I know that Bell intends to have a gunship varient of the V280, or at least is pitching the idea, but so far I've not been able to find much more than a few publicity illos that really don't give a good view of it. Has anyone found any detailed (text or illo) information about the concept?
Embodying many innovatory features and designed by Robert J Woods, the FM-1 Airacuda was a five-seat long-range bomber destroyer. Powered by two engines mounted as pushers, the Airacuda accommodated two gunners in forward extensions of the engine nacelles, these crew members being provided with wing crawlways enabling them to gain the fuselage in the event that it proved necessary to evacuate the nacelle gun positions. The prototype, the XFM-1 powered by two 1150hp Allison V-1710-13 12-cylinder liquid-cooled engines driving three-blade propellers via 1.62m extension shafts, was flown on 1 September 1937. Twelve evaluation models were subsequently ordered, nine as YFM-1s and three as YFM-1As which differed in having tricycle undercarriages. Power was provided by 1,150hp Allison V-1710-23s, but three YFM-!s were completed with V-1710-41s of 1,090hp as YFM-1Bs. The 12 YFMs were delivered to the USAAC between February and October 1940, and their armament comprised one 37mm T-9 cannon with 110 rounds in each engine nacelle, one 7.62mm M-2 machine gun with 500 rounds in each of the retractable dorsal turret and ventral tunnel positions, and one 12.7mm M-2 gun firing from each of the port and starboard beam positions. Twenty 13.6kg bombs could be accommodated internally.
FACTS AND FIGURES
Take-off weight 8618 kg 19000 lb
Wingspan 21.33 m 70 ft 0 in
Length 14.00 m 46 ft 11 in
Height 3.78 m 12 ft 5 in
Wing area 55.74 m2 599.98 sq ft
Max. speed 431 km/h 268 mph
Range 2687 km 1670 miles
A Bell FM-1 Airacuda mockup at the Langley Aeronautical Laboratory wind tunnel at Hampton, Virginia (USA). Not a "real" aircraft, this full-size mockup of the Bell FM-1 Airacuda was tested in Langley's 30 x 60 Full Scale Tunnel in 1937.