POWER PLANT: Two Lockheed L-1000 axial-flow turbojets 2,345 kp thrust each
PERFORMANCE: 625 mph
COMMENT: The Lockheed L-133 was an exotic design started in 1939 which was proposed to be the first jet fighter of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) during World War II.
The radical design was to be powered by two axial-flow turbojets with an unusual blended wing-body canard design capable of 612 mph in level flight. The USAAF rejected the 1942 proposal, but the effort speeded the development of the USAAF’s first successful operational jet fighter, the Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star, which did see limited service near the end of war. The P-80 was a less radical design with a single British-based Allison J33 engine, with a conventional tail, but it retained a wing which was the same shape as the outer wing sections of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning.
The Lockheed aviation company was the first in the United States to start work on a turbojet-powered aircraft, the L-133 design started in 1939 as a number of “Paper Projects” by engineers around Clarence L. „Kelly“ Johnson. By 1940 preliminary work on a company-financed turbojet-fighter had been started, which progressed to several different versions on the drawing board. In the meantime, Lockheed was working on an axial-flow L-1000 turbojet engine of their own design, which was intended to power the culmination of the twin-engine jet fighter project, the Model L-133-02-01.
Throughout World War II, the development of a jet-powered fighter had the potential to bring a decisive advantage in the air battles of the war; as history played out, only Germany built significant numbers of jet fighters before the war ended, but they reached service in the Luftwaffe too late to make a difference.
On March 30, 1942, Lockheed formally submitted the L-133-02-01 to the USAAF for consideration. Powered by two L-1000 turbojets and featuring a futuristic-appearing canard design with slotted flaps to enhance lift, the single-seat fighter was expected to have a top speed of 612 mph in level flight, but a range of only 310 mi.
The L-133 had a main wing shape that was essentially identical to the outer wing sections of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning. In many respects the L-133 was far ahead of its time, with futuristic features including: canard layout, blended wing-body planform, and two engines in a very low-drag integral fuselage location.
The USAAF considered the L-133 to be too advanced for the time, and did not pursue the project. The experience gained with the design served Lockheed well in the development of the USAAF’s first operational jet fighter, the P-80 Shooting Star. Although entering combat service after the war had ended, the P-80 was less advanced than the L-133. Because the USAAF didn’t give the L-133 project the go-ahead, the advanced engines intended for the L-133 had long pauses in their development. The most expedient engine choice for the P-80 thus became the Allison J33, based on British centrifugal compressor designs. The P-80 was a cheap-to-build single-engine aircraft with a conventional wing and tailplane design, not using the blended wing-body and canard layout of the L-133 (Ref.:24).
ACCOMMODATION: Crew of two (Pilot and radiooperator/navigator)
POWER PLANT: Two Heinkel-Hirth HeS 011 turbojet engines, rated at 1.300 kp thrust each
PERFORMANCE: 565 mph
COMMENT: This project study of 11. April 1945 (Little note: less than four weeks before the total collaps of the “Third Reich”!!!!) for a two seat “Schnellbomber” (fast bomber) and “Zerstörer” (destroyer) constituted a further development of the Messerschmitt Me P.1099, Me P.1100 and Me P.1101 series of proposals of 1944 on the basis of the original in service Messerschmitt Me 262.
Whereas the basic fuselage, spacious cockpit and tail surfaces of the mentioned follow-up proposals were retained, the two Heinkel-Hirth HeS 011 turbojets were relocated into the wing root to which the new wings having a leading edge sweep of almost 40 degrees were attached. An interesting feature of the design was that the mainwheels were to retract inwards to rest vertically in the fuselage between the fore and aft fuel tanks. Exactly how this was to be accomplished with the turbojets in the way is not clear from the documents. Although the final form of the fuselage nose portion had not been decided, the end of the war brought an early end of the project (Ref.: 16).
POWER PLANT: One Allison V-1710-35 liquid-cooled engine, rated at 1,150 hp
PERFORMANCE: 350 mph at 10,000 ft
COMMENT: In 1936 the Bell Aircraft Corporation’s design team began work on the Bell XP-39, a radical design of a single-seat fighter with the engine mounted behind the pilot, driving the airscrew by means of an extension shaft. This arrangement appeared to offer superior manoeuvrability, the engine weight being concentrated around the fighter’s center of gravity. But the first flight test proved that this unorthodox fighter had a low ceiling, slow rate of climb and relative lack of manoeuvrability. So alternatively the engine was mounted forward and the cockpit was positioned to the back. This and some more minor changes led to the design of the Model 3. But calculations proved no advantage of this model compared to the P-39 “Aircrobra”, so the project was not further followed (Ref.: 13).
POWER PLANT: Wright R-2160-6 Tornado, rated at 2,500 h.p.
PERFORMANCE: 453 m.p.h.
COMMENT: This project was designed as a fast high altitude fighter capable of intercepting and destroying high altitude enemy bombers. The design incorporated new innovations such as a pressurized cabin, laminar flow wing, and contra-rotating propellers. A mock-up was built, but the project was cancelled because the Wright R-2160 42-cylinder engine was never produced. In 1944 Republic modified a two P-47D’s for testing Chrysler XI-2220 inverted-Vee liquid-cooled engines (Republic XP-47H). This made an extremely finely-streamlined cowling of low frontal area necessary similar that project shown here.
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.
Scale 1:72 aircraft models of World War II
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