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Rivals to the Grumman E-2

Pioneer

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Pyrrhic victory said:
As a side note on the E-2 in general, its been said that Vought's E-2 submission was superior to Grumman's but the contract went to Grumman anyway. The more aerodynamic antannae from Vought's proposal found its way into the Hawkeye.

Do you have any pics or drawings of this Vought E-2 design submission/study????

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Pioneer
 

Pioneer

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Didn’t someone team with Fokker to propose a carrier-based variant of the Fokker F.28, powered by GE 404 turbofans?
Now saying this I know they proposed a tanker and COD variant!
But I can not recall if there was a proposed AEW variant?

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Mark Nankivil

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Hi Pioneer -

Sorry to say no on the Vought E-2 proposal - I at least know where not to look next time :)

Enjoy the Day! Mark
 

Bill S

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Vought's proposal was the V-404

Here is a three view from the Vought Retiree Club Archives

bill
 

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Pioneer

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Oh Bill – What can I say, except that you are a legend!!!
I have been looking for the Vought carrier-based AAEW proposal and competitor of the winning Grumman E-2 Hawkeye, almost since I could read.
This was one of the Request for Proposals / competition that started my quest for information on WS, RFP, OR’s etc…………….
Are there any specs, drawings artist impressions on this V-404?????

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Pioneer
 

Bill S

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Pioneer,

I have to go back to my scans and see if I grabbed more than the 3 view, if not I know where the original is.

bill
 

Abraham Gubler

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The V-404 design (WU ?) is an interesting approach to centre of gravity issues having the VHF/UHF antenna for the GE APS-96 right aft at the tail position. Though the raisable above fuselage position on the E-2 (W2F) would probably give it a better field of regard.
 

Pioneer

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photogator said:
Pioneer,

I have to go back to my scans and see if I grabbed more than the 3 view, if not I know where the original is.

bill

Thanks mate!
 

Tailspin Turtle

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According to the oral history of George Spangenberg, who had just become Director of BuAer's Evaluation Division at the time, Vought had the better proposal in the competition "won" by Grumman with what became the E-2. It was the second time that Grumman took an AEW contract away from Vought (the first was the WF instead of the WU). The following is an excerpt from http://www.georgespangenberg.com/dadsbio.htm:

(The E-2) started as a W2F. It was the only competition that I was involved in that I thought was dishonest. The winner didn't win. Vought won the competition. It was a replacement of course for the WF-2. Bigger radar, whatnot. Vought came up with the idea of the retarded wave antenna which allowed a thinner radome, much thinner than the WF-2. The Vought arrangement had the radome light enough that they could locate it at the tail of the airplane so it looked strange. But all the wind tunnel tests were excellent. The performance was excellent. The weight, cost, flying qualities, everything. They won the competition. The original Grumman entry was a conventional radome with the dish rotating within it. In those days we wrote a memorandum winding up a competition, signed by our Assistant Chief to the Chief and via all the other Assistant Chiefs. There had been agreement. "Okay, Vought won, we're going to go ahead", and that's what the memo said.

I went on vacation and while I was in Hartford with my family, I picked up the paper and lo and behold the Navy announced Grumman was the winner. I came back after the vacation to find out what had happened? Why? And it turned out that the head of the production division said Grumman is running out of fighters, the F9Fs were through. They were too far away from the A2F to be satisfied with its production. So he said Grumman needs the work and they ought to get it. The total Navy buy at the time was something that was programmed at seventy airplanes. Well, from my standpoint I didn't see that the Grumman production problem was going to be solved by the E-2 by any means, what they were looking for then was hundreds of airplanes.

I was very, very upset because I thought we had a system that worked and it worked because we were honest and this I thought was dishonest. I pointed out to my boss, Mr. Frisbie, who apparently had gone along with this thing because the Chief, or the Assistant Chief or somebody said to. I think Adm. Schoech was the one that backed down. He was our Assistant Chief at the time.

When I got back (from vacation) I got told to go pick up my memo. I said, "You've got a signed and approved memo that's in the system and here you're giving the contract to another guy." So I got told to go pick the memo up and I refused. I wouldn't have anything to do with it.

Schoech had signed it. So it had gone through the system and had been approved. Finally they got one of the further down the line guys at that time, Charlie Butt, who later became Head of the Proposals Branch. Charlie got told to go pick up the memos and destroy them. So Charlie went and picked them up but he didn't destroy them all.

It was done within the Navy but I thought it was dishonest because I said the least you can do is to say to Vought you won the competition and we'll pay you for your efforts or something like that. But for other reasons -- this was what we'd done on the PBB years before when again Vought had won the competition and they decided they needed another producer in the seaplane field but they announced that Vought was the winner, paid him for his proposal work, turned the work over to Boeing and then Boeing submitted another proposal that we eventually bought. And I thought they should do the same thing.

I wouldn't debrief (Vought). I wouldn't tell them why they lost and the word got around.

They knew they had won. The retarded wave antennae gave them such an aerodynamic advantage and no one else had it.

Eventually that technology went into the E-2. But that technology was in the Vought proposal, it was not in the Grumman proposal so Grumman redid their proposal eventually and picked up the Vought technology.

I think that the production chief's decision was wrong because it didn't solve the problem he was trying to solve and it screwed up our 100% record of being honest in my opinion. You'll find that I've written this in some of these presentations I've given. I thought that we had an honesty record that I called 98%. We lost a couple of percentage points because of the overturning of that decision. Other ones got overturned but we couldn't help it. The Bell X-22 got overturned outside the Navy. The PBB flying boat one was handled honestly. The F-111 I didn't count because it was Air Force management and it was overturned outside the Navy. I've got a letter still from I guess Detwiller, then at Vought, to Jim Russell saying what the hell do we do now? Do we still play the game? Do we get into the next competition? Are you going to tell us whether we have a chance and so on?

Vought ended up in deep trouble. The F8U-3 was being cancelled. The Regulus program was being cancelled and one other thing down there. Anyway, they were really in more trouble than Grumman.
 

Pioneer

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Wow

Great informative find Tailspin Turtle

Poor old Vought got the short end of the stick!
Whilst Grumman for too many years utilized its in-depth relationship with the 'brass' of the US Navy
Corruption in the Forces?
'No it would never happen'

Count also the U.S Navy's bulls*%t, which did everything in its power to crush the chances of the LTV/GD Model 1600/1601 chances of winning the NACF comp - I think an even playing field for Vought/LTV had long been dead!

Many thanks again!!!!!!!

Regards
Pioneer
 

Tailspin Turtle

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Spangenberg apparently referred to very little in the way of notes and documents during his oral history sessions and as a result, there are a few errors and inconsistencies. There are also some errors in the transcription, since he probably didn't have a chance to review it before he was killed in a car accident. Hal Andrews did go over it before Spangenberg's daughter put it online but Hal, being Hal, was reluctant to change any of George's words except for misspellings.

At one point I thought about converting the oral history into a book and had his daughter's blessing to do so. I offered it along with a couple of other projects to a few publishers but the only bite was on Naval Air Superiority, which does of course include some of George's thoughts and remarks, as does Strike from the Sea.

In this case, it appears that George was a little off on the timelines of the programs. The source selection for the AEW airplane was made early in 1957. The source selection of the A-6 would not be made until late 1957 and Grumman didn't even get a development contract until early 1958. It would appear that the E-2 was in fact a consolation prize (or as we in industry used to say, "It was their turn.") for the loss of an earlier fighter development program: Grumman's unsolicited Design 118 proposal for an alternative to the F4H was rejected by BuAer in mid-1956 in favor of Vought's F8U-(3) proposal. The F11F was in production but clearly inferior to the F8U-1 so only about 200 airplanes were to be built. However, George is correct as to the basics: in the opinion of the Admiral running BuAer and his superiors, at the time Grumman needed the development work and potential of production more than Vought.

BuAer/NavAir gaveth and tooketh away. Vought was the benefactor of F5U/F6U/F7U development and/or production with F4U/AUs being built into the early 1950s. Vought beat Douglas with its excellent A-7 proposal and got beaten by McDonnell's F-18 (one if by land and two if by sea). Grumman's comeuppance was the A-12 versus the A-6F and the F-18E/F versus the F-14 alternatives. It will be interesting to see what the production rates of the F-18E/F and F-35C are in the coming years...
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Chance Vought patent for the V-404 antenna.

http://www.google.com/patents?id=FWNpAAAAEBAJ
 

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Tailspin Turtle

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overscan said:
Chance Vought patent for the V-404 antenna.

http://www.google.com/patents?id=FWNpAAAAEBAJ

Excellent. Since I'd never heard of a "retarded array antenna" as Spangenberg called it, I was asking my AEW-knowlegeable friends if they knew the term and also trying to figure out what he could have said that had been mistranscribed as "retarded array". According to the patent description, column 5 lines 40-45, the inventor did in fact refer to it as a retarded array. It appears that Spangenberg was also correct in calling it a Vought invention, whereas I had assumed that it was a GE radar that Vought was utilizing. Thanks very much.
 

blackstar

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Pioneer said:
Didn’t someone team with Fokker to propose a carrier-based variant of the Fokker F.28, powered by GE 404 turbofans?
Now saying this I know they proposed a tanker and COD variant!
But I can not recall if there was a proposed AEW variant?

Yes, there was an F.28 proposal for a carrier COD. I remember seeing one-page ads for it in US Naval Institute Proceedings in the early-mid 1980s. I can remember wondering how they would ever land something that big on a carrier. It did not seem practical. But the artwork possibly had a problem with perspective, as I seem to remember it looking like it was going to take out the carrier's island on landing. The plane itself did not have a large wingspan, however. I'll have to browse through some old copies of Proceedings to see if I can find the artwork.
 

Bill S

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Here are some more V-404 drawings.
Source Vought Historical Archives.


bill
 

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Hobbes

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Tailspin Turtle said:
According to the oral history of George Spangenberg, who had just become Director of BuAer's Evaluation Division at the time, Vought had the better proposal in the competition "won" by Grumman with what became the E-2.

Interesting.
In Chris Gibson's book 'The Admiralty and AEW', the V-404 gets a brief mention; according to him, the E-2 was chosen over the Vought design because the E-2 had more room for growth.
 

Tailspin Turtle

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Hobbes said:
Tailspin Turtle said:
According to the oral history of George Spangenberg, who had just become Director of BuAer's Evaluation Division at the time, Vought had the better proposal in the competition "won" by Grumman with what became the E-2.

Interesting.
In Chris Gibson's book 'The Admiralty and AEW', the V-404 gets a brief mention; according to him, the E-2 was chosen over the Vought design because the E-2 had more room for growth.

Thanks for the reference. However, it turns out that I have Armistead's book and not Gibson's, which is out of print according to Amazon. However, I think Spangenberg's version can be relied on. I briefly compared the Vought and Grumman three-views and don't see any obvious reason why the E-2 had more room for growth.
 

taildragger

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Tailspin Turtle said:
Hobbes said:
Tailspin Turtle said:
According to the oral history of George Spangenberg, who had just become Director of BuAer's Evaluation Division at the time, Vought had the better proposal in the competition "won" by Grumman with what became the E-2.

Interesting.
In Chris Gibson's book 'The Admiralty and AEW', the V-404 gets a brief mention; according to him, the E-2 was chosen over the Vought design because the E-2 had more room for growth.

Thanks for the reference. However, it turns out that I have Armistead's book and not Gibson's, which is out of print according to Amazon. However, I think Spangenberg's version can be relied on. I briefly compared the Vought and Grumman three-views and don't see any obvious reason why the E-2 had more room for growth.

I don't know much about late-50s radar technology, but if growth meant additional equipment that had to be placed near the antenna, the the Vought airplane could easily run into CG problems that wouldn't be a factor for the Hawkeye with it's antenna roughly at the center of lift.
 

Abraham Gubler

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taildragger said:
I don't know much about late-50s radar technology, but if growth meant additional equipment that had to be placed near the antenna, the the Vought airplane could easily run into CG problems that wouldn't be a factor for the Hawkeye with it's antenna roughly at the center of lift.

The separation of the antenna to the radar transmitter is quite common on many applications other than fighter jets. You just join the two with a wave guide. As long as the aircraft has the environmental control to handle heat increases from the wave guide if the radar increases its power via upgrade it’s not an issue. On the Hawkeye the radar transmitter is located at the front of the aircraft like the Vought design. The only difference is the wave guide is probably 1/2 to 2/3 the length.
 

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This Grumman factory model shows what the W2F-1 looked like in July, 1956, when it was competing against the Vought V-404. Note low-wing design and 3-bladed props.
 

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Pioneer

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Wow another amazing find by Circle-5!!!!!!!

Also of note is the two-fin arrangement - as opposed to the four on the production model!

Thanks for sharing :)

Regards
Pioneer
 

circle-5

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Thank you Pioneer. Your appreciation is appreciated. Attached is perhaps a better angle, revealing the early, solid rotodome mast fairing. Looks a bit like Snoopy.
 

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famvburg

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Makes me think of a big Mohawk.

circle-5 said:
Thank you Pioneer. Your appreciation is appreciated. Attached is perhaps a better angle, revealing the early, solid rotodome mast fairing. Looks a bit like Snoopy.
 

Bill S

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Here are a few more V-404 illustrations from the microfilm at VAHF.


A little different looking aircraft in all views,
most notable the width of the horizontal stabilizer
and shape of the nose/windshield area.


bill
 

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Mark Nankivil

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Good Day All -

I have become the happy and grateful caretaker of a significant number of 4x5 negatives of models that were tested in the LTV/Vought Low Speed Wing Tunnel (LSWT) along with a number of the test reports. As I sort thru the whole lot (guessing 4,000+ negatives), there is plenty there to share as they get scanned and identified.

Starting off, here is an image of what may be the V-404 though the radome placement, and especially it's thick cross section, has me unsure about that ID. Thoughts?

Enjoy the Day! Mark
 

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Tailspin Turtle

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Mark Nankivil said:
Good Day All -

I have become the happy and grateful caretaker of a significant number of 4x5 negatives of models that were tested in the LTV/Vought Low Speed Wing Tunnel (LSWT) along with a number of the test reports. As I sort thru the whole lot (guessing 4,000+ negatives), there is plenty there to share as they get scanned and identified.

Starting off, here is an image of what may be the V-404 though the radome placement, and especially it's thick cross section, has me unsure about that ID. Thoughts?

Enjoy the Day! Mark

Well, it actually looks like they probably wasted their time with the model and the test - at first glance, the empennage was unlikely to have been very effective behind that blivet. The proposed V-404 also had the engine intakes below rather than above.
 

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TomS

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Looks like it's probably an older concept, before the new antenna technology mentioned in Spangenberg's notes. That radome looks very much like the Tracer's very fat airfoil shaped dome. Could it be an evolutionary study out of the E-1/S-2 design prior to V-404?
 

Mark Nankivil

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Saw that too Tommy - plus the engine nacelles are different from the drawings. Well, hope to clear this up as I work my way thru the negatives and test reports....

Enjoy the Day! Mark
 

Bill S

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In the summary of Engineering Report 9963 V-404 Progress Summary and Design Philosophy Report dated November 15, 1955 stated “In expectation of a Navy Competition, studies of a carrier-based Airborne Early Warning – Combat Information Center (AEW-CIC) airplane are being made.” The basis of this report was the summary of preliminary conclusions about the probable make up of the aircraft. The conclusion they reached had a 40,000lb airplane powered by two T-56 turbo-prop engines with a crew of at least five.

The problem set they used was detection against an attacker cruising at 0.9mn until intercepted and they accelerated to 1.5mn for combat and fleet engagement. The assumed armament of the attacker was a air to surface missile with a 25 nm range. Fleet defense came from deck launched interceptors that did not launch until the attacker is detected and identified by the AEW aircraft. In the design studies to meet that problem set they estimated that the minimum detection range from the fleet was 350nm, the AEW mission time was 8 hours (including takeoff and landing) and one AEW crew makes only one flight per day.

The report had general arrangements for several different studies out of at least twenty-four that were completed. Not getting into all the detail on how it was arrived at, the studies concluded that “a high tail-mounted radar antenna represented the optimum arrangement subject to solution of inherent aerodynamic problems.”

I am fairly certain that Mark will find some of these other study configurations in the wind tunnel photos that he picked up from the VAHF recently.
 

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Pioneer

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Some great information and amazing drawings thank you Bill S!!

Regards
Pioneer
 

Bill S

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The Douglas Model 701 was a rival to the E-2 Hawkeye in the OS-139 competition, I found a couple of things at NARA II about it
Here are the general arrangement and a wind tunnel model from report ES 26249 Study AEW Airplane proposal Specification OS-139 4-20-1956

Douglas-Model-701-AEW-Airplane-Study-General-Arrangement.jpg . ES-141959-AEW-920-AEW-Study-4-11-56x.jpg
 

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