TYPE: Carrier-borne fighter
ACCOMMODATION: Pilot only
POWER PLANT: General Electric XT31-GE-2 turboprop and General Electric J31-GE-3 turbojet
PERFORMANE: 497 mph at sea level
COMMENT: The Ryan XF2R Dark Shark was an American experimental aircraft built for the United States Navy that combined turboprop andturbojet propulsion. It was based on Ryan Aeronautical’s earlier FR Fireball, but replaced the Fireball’s piston engine with a turboprop engine.
The XF2R Dark Shark was based on Ryan Aeronauticl’s earlier FR Fireball, but replaced the Fireball’s piston engine with a General Electric T31 turboprop engine driving a 4-bladed Hamilton Standard propeller. The turboprop made for much improved performance over the Fireball, but the Navy showed little interest in it; by that time, they had abandoned the idea of the combination fighter and were instead looking into all-jet fighters.
The United States Air Force, however, showed a little more interest; they were at the time evaluating the Convair XP-81 of similar concept, and asked Ryan to modify the XF2R to use the Westinghouse J34 turbojet instead of the General Electric J31 used previously. Modifications to theprototype created the XF2R-2, with the jet intakes moved to the sides of the forward fuselage with NACA ducts instead of the inlets in the wing leading edge used before.
Although the Dark Shark proved to be a capable aircraft, it never got further than the prototype stage; all-jet aircraft were considered superior (Ref.: 24).