Category Archives: Fighterbomber


McDonnell FD-1 “Phantom” (Frank-Airmodel, Vacu-formed)

TYPE: Carrier-borne fighter


POWER PLANT:  Two Westinghouse J30-WE-20 turbojet engines, rated at 725 kp each

PERFORMANCE: 479 mph at sea level

COMMENT: In early 1943, aviation officials at the United States Navy were impressed with McDonnell’s audacious XP-67 “Bat” project. McDonnell was invited by the Navy to cooperate in the development of a shipboard jet fighter, using an engine from the turbojets under development by Westinghouse Electric Corporation. Three prototypes were ordered on August 1943 and the designation XFD-1 was assigned. Under the 1922 United States Navy aircraft designation system, the letter “D” before the dash designated the aircraft’s manufacturer. The Douglas Aircraft Company had previously been assigned this letter, but the USN elected to reassign it to McDonnell because Douglas had not provided any fighters for Navy service in years.
McDonnell engineers evaluated a number of engine combinations, varying from eight 24 cm diameter engines down to two engines of 48 cm diameter. The final design used the two 48 cm engines after it was found to be the lightest and simplest configuration. The engines were buried in the wing root to keep intake and exhaust ducts short, offering greater aerodynamic efficiency than underwing nacelles and the engines were angled slightly outwards to protect the fuselage from the hot exhaust blast. Placement of the engines in the middle of the airframe allowed the cockpit with its bubble-style canopy to be placed ahead of the wing, granting the pilot excellent visibility in all directions. This engine location also freed up space under the nose, allowing designers to use tricycle gear, thereby elevating the engine exhaust path and reducing the risk that the hot blast would damage the aircraft carrier deck. The construction methods and aerodynamic design of the “Phantom”, as the aircraft was assigned, were fairly conventional for the time; the aircraft had unswept folding wings.  Adapting a jet to carrier use was a much greater challenge than producing a land-based fighter because of slower landing and takeoff speeds required on a small carrier deck. When the first XFD-1was completed in January 1945, only one Westinghouse was available for installation. Ground runs and taxi tests were conducted with the single engine, and such was the confidence in the aircraft that the first flight on 26 January 1945 was made with only the one turbojet engine. During flight tests, the “Phantom” became the first naval aircraft to exceed 500 mph. With successful completion of tests, a production contract was awarded on March 1945 for 100 FD-1 aircraft. With the end of the war, the “Phantom” production contract was reduced to 30 aircraft, but was soon increased back to 60.
The first prototype was lost in a fatal crash on November 1945, but the second and final “Phantom” prototype was completed early the next year and became the first purely jet-powered aircraft to operate from an American aircraft carrier, completing four successful takeoffs and landings on 21 July 1946, from USS CV-42 “Franklin D. Roosevelt”.  At the time, she was the largest carrier serving with the U.S. Navy, allowing the aircraft to take off without assistance from  a catapult (Ref. 24).


Grumman XF5F-1 “Skyrocket” (Resin)

TYPE: Carrier-borne twin-engine fighter


POWER PLANT: Two Wright XR-1820-40/41 “Cyclone” radial engines, rated at 1,200 hp each

PERFORMANCE: 380 mph at 16,500 ft

COMMENT: In 1938 Grumman presented a proposal to the U. S. Navy for a twin engine carrier based aircraft, unlike any other fighter aircraft that had ever been considered. The design was for a light weight fighter powered by two 1,200 hp Wright R-1820 engines, with propellers geared to rotate in opposite directions to cancel out the effects of each engine’s torque, promising high-speed, and an outstanding rate of climb. Designated XF5F-1 “Skyrocket” it was a low wing monoplane with a short fuselage that began aft of the wing’s leading edge with a twin tail assembly that featured a pronounced dihedral to the horizontal stabilizer. The main landing gear and tail wheel were fully retractable. The aircraft flew for the first time on 1 April 1940.  Engine cooling problems arose in the initial flights, resulting in modification to the oil cooling ducts. Further modifications were made to the prototype including reduction in the height of the cockpit canopy, redesign of the engine nacelles, and extending the fuselage forward of the wing. Flight tests indicated good flying qualities for the XF5F-1. The counter-rotating props were a nice feature, virtually eliminating the torque effect on take-off the single-engine performance was good, rudder forces tended to be high in single engine configuration. Nevertheless, additional changes were needed after further flight tests that were not completed until 15 January 1942. In the meantime, Grumman began work on a more advanced twin-engine shipboard fighter, the XF7F-1 “Tigercat”, and further testing with the XF5F-1 supported the development of the newer design. The prototype continued to be used in various tests, although plagued by various landing gear problems, until it was struck from the list of active aircraft after it made a belly landing on 11 December 1944.
A land-based development of the Grumman XF5F-1 “Skyrocket” was the Grumman XP-50 “Skyrocket”. It entered into a USAAC contest for a twin-engine heavy interceptor aircraft. A prototype was ordered on November, but the aircraft lost the competition to the Lockheed XP-49 (Ref.: 24).

Curtiss XF-14C-2 (Unicraft, Resin)

TYPE: Carrier-borne heavy fighter


POWER PLANT: One Wright XR-3350-16 ‘Cyclone’ radial engine, rated at 2,300 hp

PERFORMANCE: 398 mph at 32,000 ft

COMMENT: In early 1941, the Curtiss Aircraft Company proposed the development of a high-performance, heavily-armed fighter designed around a liquid-cooled engine. At that time the US Navy was dedicated to using air-cooled engines, but Curtiss experience with the Curtiss P-40 gave the company good grounds for its faith in the liquid-cooled unit, and on June 1941 it received a Navy contract for two prototypes of such an aircraft, to be designated XF14C-1. The chosen power plant was the still experimental Lycoming XH-2470-4 which was expected to deliver 2,200 hp at sea level, with a normal rating of 2,000 hp at 4,500 ft.  With an armament four 20-mm cannon in the wings, the XF14C-1 was expected to have a maximum speed of 374 mph at 17,000 ft and a service ceiling of 30,500 ft. However, wind tunnel testing by Navy engineers during 1942 cast some doubts on the validity of these figures  and with development of the XH-2470 engine lagging, the Navy eventually concluded that the performance of the XF14C-1 would be inadequate by the time it was ready to enter service, and the programme was cancelled in December 1943.
As the first airframe was then virtually complete, the Navy suggested it be flown with the air-cooled Wright R-3350 ‘Cyclone’ engine, driving six-blade contra props. In this guise, the Curtiss fighter was redesignated XF14C-2, and the first flight was made in July 1944. Performance again fell below expectation, a speed of 398 mph being reached at 32,000 ft compared with the estimated of 424 mph, and the R-3350 was still suffering from a number of teething problems. Meantime the progress of the Pacific war made further development of the XF14C-2 unnecessary, the programme being cancelled in the early month of 1945 (Ref.: 10).

Grumman F6F-5 “Hellcat”, VF-12, USS CV-15 “Randolph”, (Hasegawa)

TYPE: Carrier-based fighter, fighter bomber


POWER PLANT: One Pratt & Whitney R-2800-10W Double Wasp radial engine, rated at 2,000 hp

PERFORMANCE: 380 mph at 23,400 ft

COMMENT: In Mid 1944 an improved and refined version of the famous Grumman F6F-3, the Grumman F6F-5 “Hellcat” rolled out of a brand new factory, especially built for this reason. The Pratt & Whitney engine with water injection was retained, but the cowling was modified and the windshield was improved. Provision was made for 2,000 lb of bombs under the center section and six rockets under the outer wing. Production of this version totalled 6,681 aircraft plus 1,189 F6F-5N’s night fighter with APS-6 radar in the pod of the starboard wing. The aircraft shown here was on board of USS CV-15 “Randolph” in March 1945 (Ref.: 22)

Boeing F8B-1 (Sword)

TYPE: Fighter, Torpedo bomber, Ground attack aircraft


POWER PLANT: One Pratt & Whitney XR-4360-10, rated at 3,000 hp


COMMENT: From the logistical point of view the US Navy was most interested to have only one type of aircraft on board its carriers for all operational tasks. An excellent design for all these duties was the Boeing XF8B, a new class of “five-in-one fighter” (fighter, interceptor, dive bomber, torpedo bomber, or level bomber). Designed around a new designed “power egg”, the Pratt & Whitney XR-4360 with 3,000hp this aircraft embodied a number of innovative features in order to accomplish the various roles. Three prototypes were ordered, but despite its formidable capabilities, with the end of the hostilities in the Pacific area the XF8B-1 was fated to never enter series production.

Martin BTM-1 Mauler (Czechmaster, Resin)

TYPE: Carrier-based attack aircraft


POWER PLANT: One Pratt & Whitney R-4360-4 Wasp Major, rated at 3,000 hp

PERFORMANCE: 334 mph at 11,600 ft

COMMENT: Throughout the WW II the US Navy used a variety of carrier-based aircraft for attack duties. They were designated “SB” for scout/dive bombers and “TB” for torpedo-bombers. In 1943/44 a change in military tactics required a new role for an attack aircraft. So the US Navy invited proposals for a new multi-purpose bomber and selected four designs in September 1943: the Curtiss XBTC, Douglas XBT2D Skyraider, Kaiser-Fleetwings XBTK and the Martin XBTM. Two prototypes of the Martin design were ordered. The first flight was made in August 1944 and in January 1945 a production order for 750 aircraft was placed. With the end of WW II only 131 production aircraft, now named AM-1 “Mauler”, were delivered, another 651 aircraft were cancelled.

Douglas BT2D-1 Skyraider (Airfix)

TYPE; Carrier-borne dive/torpedo-bomber


POWER PLANT: One Wright R-3350 Cyclone 18, rated at 2,500 hp

PERFORMANCE:  322 mph at 18,00 ft

COMMENT: The piston-engined Douglas BT2D-1 Skyraider, originally named “Destroyer II”, was designed during World War II to meet US Navy requirements for a carrier-based single-seat, long-range, high performance dive/torpedo bomber, to follow-on from earlier types such as the Curtiss SB2C Helldiver and Grumman TBF-1 Avenger. Several prototypes were ordered on 6. July 1944 as the XBT2D-1. The XBT2D-1 made its first flight on 18 March 1945 and was too late for service in WW II. A month later the Navy ordered 548 production examples to be designated AD-1 Skyraider in the new “attack” category. A total of 3,180 aircraft have been produced.

Douglas BTD-1 Destroyer (Planet, Resin)

TYPE: Carrier-borne scout/dive bomber


POWER PLANT: One Wright R-3350-14 Cyclone 18, rated at 2,300 hp

PERFORMANCE:  334 mph at 16,100 ft

COMMENT: In 1942 the US Navy planned to replace both the Douglas SBD Dauntless and the new Curtiss SB2C Helldiver and the Douglas Company was commissioned for two prototypes of a new two-seat dive bomber, designated XSB2D-1. The design was a large single-engined mid-winged monoplane with two remote-controlled turrets as defensive armament and a tricycle undercarriage, very unusual for a carrier-based aircraft of the time. The first prototype flew on April 1943, demonstrating an excellent performance and being much faster and carrying nearly double the bombload of the Helldiver. Orders for 358 SB2D-1s quickly followed. In the meantime Douglas reworked the SB2D design by removing the turrets and second crewman, while adding more fuel and armor, producing by that the BTD-1 Destroyer. The orders for SB2Ds were converted to BTD-1s, but only 28 aircraft had been delivered at the end of the WWII. Before the end the war, based on that design, Douglas developed the single-seat BT2D-1, later well known as Douglas AD-1 Skyraider.

Douglas XA2D-1 Skyshark (Anigrand, Resin)

TYPE: Carrier-borne attack aircraft


POWER PLANT: Allison XT40-A-2 coupled turboprop engine, rated at 4,000 h.p., driving two contra-rotating propellers,

PERFORMANCE: 501 m.p.h.

COMMENT: Planned successor of the Douglas  Skyraider. But only seven built

Goodyear FG-4 Corsair, VMF-111 (Hasegawa)

TYPE: Carrier-based fighter-bomber


POWER PLANT: Pratt 6 Whitney R-2800-18W Double Wasp, rated at 2,100 h.p.

PERFORMANCE: 390 m.p.h. at 24,000 ft