Allied emergency fighters

cluttonfred

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There is a lot of info out there on Axis, especially German, prototypes and projects for emergency fighters--generally small, simple, easy-to-mass produce alternatives to exisiting fighters often using non-strategic materials like wood and mild steel. I'd like to learn more about Allied emergency fighter prototypes and projects, especially those conceived or built during the early years of WWII when things were looking pretty grim. I am not talking about desperate expedients like arming light trainers, I mean aircraft designed as emergency fighters.

Off the top of my head I can think of two (not counting the Commonwealth Boomerang, which actually entered production):

1) The British Miles M.20 (1940-41, two prototypes) used the same Merlin engine as the early Hurricane and Spitfire (actually the firewall-forward "power egg" from a Lancaster or Beaufighter) and managed to be faster than the Hurricane and a little slower than the Spifire despite the fixed gear. With thick wings and no undercart to stow it had room for twice the fuel and ammo of the other designs, which would have made for an excellent combat radius or long loiter time on patrol. Its wooden construction (based mostly on Master advanced trainer components) did not compete for the limited alloy suppy. But once the Battle of Britain was won and production of other fighters had caught up, there was little need. The second prototype to a shipboard fighter specification was also not picked up, perhaps because of naval suspicion of wooden construction and because the outmoded Spits and Hurricanes were already being converted for naval use.



2) The American Bell XP-77 (1941-44, two prototypes) was a lighweight, low-powered fighter designed to use non-strategic wood in its construction. It had racy lines and good ground handling thanks to the retractable tricycle gear, but the two prototypes proved overwieght, underpowered and tricky to fly, one being lost when the pilot bailed out unable to recover from a spin.



Does anyone have any more Allied emergency fighter projects? Perhaps paper or prototype competitiors to the XP-77 to start?

Cheers,

Matthew
 

smurf

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There was this one:
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,1338.0/highlight,percival+mew+gull.html
 

cluttonfred

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Thanks, guys, though I did say in my original post...

I am not talking about desperate expedients like arming light trainers, I mean aircraft designed as emergency fighters.

Off the top of my head I can think of two (not counting the Commonwealth Boomerang, which actually entered production)....
;D

The MB2 is certainly in the right ballpark, does anyone know of any more?
 

smurf

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Mole, there were only two posted, and you accepted the MB2 .
That was designed as a private venture to Specification F5/34, along with half a dozen other fighter designs none of which were
small, simple, easy-to-mass produce alternatives to existing fighters often using non-strategic materials like wood and mild steel.
MB2 fiirst flew in 1938, but after modification it was abandoned in 1939 with no interest from the RAF, so it doesn't fit your early wartime time slot either.

Did you actually read the thread I suggested?
I should have said that what I already know is from The British Fighter since 1912 Peter Lewis 1965
Quote
the single-seat Percival P.33AB with a 1300hp Merlin and four .303 Brownings - which was expected to have a top speed of 352mph and would have resembled an enlarged Mew Gull fitted with a retractable undercarriage.
Silvester's Percival and Hunting Aircraft says
Quote
based on the aerodynamic configuration of the Mew Gull but somewhat larger
and that the Merlin XX was to be used.
The design was in competition with the Miles M20
I was hoping someone might know how much larger, and perhaps even have a drawing.
Which drawing Lark provided. At 6300lb, the P33 was a tad bigger than the Mew Gull.
 

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Pepe Rezende

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You forgot the Miles Master Fighter, a one place version of the Miles Master Mk1a trainer, armed with six Browning machinguns
 

smurf

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alternatives to exisiting fighters often using non-strategic materials like wood
DH Mosquito? ::)
It was designed as a bomber, after all, and the Beaufighter was a bit slow as a night fighter.
 

Pioneer

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A great subject Mole
Thanks for bringing it up.

Thankfully for the poor pilots, we didn’t need to resort to such second rate aircraft.
But it was wise to have investigated such basic designs, when all seemed so bleak, as apposed to just giving up!

I wonder if any of the these prototypes – such as the Miles M.20 and Bell XP-77 were ever put up against the then standard fighters of the day – i.e. ‘dissimilar air combat’ to see how they faired?
Would be interesting to find out!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Regards
Pioneer
 

r16

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as ever a superb contribution by Justo Miranda , but ı think the PZL 50 was a regular project and there might be others as well
 

lark

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An excellent contribution Justo..
I just knew that you had a few beauties in your files.
Thanks a lot.
 

Nick Sumner

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Thankyou Justo - fascinating posts!

May I ask what is the Chinese fighter with the forward swept wing?

Also the VEF Irbitis I-19 seems to be powered by an X block engine. Is it a DB 604? Or perhaps a Kamm Gruppenmotor?
 

Antonio

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May I ask what is the Chinese fighter with the forward swept wing?
It is the Yench'ü (Experimental Pursuit, XP-1) fighter prototype built by the No.1 Aircraft Factory in Canton. It was completed in 1943 but crashed during the first test flight (autumn that year). Design started by C L Zakharchenko as the D-2 in 1942. Engine: Wright Cyclone.

Source: A History of Chinese Aviation until 1949. Lennart Andersson. AHS of ROC.

Justo's image is slightly different from illustrations and photo in the book. Probably it depicts the intended production configuration?

BTW, who was C L Zakharchenko?
 

Justo Miranda

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Karl Irbitis proposed building a composite engine MI-02 connecting three D.H. Gypsy Six to each other to make an inverted "Y" 6-bank ,36 cylinder air cooled power plant.
 

Nick Sumner

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Thankyou Pometablava!

Justo, so a very similar concept to the Kamm Gruppenmotors then? Three Gypsy 6 would only give about 600 hp and have 18 cylinders though. Do you mean three Gypsy XIIs? That would have 36 cylinders and about 1300 hp.
 

Grey Havoc

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Skyblazer said:
From Race with the Wind: How Air Racing Advanced Aviation, by Birch Matthews (MBI, 2001):

"With the war already waging in Europe, race pilot Harry Crosby turned his attentions to a lightweight interceptor for the Air Corps. The design was influenced by his CR-4 race plane. Unlike the all-metal CR-4, however, Crosby's CIP-5 proposal was based upon wood, a nonstrategic material. The CIP-5 was to be powered by an air-cooled Ranger V-770. The Air Corps was not interested."
Another source states that Mattson Compton helped Crosby with the design.


Non-strategic materials, Ranger V-770... This seems like an obvious contender for the Bell XP-77 to me!
 

pathology_doc

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Pioneer said:
Thankfully for the poor pilots, we didn’t need to resort to such second rate aircraft.
But it was wise to have investigated such basic designs, when all seemed so bleak, as apposed to just giving up!

I wonder if any of the these prototypes – such as the Miles M.20 and Bell XP-77 were ever put up against the then standard fighters of the day – i.e. ‘dissimilar air combat’ to see how they faired?

I think the M.20 has to come close to the top of the list for "emergency aircraft we'd like to have seen in combat". If nothing else, it might have allowed diversion of strategic materials from Hurricane to Spitfire production and could have replaced the Hurricane in the anti-bomber role.


As for dissimilar combat, no doubt there are number crunchers among us who would love to play with figures, and those who put rare or never-built aircraft into expansion packs of air combat simulators have the same problems to solve. Just how do you compare them? Straight-line speed and climb rate are the obvious indices (ideally both plotted against altitude), but there are equally important considerations such as turn rate and radius, and acceleration. This means you need good guesses as to drag coefficient, power available at height and so forth, and it can all get rather complicated rather quickly.


Then of course there are the quirks of individual designs - unpredictable behaviour near the stall, tendency to shed bits under heavy combat structural loadings (or conversely the idiosyncratic* ability of a particular design to survive massive amounts of combat damage), long cowling lengths leading to poor gunnery in high-angle turning dogfights and so forth.


* = Ultimately traceable IMO to the peculiarities of detail design: how the control runs are arranged, structural redundancies where applicable in this generation of fighters, position of fuel tanks and armour, and so forth; but all this is so dependent on what sort of fire is being taken from what angle and at what range that the variables are impossible to predict. Add to that the issue of QC from the factory and you're up for some real fun debating the ins and outs of how well they would have worked.
 

Grey Havoc

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From Tony Buttler’s ‘British Secret Projects, Fighters and Bombers 1935-1950.

Prototype Defiant K8310 eventually had its turret removed and in August 1940 was flown as an unarmed flying demonstrator for a fixed-gun version called P.94, which was intended for rapid production using many complete Defiant components. The P94 had the turret replaced by 12 0.303” MG disposed in each side of the wing centre section in nests of six – 4 20mm cannon replacing 8 of the 0.303” in two nests of two each were an alternative while the MG could also be depressed 17 degrees for ground attack work. P.94 had a 1,100hp Merlin XX, which offered a maximum speed of 360mph at 21.700ft, a sea level climb of 3,250ft.min and would get to 25,000ft in 8.1 minutes. To allow the type to act as a long range fighter two 30-gallon auxiliary tanks could be carried and in production the aircraft would use standard Defiant jigs. The P94 was never ordered but Boulton Paul also proposed to convert the now single seat Defiant prototype into a 4 cannon fighter demonstrator. The Air Ministry’s rejection of this idea was recorded at a company board meeting on 26th September 1940.
 

kaiserd

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Both the recent “WW2” US “secret projects” book and the recent revamp/ new addition of the equivalent British “secret projects” book have details on such aircraft.
Both strongly recommended.
 
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