Which aircraft would you cancel?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Koopernic, May 22, 2015.

  1. Koopernic

    Koopernic Active Member

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    History shows many promising aircraft that were cancelled. It also shows many that received a huge injection of resources that was taken from other programs but themselves had poor combat records or were problematic. These aircraft came at an opportunity cost: draftsmen, engineers, test pilots, wind tunnel testing time and factory floor space were all taken up.

    Which would you cancel?
     
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  2. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    I assume you are talking WWII or just after.

    For the U.S.A., I'd cancel the P-39 without the turbocharger, would try to add the turbocharger to the P-40 or go with the P-40Q in lieu of other P-40's, and probably cancel the P-61 and but buy the 2-stage P-63.

    For the Germans, I'd get control of R&D and develop a successor to the Bf 109 / Fw 190 while NOT builing hundreds of prototypes that went nowhere. I would NOT spend ANY resource on rocket planes, but would go with one of the strategic bombers like the Me 264, He 177/277.

    For the British, I'd probably cancel the Boulton-Paul Defiant as impractical, the Roc and Skua on performance, the Botha for same, the Sterling for same, and would increase Spirfires while cutting down Hurricanes after the Spirfire was developed and shown to be good. I bet Hawker could have built some in lieu of more Hurricanes.

    Of course, this is all with "hindsight." There's more, but hindsight has pretty good vision. If I were in the service at the time, things might not have been so clear.

    Cancelling things is easy when you know what's going to happen.
     
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  3. kool kitty89

    kool kitty89 Well-Known Member

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    Maybe cancel the Typhoon and put an emphasis on Hawker just building more Spitfires (and Hurricanes). Maybe drop the Saber entirely in favor of more Merlins and actually get the Spitfire Mk.III into service with better all-around performance than the Mk.V?
     
  4. Greyman

    Greyman Active Member

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    Fairey Battle
     
  5. Edgar Brooks

    Edgar Brooks Active Member

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    Me109, Me110, Ju52, Ju87, Ju88, Dornier 217, Heinkel 111.
    Bingo, no WWII.
     
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  6. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Battle - maybe after 500 produced?
    Roc is a given here, produce more Skuas instead. Not sure that Albacore is such a great idea, better go with a monoplane instead. Botha also needs to go.

    USA - axe the P-63 and P-75, produce P-51 instead. The P-40Q does not add anything for Allied war effort late in war, Curtiss would need to sort out their production of P-47G.

    SU - cancel the Su-2.
     
  7. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Without using the retrospectroscope some planes are harder to cancel than others, we also have to stick to a somewhat consistent time line.

    But some aircraft should have been no brainers. Like the Botha, Bigger wing than a Blenheim, fatter fuselage with extra crewman, about 1 ton heavier (20%) empty and using the same size engines (granted a sleeve valve version but still?) what miracle did they think was going to happen to give it decent performance?

    There is some excuse for the Skua, it might not have been a very good fighter but without it the RN is left with the Swordfish as a dive bomber. Theory behind the Defiant may have been flawed. Using that theory for the much slower Blackburn Roc is really expecting your enemies total co-operation to get it to work. Some flying boats were about as fast as the Roc.

    The Battle gets a bit of a bad rap. Used for something it wasn't really intended for (tactical support), it couldn't do it's original job either without horrendous losses due to changing conditions, when spec'ed and first issued interceptors had two machine guns. It was the plane that equipped and trained the rapidly expanding RAF and commonwealth forces. Without it you need several thousand crew trainers of a slightly different type. You don't get another 2000 single engine combat planes or 1000 twins and leave training command trying to use Gypsy Moths as crew trainers.

    Planning for the British is complicated (much like the other nations) by engine development.
    The Vulture first runs in May of 1937. 42.5L
    The Sabre first runs in Jan of 1938. 36.6L
    The Centaurus first runs in July of 1938. 53.6L
    The Griffon first runs in Nov of 1939. 36.7L

    Now which engine is likely to give you much more power than a Merlin or Hercules and when.
    The Vulture and Griffon should have been the low risk/fast development engines. The Vulture turned out to more troublesome than anticipated and the Griffon was late before being put on hold.

    Stopping the Sabre might have saved millions but building thousands more Hurricanes was probably not a good idea (most/all showing up in 1942-44?).
     
  8. rochie

    rochie Well-Known Member

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    The F6-f,the F4u Corsair would of done the job !
     
  9. Elmas

    Elmas Active Member

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    At night, having to land on a carrier with, say, beaufort 8, douglas 7, personally I would have certainly choosen to have some very soft anatomical formations of my body inside an F6F than on a F4U.....
     
  10. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    With hindsight the He177, Me163, He162, Me210 (before tooling, just wait for the 410), Ta-154, He-219, Ju288 (before it started tooling and its engine), and Ju290.
     
  11. rochie

    rochie Well-Known Member

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    Given those conditions the pucker factor Sat in either would of been rather high
     
  12. Marcel

    Marcel Well-Known Member

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  13. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    I would perhaps rethink that, since the Tiffy was a beast and could be compared to the Thunderbolt in regards to ruggedness, warload and being capable of scouring the enemy from the face of the earth.
     
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  14. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    They are resource hogs and 1930s Germany didn't have enough resources to go around. That includes Ural Bomber, Bomber A and Bomber B (including 24 cylinder engine programs).

    Instead Germany should go full speed ahead on less costly DB603 engine / Do-217 bomber combination. It will satisfy most German heavy bomber requirements at a cost they can afford.
     
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  15. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    For the UK So many where do you start,

    Botha, Albacore, Fulmar, Roc, Sterling, Whitley, Warwick, Albemarle, Battle, Defiant, Lerwick, Sea Otter, Albecore

    The scary thing is that they all entered production, there not prototypes, the waste of resources is huge
     
  16. kool kitty89

    kool kitty89 Well-Known Member

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    Cancel XP-72 development on the drawing board and continue the preceding XP-47J program. (even without the hindsight of the XP-72's problems, the limited usefulness of a heavier aircraft with higher wing loading and much greater fuel consumption would seem unattractive, especially with the shift in emphasis towards long range escort capabilities -with the P-47J actually improving on all those qualities compared to the existing P-47D)



    Saying what to cancel without also suggesting alternate development for alternatives (rather than nothing and just more of existing engines) is a bit tricky. Arguing for ONLY Merlin and Hercules production has a lot of drawbacks and the existing Griffon was a bit late in development even without delays.

    If you open things up to including more conservative mass production adaptations of the R engines, omitting some of the advances (including reduction in frontal area) the Griffon targeted, it very well may have expedited production.

    Doing to the Buzzard what the Peregrine did for the Kestrel, more or less. (except development timeline is a bit different with the Buzzard having little interest and racing-specific R seeing much greater development but not being engineered with mass production in mind)


    Range, altitude, and dive performance were all lacking compared to the P-47. The Typhoon's wing was the big limiting factor and while the more advanced airfoil of the Tempest obviously added a great deal, a more conventional (but still thinner) airfoil section would have made plenty of sense on an earlier design ... but I wasn't delving into that given the context of cancellation and not specifically adding alternative developments. (still, something more akin to the Spitfire's wing, but larger, would be much more useful ... or P-47's ... among others -plenty of middleground between the Spit's thin airfoil section and the Hurricane and Typhoon's as well as more compromises for lower lift lower drag airfoils than the spitfires, offering easier use of thicker sections as well -for capacity and strength- without going to the point of the Typhoon; the P-39 seems to have made a reasonable compromise with a NACA 0015 section used at the root)

    But even with all of that said, the wing is really the issue not just on the Typhoon, but also what limited the Hurricane's potential for growth compared to the likes of the Spitfire, 109, and even P-40. So there's a fair argument for a heavy redesign to the Hurricane's wing while retaining enough commonality on the overall aircraft to have production advantages over the Typhoon or even shifting to spitfire production. The Hurricane should have been even easier to adapt to the Griffon than the Spitfire as well, but regardless of that a more efficient wing that was still quite large in area/volume could have made the Hurricane much more capable with the Merlin alone. (from armament to fuel capacity making it a much more flexible and better performing long range intruder/fighter bomber as well as a more competent fighter)
     
  17. l'Omnivore Sobriquet

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    #17 l'Omnivore Sobriquet, May 22, 2015
    Last edited: May 22, 2015
    B-32 Dominator, eventually...
    Apart from that...

    Hinsight gives a false advice. It is really at decision time that this "what do you cancel" challenge should be thought about. Something like the Me-163 Komet is absolutely impossible to cancel, at decison-making time... Forget about later historical insight.

    The case could be made that an obvious battle winner like the Stuka could well have been cancelled, at decision time, forgetting later history : had it met a Lufwaffe-brand opposition, including flak. By mid-war dive-bombing was obsolete, because of AAA mainly. Well modern AAA was indeed pionneered by Lufwaffe's flak as early as 1940 (Fairey Battles, Bréguet 693s...), so the case could be made that Ju-87 was a weird choice right from the start... Add a strong 1940-brand opposition of swarms of Messerschmidtts on top...

    I read a long list of British "should have been cancelled" planes... but again this is too easy. I notice that the Sworfish is absent from this list... Historical hinsight again. Of course.. But had the Swordfish contribution been limited to one experience like the escape of Scharnhorst 'n Gneisenau (to pick something telling), I could hear the loud cries here, about "utter nonsense" et al.

    It's all too easy to pick, war proven successes, or failures.
    Two years before they go to fight, this is the challenge.
    And it's all too hard a thread too contribute, this, really..
    Cruel.
    I don't wan't to cancel any.

    Okay... I could barely admit that, eventually, in 1945, a transonic dive-bomber without air-brakes bound to be operated at almost zero hight, Henshel Hs-132 wise, could be an idea prone to reconsideration.
    But that's the maximum I will allow.
     
  18. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    However, the Tiffy was the only British aircraft that could get down and meet the Fw190 on it's own terms early on AND it was comparable to the P-47, like I said, in it's warload - meaning it was a brutal ground attack aircraft, leaving no stone unturned.

    The GA contributions made by the Typhoon made it an invaluable weapon in the British war chest, in spite of it's limited range. Add to that, it being a formidible adversary in a gunfight along with it's ability to absorbe damage on a level of the P-47 adds to it's value.

    There were a great deal of other aircraft that the British fielded, that could have been done without, but saying they didn't need the Tiffy is like saying the U.S. had no use for the P-47.
     
  19. Koopernic

    Koopernic Active Member

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    So rugged its tail broke off, it never was faster than the Fw 190 at any altitude despite the boasts, fancy engine and best fuels and I doubt 4 Hispanos are much more powefull than 4 Mg 151/20 plus a pair of Machine guns. It didn't even offer much range. Napiers would be better utilised making 2 speed Merlins which might have improved the Spitfire V. It might justify itself in leading to the tempest V but you didn't need to produce it.

    Think of the long range spitfire viii that might have been built as well.

    Interestingly it was cancelled, twice. Once was rescinded when the Fw 190 appeared.

    You might have gotten two spitfires for every typhoon.
     
  20. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Hi Koopernic,

    For a thread I originally didn't think would generate much interest, this is turning out very interesting. You never know, and that's why we read them all ... to see what gets generated.

    Got any more great ideas?

    I have to disagree with the "P-40Q couldn't add much" idea, but that's OK. It looks like none of us would do exactly the same thing. That's why the people in power at the time made all the difference ... they did what THEY thought was right.
     
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