POWER PLANT: One Nakajima NK9H “Homare” 42 radial engine, rated at 2,000 hp
PERFORMANCE: 426 mph at 32,810 ft
COMMENT: The Kawanishi J6K1 “Jinpu”was a purpose-built land based interceptor designed for the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Force, but that didn’t enter production because of the success of the same company’s Kawanishi N1K2-J “Shiden” (“Violet lightning”, Allied code “George”).
The J6K1 was developed from the Kawanishi J3K1 of 1942. This was to have been powered by the Mitsubishi MK9A radial engine, and would have been a fairly standard looking radial engined fighter, but it didn’t progress beyond the early design stage.
Work on the J6K1 began in 1943. This time the aircraft was to use the Nakajima “Homare” 42 engine, the design progressed far enough to receive a popular name, the “Jinpu”(Squall). The new interceptor would have been very heavily armed, with two 30mm cannon and two 13.2mm machine guns, and with a good top speed of 426mph. The J6K1 never entered production. Kawanishi had also produced the N1K1 Kyofu” (“Mighty wind, Allied code “Rex”) float plane fighter, which was followed by a normal landed based version, the N1K1. This was then superseded by the N1K2-J “Shiden”, a smaller aircraft than the J6K, armed with four 20mm cannon and with sufficiently impressive performance to meet the Navy’s requirements. The N1K2-J was produced in large numbers, while the J6K1 was cancelled (Ref.: 24).
POWER PLANT: One Pratt & Whitney R-2800-34W “Double Wasp” radial engine, rated at 2,300 hp
PERFORMANCE: 421 mph at 19,700 ft
COMMENT: The Grumman F8F “Bearcat” concept began during a meeting between Battle of Midway veteran Grumman F4F “Wildcat” pilots and Grumman authorities on June 1942. At the meeting, Lieutenant Commander J. Thatch emphasized one of the most important requirements in a good fighter plane was “climb rate”.
Climb performance is strongly related to the power-to weight ratio, and is maximized by wrapping the smallest and lightest possible airframe around the most powerful available engine. Another goal was that the new fighter – Grumman’s design designation for the aircraft was G-58 – should be able to operate from escort carries, which were then limited to the obsolescent F4F “Wildcat” as the Grumman F6F “Hellcat” was too large and heavy. A small, lightweight aircraft would make this possible. After intensively analyzing carrier warfare in the Pacific Theatre of Operation for a year and a half, Grumman began development of the G-58 “Bearcat” in late 1943.
In 1943, Grumman was in the process of introducing the F6F Hellcat, powered by the Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engine which provided 2,000 horsepower. The R-2800 was the most powerful American engine available at that time, so it would be retained for the G-58. This meant that improved performance would have to come from a lighter airframe.
To meet this goal, the Bearcat’s fuselage was about 1.5 m shorter than the Hellcat, and was cut down vertically behind the cockpit area. This allowed the use of a bubble canopy, the first to be fit to a US Navy fighter. The vertical stabilizer was the same height as the Hellcat’s, but increased aspect ratio, giving it a thinner look. Similarly, the main wing had the same span, but having lower thickness, especially at the root. Structurally the fuselage was strengthened and armor protection was provided for the pilot, engine and oil cooler. Compared to the “Hellcat”, the “Bearcat” was 20% lighter, had a 30% better rate of climb and was 50 mph (80 km/h) faster.
The Navy placed a production contract for 2,023 aircraft based on the second prototype on 6 October 1944. On February 1945 they awarded another contract for 1,876 slightly modified aircraft from General Motors, given the designation F3M-1. These differed primarily in having the R-2800-34W engine and a small increase in fuel capacity.
Deliveries from Grumman began on May 1945. The end of the war led to the Grumman order being reduced to 770 examples, and the GM contract being cancelled outright. An additional order was placed for 126 F8F-1B’s replacing the .50 cal machine guns with the 20 mm M2 cannon, the US version of the widely used Hispano-Suiza HS.404. The F8F prototypes were ordered in November 1943 and first flew on 21 August 1944, a mere nine months later. The first production aircraft was delivered in February 1945 and the first squadron, VF-19, embarked to CV 16 “Lexington”, was operational by May 1945, but WW II was over before the aircraft saw combat service (Ref.: 24).
TYPE: Anti-ship and -fortification destroyer Messerschmitt Me 262A-1a missile. Project
ACCOMMODATION: Crew of two in Messerschmitt Me 262A-2a/U-2 only
POWER PLANT: Two Junkers Jumo 004B turbojet engines each aircraft, rated at 950 kp thrust each
PERFORMANCE: No data available
COMMENT: In the last stage of WW II in Europe the RLM made great effort to deploy a great variety of composite aircraft (“Misteln”, “Mistletoes”) against enemy ground installations, troop concentrations, harbor facilities, bridges, ships, etc. and even bomber formations. In most cases elder or not for service qualified aircraft were used as un-manned, lower bomber compartment but also reconstruction of existing aircraft or complete new constructions – most made of non-strategical materials like wood etc. – were proposed. The bomber compartment was filled with explosives and guided to the vicinity of its target by a single seat fighter temporarily attached to a superstructure above the fuselage.
One of the extraordinary proposals was the combination of a Messerschmitt Me 262A-1a or Me 262A-2a/U2 as guide aircraft to an un-manned Messerschmitt Me 262A-1 as guided bomb. The cockpit canopy was faired over and all equipment stripped down to only those needed to keep the bomb flying. Nose of the aircraft was filled with explosive as well as two additional tanks setup in the fuselage. Three bomb load versions were proposed: Model A. Armored nose of the fuselage and additional tanks filled with 4,460 kg of liquid explosive, Model B: Armored nose formed of solid explosive, additional tanks filled with blocks of solid explosive, total amount restricted and Model C: Armored nose formed of 2,450 kg solid explosive, additional tanks filled with 2,760 kg liquid explosive, total amount 5,210 kg.
The upper component of this “Mistel” composition – number of “Mistel” variant not clearly known – was a two-seater Messerschmitt Me 262A-2/U-2. Besides the pilot a second crew member was lying in prone position in a glazed nose section of the fuselage. He guided the bomb into the target by means of a television set “Tonne-Seedorf”. In the cone of the lower (bomb) compartment a television camera (“Tonne”) was installed and the radio operator had a television tube (“Seedorf”) with relative high resolution. By means of radio-control the missile was guided to the target.
The project was soon rejected. It became clear that a pilot of a Messerschmitt Me 262 had enough problems with his own machine and to handle two of these excentric aircraft together seemed to be impossible.
POWER PLANT: One Mitsubishi “Zuisei” air-cooled radial engine, rated at 875 hp
PERFORMANCE: 230 mph at 11,285 ft
COMMENT: The Mitsubishi F1M (Allied code name “Pete”) was a Japanese reconnaissance floatplane of WW II. The F1M was originally built as a catapult-launched reconnaissance float plane, specializing in gunnery spotting. The “Pete” took on a number of local roles including convoy escort, bomber, anti-submarine, maritime patrol, rescue, transport, and anti-shipping strike. The type was also used as an area-defense fighter and fought dogfights in the Aleutians, the Solomons and several other theaters. In the New Guinea front, it was often used in aerial combat with the Allied bombers and Allied fighters. It was the last biplane type of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN), with 1,118 built between 1936 and 1944. It provided the IJN with a very versatile operations platform and was allocated to nearly all Japanese battleships, cruisers, aircraft tenders, but also to several shore bases.
The aircraft shown here was operated from IJN battleship “Yamato” in August 1944. The “Yamato” was the lead ship of the “Yamato” class of Imperial Japanese Navy World War II battleships. She and her sister ship, “Musashi”, were the heaviest battleships ever constructed, displacing 72,800 tonnes at full load and armed with nine 46 cm 45 Caliber Type 94 main guns, which were the largest guns ever mounted on a warship. Neither ship survived World War II (Ref.: 24).
POWER PLANT: Two Prat & Whitney R1839 “Twin Wasp” radial engines, rated at 1,130 hp each
PERFORMANCE: 272 mph at 6,500 ft
COMMENT: The Bristol “Beaufort” was a British twin-engined torpedo bomber designed by the Bristol Aeroplane Company, and developed from experience gained designing and building the earlier Bristol “Blenheim” light bomber.“ Beauforts” first saw service with Royal Air Force Coastal Command and then the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm from 1940. They were used as torpedo bombers, conventional bombers and mine-layers until 1942, when they were removed from active service and were then used as trainer aircraft until being declared obsolete in 1945. “Beauforts” also saw considerable action in the Mediterranean. Squadrons based in Egypt and on Malta helped interdict Axis shipping supplying Rommel’s “Deutsches Afrikakorps” in North Africa. Some were fitted with ASV radar aerial arrays under both wings and forward fuselage. Although it was designed as a torpedo-bomber, the “Beaufort” was more often used as a medium day bomber. The “Beaufort” also flew more hours in training than on operational missions and more were lost through accidents and mechanical failures than were lost to enemy fire. The “Beaufort” was adapted as a long-range heavy fighter variant called the Bristol “Beaufighter”, which proved to be very successful and many “Beaufort” units eventually converted to the “Beaufighter”. At least 1,180 “Beauforts” were built by Bristol and other British manufacturers.
The Australian government’s Department of Aircraft Production (DAP) also manufactured variants of the “Beaufort”. These are often known collectively as the DAP “Beaufort”. More than 700 Australian-built “Beauforts” saw service with the Royal Australian Air Force in the South West Pacific theatre where they were used until the end of the war (Ref.: 24).
POWER PLANT: One Daimler-Benz DB 610 liquid-cooled engine, rated at 2,900 hp, driving two four-bladed pusher propellers
PERFORMANCE: 466 mph
COMMENT: In 194/42 the design team of Henschel Aircraft Company proposed an advanced project of a fast light bomber and ground attack aircraft. Power was provided by a single Daimler-Benz DB 610 engine that in fact consisted of two Daimler-Benz DB 605 liquid-cooled engines, joined side-by side. The engine drove two four-bladed pusher type propellers via an extension shaft. A similar design but powered by a Daimler-Benz DB 613 was the Henschel Hs P. 75 fighter and interceptor project. Both designs were radical in so far as a canard arrangement was proposed with elevators in front and the wing positioned to the rear. By that enough space was available to integrate the wide and bulky power unit. Furthermore, a large weapon bay in the in the forward fuselage was available. The disadvantage of this arrangement is the permanent shifting of the center of gravity. Vertical fins were located at the wingtips. Intensive work was done concerning the lay-out of the cockpit in order to give the two crew members an excellent view forward. In case of emergency the cabin could be blown up in order to prevent a collision with the eight-bladed propellers. Detailed construction was in an advanced stage when the RLM refused this project with the flimsy comment “… the pilots couldn’t acclimatize with a propeller in the back and the elevators in front”. So further work on this project was stopped (Ref.: 16, 17).
POWER PLANT: One Ishikawajima Ne-130 turbojet engine, rated at 900 kp thrust
PERFORMANCE: No data available
COMMENT: The concept of Kyushu J7W1 unique canard configuration was due to designers of the Technical staff of the Japanese Navy. From the onset of that project it was envisaged to replace the rear-mounted Mitsubishi Ha-43 air-cooled radial engine, which drove a six-blade pusher propeller, with the new turbojet engines under development at that time.
Following some initial work on that concept, the staff of Dai-Ichi Kaigun Koku Gijitsusho (First Naval Air Technical Arsenal) designed a glider to test the aircraft’s handling qualities at low speeds. Three prototypes of the MXY6 were built for the Navy by Chigasaki Seizo K.K. and these all-wood gliders with moderately swept wings supporting tall tail surfaces inboard the ailerons began flight trials in autumn of 1943.
Although the “Shinden” was expected to be a highly maneuverable interceptor, only two prototypes were finished before the end of war. And of course the turbojet engine powered Kyushu J7W2 was never realized, it didn’t even reach the drawing board (Ref.: 24).
POWER PLANT: One Westinghouse 24C turbojet engine, rated at 1,360 kp
PERFORMANCE: 535 mph
COMMENT: The design for a fast carrier-based jet fighter was put forward by Grumman Company in November 1944. This small and aerodynamic clean cantilever-winged fighter was to be armed with either four 20mm cannon or six 0.5 in machine guns across the nose. The wings were not of folding type. The aircraft was to be powered by a single Westinghouse 24C turbojet engine delivering app. 1,300 kp thrust, but was still under development. It was the first jet fighter project of Grumman and it is not clear why this promising project was not pursued. However, after WW II the general design influenced the development of the Grumman F9F “Panther”, the Company’s first turbojet engine powered fighter showing better performance compared to the McDonnell FD-1 “ Phantom”, the US Navy’s first “pure” turbojet fighter.
POWER PLANT: Four Heinkel/Hirth HeS 011 turbojet engines, rated at 1,300 kp each
PERFORMANCE: 565 mph
COMMENT: The Heinkel He 343 was a four-engine jet bomber project by Heinkel Aircraft Company in the last years of WW II. In 1944 a total of 20 of these aircraft were ordered. For shortening the development time and for re-use of existing parts, its general design was envisioned along the lines of an enlarged Arado Ar 234 “Blitz” (“Lightning”). For a choice of engines, the Junkers Jumo 004 and the Heinkel HeS 011 were planned. The DFS (Deutsche Forschungsinstitut für Segelflug), (German Research Institute for Gliding Flight) was involved in the project and created the project known as P.1068. By the end of 1944, work was nearly finished by the Heinkel engineers, with parts for the He 343 prototype aircraft either under construction or in a finished state, when the order was cancelled due to the “Jägernotprogramm (Emergency Fighter Program). Four versions were planned: the He 343A-1 bomber, the He 343A-2 reconnaissance aircraft, and the He 343A-3 and He 343B-1 “Zerstörer” (“Destroyer”) heavy fighters.
The Heinkel He 343A-1 was to be the bomber version. Depending on the engines used, the bomb load ranged between 2000 kg to 3000 kg, with 2000 kg to be carried internally, and 1000 kg to be carried externally. Trials were to be held with the Fritz X radio controlled bomb, which would have also added a third crew member. Defensive armament consisted of two fixed rear firing MG 151 20 mm cannon with 200 rounds each, which were mounted in the rear fuselage. None aircraft was completed. However, after WW II the Soviet Union utilized the design as the basis for the development of the Ilyushin Il-22, changing some of the parameters such as size and crew numbers. One prototype was built and flown. The results of the tests were used in development of the Ilyushin Il-28 (Ref: 24).
POWER PLANT: One Kawasaki Ha 40 liquid-cooled engine, rated at 1,100 hp
PERFORMANCE: No data available
COMMENT: In the summer of 1941, Rikugun Kokugijutsu Kenkyujo (Japanese Army Aerotechnical Research Institute, short named “Kogiken”) formed a design group under the leadership of Ando Sheigo. The task was to study Japanese aviation technology in terms of what was possible at present and in the near future. Additionally, some effort was to be spent on reviewing the aircraft technology of other countries. From the results the group was to assemble and draft proposals for aircraft to fill various pre-determined roles: heavy fighter, light bomber, heavy bomber and reconnaissance. For a bigger idea pool, Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) main aircraft providers, Kawasaki and Tachikawa, were invited to join the group, too. In that period projects such as Kogiken Plan III Revised light bomber and Kogiken Plan V Revised light bomber were designed and proposed to the IJA.
Among fighter designs the Kogiken Plan I Type A was a single seat heavy fighter and a Japanese adaption of the Bell P-39 “Airacobra” mid-fuselage engine concept. The aircraft was designed end 1941 and should be powered by a single Kawasaki Ha 40 liquid-cooled in-line engine, derived from the German Daimler-Benz DB 601A. The engine was installed immediately aft the cockpit driving a four-bladed puller propeller via an extension shaft. A tricycle landing gear was provided similar to the Bell P-39. Armament consisted of 37 mm Ho-203 or 20 mm Ho-5 canon firing through the propeller hub and two wing-mounted 12.5 mm Ho-103 guns. No further details are known, the project never left the drawing board (Ref.: Parts from Unicraft).