POWER PLANT: Two General Electric J35-GE-3 turbojet engines, rated at 1,835 kp each
PERFORMANCE: 507 mph
COMMENT: USAAF leaders in the Air Material Command began to consider the possibilities of jet-propelled bombers as far back as October 1943. At that time, Douglas Aircraft was just beginning to design a promising twin-engine bomber designated the XB-42 “Mixmaster”. Reciprocating engines powered this aircraft but they were buried in the fuselage, leaving the laminar flow-airfoil wing clean of any drag-inducing pylon mounts or engine cowlings. The airframe appeared ideally suited to test turbojet propulsion. Douglas confirmed the feasibility of the concept and the USAAF amended the XB-42 contract in March 1944 to include the development of two turbojet-powered XB-43 prototypes, reduced from an initial order of 13 test aircraft. The Douglas design team convinced the Army that modifying the XB-42 static test airframe into the first XB-43 was a relatively straightforward process that would save time and money compared to developing a brand new design. Douglas replaced the two Allison V-1710 engines with a pair of General Electric J35 turbojets, then cut two air intakes into each side of the fuselage, aft of the pressurized cockpit. Removing the propellers and drive shafts freed enough space for two long jet exhaust ducts. Without any propellers present, there was no chance of striking the blade tips on the runway, so the entire ventral fin/rudder unit of the earlier XB-42’s full four-surface cruciform tail was omitted. Douglas compensated for the loss of yaw stability by enlarging the dorsal fin/rudder unit. The end of World War II caused a general slowdown within the aviation industry and General Electric was late delivering the engines. So America’s first turbojet bomber finally flew for the first time on 17 May 1946. Douglas Aircraft was keen to mass-produce the new bomber and the USAAF considered ordering 50, but these plans never became realized. The USAAF was already moving ahead with a new bomber, the North American XB-45 “Tornado”, designed from the outset for turbojet power and promising a quantum leap in every category of performance (Ref.: 24).
POWER PLANT: Two Allison V-1710-125 liquid-cooled engine, rated at 1,325 hp each, driving three-bladed, contra-rotating propellers
PERFORMANCE: 410 mph at 23,440 ft
COMMENT: The XB-42 was developed initially as a private venture; an unsolicited proposal was presented to the USAAF in May 1943. This resulted in a contract for two prototypes and one static test airframe, the USAAF seeing an intriguing possibility of finding a bomber capable of the Boeing B-29 “Superfortress” range without its size or cost. The aircraft mounted a pair of Allison V-1710-125 liquid-cooled V-12 engines behind the crew’s cabin, each driving one of the twin propellers. Air intakes were in the wing leading edge. The landing gear was tricycle and a full, four surface cruciform tail was fitted, whose ventral fin/rudder unit prevented the coaxial propellers from striking the ground. The pilot and co-pilot sat under twin bubble canopies, and the bombardier sat in the extreme front behind a plexiglass nose. Defensive armament was two 0.50 in machine guns each side in the trailing edge of the wing, which retracted into the wing when not in use. These guns were aimed by the copilot through a sighting station at the rear of his cockpit. The guns had a limited field of fire and could only cover the rear, but with the aircraft’s high speed it was thought unlikely that intercepting fighters would be attacking from any other angle. The first XB-42 was delivered to the Army Air Force and flew at on 6 May 1944. Performance was excellent, being basically as described in the original proposal: as fast or even faster than the de Havilland “Moquito” but with defensive armament and twice the bomb-load. The end of World War II allowed the Air Force to consider possibilities with a little more leisure. Although with the second prototype additional Westinghouse 19XB-2A jet engines were mounted under the wings to enhance performance (XB-42A) it was decided to wait for the development of better jet bombers rather than continue with the XB-42 program (Ref.: 24).
POWER PLANT: One Allison V-1710 liquid-cooled engine, rated at 1,100 hp at 30,000ft, driving contra-rotating propellers via extension shaft
PERFORMANCE: Data not available
COMMENT: Work on this unusual design started in in 1939. In order to keep the fuselage aerodynamically as clean as possible the engine was mounted in the mid-fuselage, driving counter-rotating three bladed pusher propellers via an extension shaft. Another advantage of the buried engine was enough room for heavy cannon armament in the nose. Thus the pilot had an excellent view and a wide field of fire. Although this fighter project was never realized it was the basis for many other pusher-type aircraft e.g. Bell XP-52, Vultee XP-54 Swoose Goose, Curtiss-Wright XP-55 Ascender, Northrop XP-56 Black Bullet, and Douglas XB-42 Mixmaster.
TYPE: Long-range Transport, Maritime Patrol and Bomber Flying Boat
ACCOMMODATION: Crew of 12
POWER PLANT: Six Daimler-Benz DB 603G, rated at 1,900 hp
PERFORMANCE: 264 mph at 19,685 ft
COMMENTS: First prototype flew in April 1944, but was sunk early 1945 by strafing Mustangs. At the end of WWII the second prototype was virtually complete and construction of the third was in an advanced stage
POWER PLANT: Mitsubishi Ha-104 radial engine, rated at 1,900 hp
PERFORMANCE: 360 mph at 19,685 ft
COMMENT: The Kawasaki Ki-119 was a design for a single-engine light bomber that would have been used in the defense of the Japanese homeland. Earlier Japanese bombers had been designed to operate over long distances, either in China or over the Pacific, but by the start of 1945 it was clear that the Japanese army might soon be fighting on home soil. This meant that a short range single-engine bomber would be possible, saving on the limited supply of both engines and trained air crew.
In March 1945 the Army Air Force issued Kawasaki with orders to produce a single seat bomber that could carry 1,764lb of bombs to targets 373 miles from its base, armed with two 20mm cannon and powered by one 1,900 hp Army Type 4 radial engine. Unlike many new aircraft being developed in Japan in 1945 the Ki-119 was not designed to be used in suicide attacks.
Takeo Doi and his team produced a design and a mock-up in three months. The fuselage was based on that of the Kawasaki Ki 100 radial-engine fighter. The aircraft was made as easy to fly as possible – a wide track undercarriage with good shock absorbers was chose to make the aircraft easy to handle on the ground, and large wings with a high aspect-ratio were designed, to make it easy to handle in the air. The aircraft was designed to carry three different sets of armament. In its basic light bomber role it was to be armed with two 20mm cannon and one 1,764lb bomb. It could also serve as a fighter escort, with no bombers but two extra 20mm cannons, or as a dive bomber with two 551lb bombs.
The impressively rapid development of the Ki-119 came to a halt in June 1945 when the detailed drawings were destroyed when American air raids damaged Kawasaki’s factory at Kagamigahara. This pushed back the expected delivery date for the prototype from September until November, with production expected in time for the new aircraft to take part in the fighting of 1946. The unexpectedly sudden end to the war meant that the prototype was never completed (Ref.: 24).
Scale 1:72 aircraft models of World War II
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