
    Likes Received:
    64
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    WWII era U.S. night fighter equipment was large, heavy and required a lot of electrical power. That's why P-61 was as large as a medium bomber. P-38 night fighter would get a greatly reduced equipment set and consequently be far less capable.
     
  6. l'Omnivore Sobriquet

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2013
    Messages:
    127
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Occupation:
    political scales
    Location:
    deep France
    Obviously a very good option.
    Perhaps a little too 'French' for the taste of the American planners...
    Ah, those neat lines of immaculate P-38s... and the P-61 programm... and the...
    (But WHO cares about the night-fighter Invader ??)
     
  7. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2009
    Messages:
    9,769
    Likes Received:
    800
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    retired Firefighter
    Location:
    Central Florida Highlands
    P-38 night fighter got essential the same radar as the Navy F6F and F4U night fighters.
     
  8. Aozora

    Aozora Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2012
    Messages:
    1,011
    Likes Received:
    123
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Not quite true - the P-61 was as big and heavy as it was because it was designed around three crew plus radar plus gun turret and remote sighting computers plus large fuel load etc.

    The centimetric SCR 720, which came into service in 1943, weighed 415 lbs and required 125 amp, 27 v DC; inverter delivers 1520 w, 115 v. 1 ph, 400 cps: detection ranges at 10,000 feet = bombers 17,000 yards (9.6 miles; 15.5 km) Fighters = 8,500 yards (4.8 miles; 7.8 km) Minimum range = 100 yards or 91.4 m US Night Fighter Radars of WWII. It was also used in the Mosquito.

    The nearest German equivalent was the FuG 240/1 Berlin which weighed 397 lbs with a detection range of 5 km or 3.1 miles, minimum range 300 m or 328 yards: this saw some limited operational service before the war ended.

    Was that the AN/APS 6? http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/ref/NightFighterRadars/index.html
     
  9. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2009
    Messages:
    6,418
    Likes Received:
    64
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    How many kills were achieved by those F6F and F4U night fighter aircraft?
     
  10. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2009
    Messages:
    9,769
    Likes Received:
    800
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    retired Firefighter
    Location:
    Central Florida Highlands
    Yes it was.


    Not a lot in European terms but then there a were a whole lot fewer attackers and night fighters involved.
    Trying to compare totals in such circumstances tells us very little.

    What tells us more is that in Oct 1944 the night fighter group of the Carrier Independence ( a dedicated night fighter carrier so other carriers in the task force could rest deck crews at night) claimed 7 victories out of 15 contacts identified by ships radar. On Dec 14th a night fighter set fire to an attacker 17 minutes after radar contact (ships radar) was made. Fighter was sitting on the flight deck when initial contact was made.
    As Task Force 38 transited Bashi Channel en route to its famous sweep into the South China Sea, it's night fighters went 3 for 3 against snooper/recon aircraft at night.

    and finally "During the entire time that Task Force 38 operated off Japan, no Japanese attacked these forces at night."

    Which rather shows the dominance of the Navy night fighters ( and perhaps the declining skill of the bulk of the Japanese pilots).
     
  11. Dcazz7606

    Dcazz7606 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2012
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Occupation:
    facilities - public schools
    Location:
    Jaffrey, Nh
    I think Shortround hit on the biggest reason as Lockheed was stuck without a 2nd production facility for most of the war and you could only stuff so much stuff into Burbank!
     
  12. Dcazz7606

    Dcazz7606 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2012
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Occupation:
    facilities - public schools
    Location:
    Jaffrey, Nh
    IMG_0877.JPG I found a picture of the P-38 Swordfish.
     
Loading...
Similar Threads
  1. GregP
    Replies:
    11
    Views:
    893
  2. ummagumma
    Replies:
    13
    Views:
    972
  3. Sirocka
    Replies:
    5
    Views:
    1,812
  4. Lucky13
    Replies:
    6
    Views:
    956
  5. Marshall_Stack
    Replies:
    61
    Views:
    7,322

Share This Page