Seaplane Jetfighters


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I would like to start a new thread today, about a kind of combat aircraft, that was very succesful in WW I, used in small numbers with mediocre success during WW II and became more or less extinct after the war with the end of the ‘50s: The seaplane fighter. The two well known post-war types and the only ones to reach the stage of flying hardware, were the british Saunders S.44 / SR A/1 and the US american Convair XF2Y Seadart. There probably were good reasons, that the seaplane jetfighter didn't reach maturity, nevertheless I'll begin to present the designs known to me, apart from the two actually built types, mentioned above :

MAEE (Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment) proposal
(From Air International 10/96)
Saro project 1943 with deHavilland H-1 and dorsal intake
Saro project 1943, alternative layout
Saro SR44 pre-project P130/1
(From ISO file 3, Saro A/1, thank you, boxkite !)


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SR A/1 with Avon engine
Saro P.103
(From ISO file 3, Saro A/1)
(From Air International 10/96)


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The P.121 was a design with a hydroski undercarriage, similar to the US Seadart
(From Air International 10/96)
For testing details to be incorporated into aircraft like the P.121, several designs for experimental aircraft were made under the designation P.127.
(From Tagg/Wheeler „From Sea To Air“


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The last version of the P.127 included schemes with retractable planing plates and undercarriage, as used for the P.142/2.
(From Tagg/Wheeler „From Sea To Air“
Another british company, that submitted a seaplane fighter design, was Portsmouth Aviation, the Universal Long Range Fighter, a very ambitious project for a tailless amphibian fighter with a range of 2000 miles and a maximum speed of Mach 0.85, probably a bit too ambitious for a company, which had built just one other design, the Aerocar light transport.
/From D.Wood „project Cancelled“)


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In France evolved between 1949 and 1952 a number of seaplane fighter designs, too, most numerable from Latècoére, a company already renowned for their seaplane designs.
Late 270, design 1948
Late 270, design 1952
Late 271, an enlarged twin engined version of the 270
Late 272, an alternative designe to the 270, with twice the wing area
(From Cuny „Latècoére – Avions et Hydravions“)


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Not really fighters, but trainer aircraft, kind of seabased Fouga Magister, the Late 810 and 811
(From Cuny „Latècoére – Avions et Hydravions“)


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Two other french companies involved in this field, were SNCASE, with the SE X-101 and Nord Aviation with a design, which I know just from one photo, a model for hydrodynamic tests. From this photo and Cunys descriptions; I’ve tried to make a drawing. Any additional information is most welcome !
(Picture 1 and 2 from Cuny „Les Avions De Combat Francais, Tome I“)
The only other seaplane jetfighter I’ve found, is a Lockheed design, similar to the Convair Seadart
Now it’s up to you, I hope for a lot of other types, there must be more !


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Another pic from this Lockheed Fighter (source: Salamander guide)
Boeing nightfighter flying boat studies from late 1948 submitted to the Seaplane Striking Force 1951 project.

Source: Wings October 2002

I have only photocopies courtesy of Lark...if anyone could post color scans it would be
great because some morphological details are lost with the greyscale scan

Thanks in advance
Hmm, some of these remind me of a sketch that showed up in a 1948 issue of Air Trails. It looked like a Panther with a faired in centerline float and retractible wingtip floats. I thought it rather unusual and attractive-looking but have no idea, at this point, as to whether it was some enthusiast's doodle or something more official.
I'm sure I posted the lockheed seaplane fighter elsewhere on the forum, but can't find it. Maybe it was on another forum....
overscan said:
I'm sure I posted the lockheed seaplane fighter elsewhere on the forum, but can't find it. Maybe it was on another forum....

I am sure you posted a model and 3-view of it.
Thats thread for me. Thanx a lot Jemiba for all that great info. Maybe half of that projects were till now totaly unknown to me. Here is better Lockheed picture, I will post more soon.


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This Lockheed project looks a lot more recent, then the other projects. Somebody
who knows the mission concept behind it ? Judging the layout of this fighter, I would
think of the mid 70's, a time when all other combat seaplane projects were long
Late 1970s, as an alternative to VSTOL to reducing reliance on vulnerable airfields. No idea how "serious" a proposal it was.
Hello Hesham,
the Late 670 to 673 projects were floatplane fighters, with different wing and
float layout, the 670, 671 and 672 had tractor props, the 673 a pusher prop.
All were drawn up in 1938-39, but not realized . But good stuff for the early
secret projects section ...
From the new „Zeppelin Flieger” book comes the information of a Dornier project of a seaplane jetfighter from 1954, looks like a F-100 “Super Sabre” with floats retractable into the fuselage. Unfortunately, the author owes us to show an illustration of his description. Btw, no type designation is given – sorry.
A less usual perspective of the Lockheed's model


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From the new „Zeppelin Flieger” book comes the information of a Dornier project of a seaplane jetfighter from 1954, looks like a F-100 “Super Sabre” with floats retractable into the fuselage. Unfortunately, the author owes us to show an illustration of his description. Btw, no type designation is given – sorry.

Meanwhile the author of the mentioned section in the book gave me a hint, where I can find a model picture of the Dornier Do P 326/5.

SOURCE: German magazine Luft-und Raumfahrt 4/1990 (page 54)

[Jens, this is a first answer to your today's personal message ;-). ]


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In "The Aeroplane", december 1951, there was an article entitled
"Servicing The Flying Boat Fighter". A model for hydro-dynamic tests
of the Convair Skate is shown, featuring a blended hull wing, probably
a twin engined aircraft. No other infos given there.


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Matej said:
Dont forget soviet seaplane jetfighters TsAGI 4221 and 4221a, maybe also model 5202.

I have following pics about those aircrafts...


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The TsAGI 5202 was proposed as a reconnaissance and torpedo bomber,
I think. Some infos in Scotts APR, volume 5, N° 4.
Apologizing after moderator's advise - I forgot about posting rules and put these pics without referring. They were taken from "Hydro-airplanes & Ekranoplans of Russia 1910-1999" encyclopedia, Rusavia 2000.

Jamiba, grateful for your replies! :)
is there any more information on that retractable float 'F.100/Super Mystere' lookalike design? im curious as to its float arrangement and any dimensions if avaliable???

cheers, Joe Cherrie

Sorry, Joe. No further details/description in the article :( .
borovik said:
"Hydro-airplanes & Ekranoplans of Russia 1910-1999" encyclopedia, Rusavia 2000.

Hi, Borovik.

Please can you post (with a "good" graphic resolution...) the profile of "Samolet 504", from the same book (page 242)?

Thanks in advance...
I recently got the article about the Boeing model 486 seaplane jet fighter
from lark, which made me trying to translate the sketches and artist’s
impressions there into 3-views.
The model 486 was a contender for the fighter role in the mobile base/
seaplane striking force concept of 1951, which had come in the wake of
the cancellation of the USS United States class of super carriers.
The first design of the model 486 designs featured a dorsal engine, probably
a Westinghouse J40, and a V-tail, to get the tail free from the jet efflux.
The crew of two was seated in tandem and the wing with around 42° sweep
angle had a pronounced anhedral, so the tip tanks could double as floats
without a retraction mechanism. The article mentions, that no step is
visible in the first drawings, but added in later documents, so I incorporated
it in my drawing, too. A relatively large aircraft, dimensions are given with
span as 11.43 m and length as 18.29, but for all designs no estimated
performance data are given.

(To be continued ...)


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While not really a fighter, wasn't the OV-1 Mohawk designed to also operate off of hydroplanes?
Well, I think, too, I've seen such drawing, but still yet I haven't found it.

And now, the continuation of the Boeing model 486 story:

The second design , even larger than the first, looks more conventional
with the engine integrated into the fuselage, less swept wings and retractable
wingtip floats. The cockpit is widened and the crew placed on staggered
side-by-side seats. The engine arrangement, probably still using the ill-fated
J40, now allowed a conventional tail and the only unconventional feature was
the partly retractable afterbody, to form a step in the planing bottom for take-off.
With a lenght of 20.32m and a span of 15.24 m, this nightfighter would have been
considerably larger, than the contemporary Douglas F3D-2 Skyknight.


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Jemiba said:
In "The Aeroplane", december 1951, there was an article entitled
"Servicing The Flying Boat Fighter". A model for hydro-dynamic tests
of the Convair Skate is shown, featuring a blended hull wing, probably
a twin engined aircraft. No other infos given there.

ISTR that the "Skate" was a step in the evolution toward the Convair Sea Dart.
"ISTR that the "Skate" was a step in the evolution toward the Convair Sea Dart."

Seems logical, although the Skate isn't mentioned in the article, just the Seadart,
as the winner of the competition for a seabased fighter .
A little bit strange, I think, that Boeing offered a twin-seat night fighter for a
specification, that eventually was won by a single seat day fighter. But it isn't
known , if the Boeing design was ever submitted to the Navy !

At least I've finished the last drawing today:
The third design was more or less a refinement of the second. The reduction in
size probably was made possible by the use of two Westinghouse X24C engines,
housed in nacelles and so freeing up internal volume, although I doubt, that this
arrangement would have kept out spray from the engines.
Dimension had been reduced to span as 12.7 m and lenght 15.92 m.

The mentioned article with its sketches and artist’s impressions was the sole basis
for the drawings, so they should be regarded as provisional only .

The model 486 was the only seaplane fighter designed by Boeing and the last flying
boat at all for this company.
Pros and cons of the concept of the seaplane fighter apart, I would have really loved
to sea photos of this aircraft at anchor in a lagoon of a pacific atoll, or low flying
over a coastline ! So, Jozef, if you have some spare time .... ;)


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Speaking of jet seaplane fighters, does anyone have a good quality 3-view (or at least the side profile) of the SARO SR/A1.


That's what I can offer (from FlugRevue 11/1993 and from
Aeroplane Monthly 3/1993).
If it fits your needs, just give me a PM with your mail adress,
to send it in a reasonable resolution.


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You may also be interested in "SARO A/1 flying boat" by Richard Bateson. ISO Publications 1996
ISBN 0946784051. Lots of pictures, small 3-views of other variants, but the splendid colour 3-view is ruined by being printed across two A4 pages so part gets lost in the gutter between the pages.
With material about the line of the Convair Skate projects, which I thankfully got from lark,
I’ve tried to portray four of these designs, which I could identify. There were more, nine
different configurations are mentioned. I've got no type dsignation or project number and the name "Skate" may well have been more an unofficial designatoin of the program.

As already told in the post about the Boeing model 486, after the cancellation of the super
carriers of the United States class, the USN was following a new idea, called the “seaplane
strike force” or the mobile base concept. Three types were ordered into development, a bomber,
a transport and a fighter. In the end, all three types were actually built, although only the
Convair R3Y Trader transport flying boat ever saw limited service. For the part of the bomber,
there was one of Scotts APR issues, I think, which probably is available as electronic version
in the near future again.
Earlier designs were for a twin seat, radar equipped night fighter, shifting later to the single seat
interceptor, which was ultimately built in the form of the XF2Y Sea Dart. The following four designs
probably were made between 1948 and 1951, all based on a blended hull configuration, which was
thought to give sufficient buoyancy and good damping characteristics for take-off and landing.
Please note, for the drawings and conclusions, I mainly used photos of the hydrodynamic models
or artist’s impressions. Still yet, I couldn’t find dimensional, nor performance data, so for length and
span, I was restricted to estimations and comparisons of details like pilots or engines. I’m absolutely
aware, that I may have misinterpreted things ! I’ve always attached at least one of the source
pictures in low resolution, so you can make up your mind on your own. If someone has better or
additional material, please let me know !


What to my opinion is the earliest of the four designs (but not necessarily the first !),
shows a twin engined aircraft, with a short fuselage, with carries in its upper half two
jet engines and the crew in a tandem cockpit. The straight wing is blended into the fuselage,
a long, uprising fin carries a V-tail, which is located far behind the fuselage. It isn’t recognisable,
if a retractable step was incorporated, or if just the edge of the fuselage was regarded as
sufficient. An interesting feature is the nose armament, which consisted of a turret, which
formed the nose cone, probably containing two guns, besides a small radar antenna. Two
additional guns were placed in the wing roots. A spray dam, probably retractable, is fitted
to the bow.

(Cut-away from Treadwell “Strike from beneath the Sea”)


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After this quite archaic looking design, the next one .....

Temporarily deleted, see Orionblamblams post, sorry for any inconveniences !
Jemiba said:
After this quite archaic looking design, the next one comes with a more modern shape,
though still with unswept wings and control surfaces.

A bit off there. That particular SKATE was to be a modified B-46... a sizable bomber, not a fighter.


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