USAAF / USAF November 1945 Light Bomber Competition

RyanC

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Gents...

*******
NARA II, COLLEGE PARK, MD
RG 341
Entry 172
Box 38
Declassified Via NND 813063
******************************

HEADQUARTERS
AIR MATERIEL COMMAND

WRIGHT FIELD, DAYTON, OHIO
1 May 1946

IN REPLY ADDRESS BOTH COMMUNICATION AND
ENVELOPE TO ATTENTION OF
FOLLOWING OFFICE SYMBOL:
TSENG (TSESA-2)

SUBJECT: Design Competition — Light Bombardment Aircraft

TO: Commanding General
Army Air Forces Washington 25, D. C.

Attention: AC/AS-4

1. The Air Materiel Command has completed an evaluation of light bombers, which have been submitted by five manufacturers in accordance with a design directive issued by the AMC. These requirements were based on the light bomber military characteristics, dated 23 November 1945.

2. The following contractors submitted proposals: Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation, Curtiss-Wright Corporation, Douglas Aircraft Company, Inc., Glenn L, Martin Company and North American Aviation, Inc. The following is a tabulation of the point score and total cost of both Phase I and Phase II for the three high competitors:

ContractorPoint ScorePhase I CostPhase II Cost
North American922.39$784,257.00 $13,049,564.00
Martin922.11649,571.008,640,184.00
Douglas898.01984,200.0017,630,318.00

It is the considered opinion of the Air Materiel Command that, whereas all three scores are relatively close, the Martin and North American designs possess considerably greater potentialities, and are considered to be for all practical purposes potentially equivalent designs.

3. The following is a summary of the backlog of work at Glenn L. Martin Company and North American Aviation, Inc:

Glenn L. Martin Co.
Navy Contracts

PBM5 - Production (240)
XP4M-1
XPBM5a
JRM1 & 2 97% complete
XP4M1
XBTM1
BTM1 starting production (99)

Army Contracts
XB-48 2 experimental
Pilotless Research, one year

Commercial Contracts
Martin 202 ) approximately 125
Martin 303 ) airplanes
Martin 304 2 experimental
C-54 conversion

Total backlog approximately
$91,000,000.00

#################

North American Aviation, Inc.

Navy Contracts
XFJ-1 3 airplanes
XSN2J-1 2 airplanes
FJ-1 production (30)

Army Contracts
XP-86 2 airplanes
XB-45 3 airplanes
P-82 production (270)
Pilotless Research

Commercial
Light Plane "Navion" in production

Total backlog approximately
$50,400,000.00

4. Technically, it is considered that the North American Aviation, Inc., and Glenn L. Martin Company proposals are equivalent. Normally, the selection of the contractor to receive the award would be Glenn L. Martin Company, in view of an approximate $5,000,000.00 difference in selling price. To maintain an equitable distribution of workload in the interest of maintaining first-line contractors, it would appear desirable to award this contract to North American Aviation, Inc. It is believed that final decision must be made from consideration of the overall National Defense policy. It is, therefore, requested that decision be rendered as to the desires of Headquarters, Army Air Forces, as to whether this contract should be awarded to Glenn L. Martin Company or to North American Aviation, Inc.

FOR THE COMMANDING GENERAL:

/S/
L. C. CRAIGIE
Brig. General, U. S. A.
Chief, Engineering Division
 

cluttonfred

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Very interesting, do we know what designs were submitted by each of the five companies?
  • Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation
  • Curtiss-Wright Corporation
  • Douglas Aircraft Company, Inc.
  • Glenn L, Martin Company
  • North American Aviation
 

nugo

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Hi All!

Many thanks my friend RyanC.

"Elementary Watson"---

1) Convair Model ?
2) CW Model P-517, -517A and P-518
3) Douglas Model 1018
4) Martin Model 234---XA-45/XB-51
5) NAA Model RD-1401
 

Grey Havoc

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What kind of pilotless research?

In North American's case, the SSM-4 (later SSM-N-4) Taurus would have been a major part of this. Also, the MX-770 project would have also likely come under this heading at the time. In addition, what would later become the RTV-A-5 (redesignated X-10 in 1951) program. Other odds and ends including work on next generation autopilots & even 'robobrain' concepts (we can safely assume that Martin was also separately working on those as well as part of its pilotless research).

With regards as to Martin, a major project would have been MX-771 / SSM-A-1, what ultimately would become the MGM-1 Matador. Martin may also have been still working on a production version of the Little Joe (the KAM-1) but this is unconfirmed. Martin were still definitely working on the Gorgon IV program in 1946. That's all I have for now. Some handy links below.


 

Grey Havoc

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I should have realised in my reply that the 'pilotless research' the letter referred to was just Army funded projects, not work for the Services in general. The Taurus and Gorgon IV projects were for the USN. Woops.
 
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T. A. Gardner

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A couple of other contenders here are likely the Douglas XB-43 Jetmaster, and the Martin XB-51
 
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