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The Fighter-Striker Westland's W.37


Senior Member
Jul 15, 2007
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April 1950 Westland proposes the W.37 Fighter-Striker to N.9/47 for a fighter and NR/A.19 for a single seat strike aircraft.

Assuming this was chosen several benefits result:-

1. Either
a) the use of a single large jet such as Gyron or Olympus is chosen as the powerplant
b) a reheated Sapphire or Avon is chosen.

IF 'a' THEN developments in either powerplant soon bring static thrust up from 10,000lb to around 15,000lb and ultimately 20,000lb AND a possible re-engining with a moderate bypass turbofan massively extending range/endurance.

IF 'b' THEN developments in reheat will mean either engine reaches the proposed dry thrust of the larger engine AND reheated will delver around another 50% increase on that. A re-engining with a reheated Spey delivers increased range/endurance.

Logically the increasing power of the jets, means TO performance and maximum weight at catapult launch increases.
It also means that during it's development, it would still be viewed as a potential Fighter, as it's rate of climb would rise with that power.
This 22,000lb (approximately) strike weight could well rise without any increase in catapult power and WOD requirements will relax for launch.
That weight figure is such, it puts the machine in the realm of being operable from the CVL types, and well inside the extent rating of the Centaurs. MAking both far more valid for the future (from a 1950's perspective that is)

2. Either
a) W.37/1 is chosen due to internal weapons bay large enough to handle a torpedo and potentially Red Beard
b) W.37/2 is chosen due to the highly rated central station for a torpedo and potentially Red Beard

Of these the stronger case is W.37/1 as internal carriage of Red Beard was always desired for safe recovery and this was why Scimitar's had to return with a live weapon to an airfield instead of the carrier.

Under these circumstances, the RAF's push to kill NA.39, could be accepted by further development of the W.37 system by the inclusion of two seats (such a variant was designed for trainer purposes anyway), and a Blue Parrot (AI.23) set.
Killing NA.39 would release funds for some other system....but which?

Such efforts could actually draw in the RAF for the MRI mission, this being available long before the likes of the P1154, F4 or Jaguar. It might well make with extra fuel, the 600nm ROA for nuclear strike.....leaving only the longer 1000nm ROA for OR.339

Chief downsides of the design are:-
1. that single engine
2. the four 30mm guns are located such that gases could be re-ingested into the engine. So a relocation would be necessary....or simply removed in the era which saw the gun as out of date.
3. the high 'T' tail, which never bothered the Buccaneer, though if necessary the fuselage is of a configuration that a low tail could be achieved.
4. the inlets, which are of a wing root type. However it is possible to design that to say semi-circular or circular types and that might have happend during the development process anyway.

All in all, this is quite an interesting alternative path forward. It effectively liberates the RN from the ever more limited number of strike machines on ever more limited numbers of carriers, drives the need to handle reheated exhaust on the carriers deck much earlier, releases the RAF from piling everything on not just the OR.339 machine but alleviates the need to accept a NMBR.3 winner and is actually a strong case to survive D.Sandys Defence Review unscathed since it;s mostly a Strike/Attack machine.

In fact it might even gain some export orders.....
German Navy for instance?
Australia's FAA?
South Africa?

An argument could be made that since the FAA has dropped the NA.39 requirement, the need for a superonic figher to compliment it's Strike machine is now more pressing.....
Depending on the timing this could drive forward more funding to the DH.110 Sea Vixen, speeding it to service (not impossible considering the glacial pace of that effort). Or it could put more funds behind the Vickers Type 556 (FAW Scimitar).
Alternatively considering the benefits of it's lighter weight on the needs of a CV, this could place more emphasis on the likes of the Type 545....