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A Super Lightning?

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pampa14 View Drop Down
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    Posted: 29 Nov 2015 at 21:13

During World War II, the Lockheed developed a long-range version of its famous fighter P-38 Lightning, however, due to technical problems the project was canceled. The link below provides a collection of interesting photos of the plane and a question: If the plane had entered service, have reached the success of the P-38? What do you think? Visit the link, see the photos and answer this question through a poll at the end of the post.


http://aviacaoemfloripa.blogspot.com.br/2011/03/lockheed-xp-58-chain-lightning.html


Best Regards.




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Nov 2015 at 08:49
Outside of the ME 262 these kind of exotic fighters were not really needed to meet the objective of the various air-forces.  Production time, cost and additional training generally meant that they were low priority weapons.  WWII became a war of attrition so quantity tended to be more important than quality.  The quantity vs quality of weapons in WWII stands in sharp contrast to the every increasing complexity of modern war planes in part because nobody foresees a war of attrition in the nuclear age. 

The P-38 is certainly an example of a fighter that did not meet it's potential but the same is probably true of the P-39.  Certain bad flight characteristics plague both planes but it was really cost that determined their fate.   The P-51 was a universally adequate plane that cost $51,000 to build the P-38 in contrast cost $163,000.    
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Nov 2015 at 20:10
The P38 worked because it was more of a minimalist design. It's successors, none of which achieved production status, were larger, heavier designs, that seemed to fail in finding any real role, not being optimised for one thing or another. Successful twin engined fighters were rare in any case as most could not compete with smaller and lighter single engined planes.

In fact, despite the success that the P38 enjoyed under US aegis, the British tried the model 322 and rejected it for various reasons.

The P39 was well liked by the Russians who, contrary to popular opinion, did not use the fighter for ground attack but as a front line fighter as the maker originally intended.

The P51 became universally better than adequate after being fitted with Packard Merlins. Whilst I wouldn't claim that it was the fighter that won the war in the war some people do, it was a very important design that extended fighter protection and air superiority deeper into Germany than P38 or P47's. The original Allison engined examples, inspired by British requests and manufacturers export ambitions, were not so impressive, lacking altitude performance though they flew well.

Increasing complexity? That wasn't entirely true. Some late war models were as basic as those that started it, and many of those exotic German jet projects were incredibly simple and crude in structure and manufacturing techniques, which of course by then they had to be. I realise that progress was making itself felt - after all, in forty years aircraft had gone from bamboo and canvas no-hopers to all metal jet aircraft nudging the sound barrier. It is worth realising though that complexity was often the added military equipment rather than the aeroplane itself.
http://www.unrv.com/forum/blog/31-caldrails-blog/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Nov 2015 at 20:37
Originally posted by caldrail caldrail wrote:


Increasing complexity? That wasn't entirely true. Some late war models were as basic as those that started it, and many of those exotic German jet projects were incredibly simple and crude in structure and manufacturing techniques, which of course by then they had to be. I realise that progress was making itself felt - after all, in forty years aircraft had gone from bamboo and canvas no-hopers to all metal jet aircraft nudging the sound barrier. It is worth realising though that complexity was often the added military equipment rather than the aeroplane itself.
 Wasn't true, maybe is true but not in every airforce.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Dec 2015 at 20:10
Not true? I wasn't talking about a single air force. Aircraft technology in 1910 was extremely basic and could barely get a man across the English Channel safely. By 1950 all metal jet aircraft were trying to break the sound barrier. That's... oooh... Forty years. Whose air force it was (or civilian concern for that matter) is not relevant to the point.

Aircraft complexity is usually system based. That either means systems that are part of the aeroplane as a normal part of its flying function or added equipment to enable mission capability. Thus gun turrets are added equipment, not an intrinsic part of the airframe (though the capacity for one might be built in). The germans in WW2 struggled to create a gun turret that worked, since they went for a technical solution and therefore a more complex problem to overcome. The allies may have used turrets that were much more basic and heath robinson - but they worked, because they were simpler designs and easier to fine tune.That was typical for Nazi vs Allied aircraft or indeed technology in general.

After WW2 electronics become smaller and lighter, thus complexity begins to appear in aircraft systems as a part of the basic design, leading to something like the Vulcan, the cold war bomber which was a frighteningly complex beast even without military equipment. These days the black box approach has lessened the overhead but complexity is commonplace now with fly by wire, unstable agility, composite construction, and so forth.

Please note that a recent recovery of a crashed Sturmovik in Russia revealed a great deal about how basic their manufacture was. Allied standards of finish did not apply - control cables had been routed through ragged holes punched through metal members - that simply wouldn't have gotten out of the factory in the west. Nothing complex about that whatsoever.

Then look again at Nazi jet fighters. Despite some advances in aerodynamics, the result of allied bombing was making itself felt. The Emergency Fighter program was trying to find an easily built simple and effective solution to allied air superiority. Pulse jets were becoming an easier option than turbines, which were unreliable and quick to expire in those days, never mind difficult to manufacture (it was the problems of reliable jet production that caused the delay in Me262 production and deployment, not Hitlers demands for bomb racks). The entrants to the EFP were varied, but none were sophisticated in manufacture nor complex in structure. They simply could not build anything complex in enough numbers by that stage.

Having considered that, what about allied aeroplanes? The early jets were no more complex than piston designs, and indeed, did not require some of the engineering that piston engines demanded. The Spitfire, as loveable and capable as it was, had always been a bit of a bugbear because it demanded high standards of manufacture and had a more complex structure than some comparable designs. In fact, this was such a concern that the British Purchasing Commision went to America looking for aircraft to stockpile in reserve should not enough British fighters become available. This led to a visit to North American, who were asked about producing P40's under license (The British built a reserve of 140 P40's eventually that were released to Russia in 1942). NA said, yes, we could do that, but wouldn't you like something better? Fine, said the Commission, but you had better be quick about it. And thus the Mustang was born. Now I've looked at the P51 at the Hendon Museum. There's nothing complex about it, certainly not more complicated than any other fighter of the era.

In the final analysis it wasn't complexity that was actually the problem. What was a problem was whether that airframe was reliable, easy to manufacture, easy to maintain, robust, and capable. The Martin Baker MB5 might be more complex than some fighters of the late war (such as contra rotating propellors), but it was notable for its ease of maintenance and operation, and many remark on why the design was never adopted by the Air Ministry. The answer was politics. Complexity had nothing to do with.
http://www.unrv.com/forum/blog/31-caldrails-blog/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Dec 2015 at 21:07
You still managed to miss the point which is kind of annoying.     
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Dec 2015 at 00:16
Oh... Okay.... Well lets try to be unannoying. The point was what, exactly?
http://www.unrv.com/forum/blog/31-caldrails-blog/
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