Author Topic: 1939 USN Scout-Fighter Program  (Read 3500 times)

Offline apophenia

  • Patterns? What patterns?
1939 USN Scout-Fighter Program
« on: April 06, 2017, 10:27:01 AM »
The 1939 US Navy Scout-Fighter Program

In late 1938, the US Navy Bureau of Aeronautics issued a request for scout-fighter seaplane proposals. The requirements for this new Scout-Fighter class was quite restrictive. The aircraft was to be based upon a proven fighter design with production variants powered by one of two approved engine types -- the Pratt & Whitney R-1830-76 or the Wright R-1820-40. Both were air-cooled radials producing up to 1,200 hp.

Scout-Fighter concept submissions were received from Brewster, Curtiss-Wright, Grumman, and Vought-Sikorsky. Grumman's proposal was for an F4F-3 fitted with twin Edo floats. But Grumman was requested to give priority to development work needed to get the F4F-3 carrier fighter combat-ready.

Vought-Sikorsky's Rex Beisel planned a heavily-modified XF4U airframe powered by a Twin Wasp and fitted with the floats from its OS2U Kingfisher. Vought's scheme was rejected by the BuAer for being based on an unproven type which still needed extensive modification to become a Scout-Fighter. The Brewster proposal was for their F2A-2 carrier fighter adapted to take the float gear from the in-service Curtiss SOC-4 observation aircraft.

Brewster quickly found itself in difficulty. Running behind on delivery of F2A-3 carrier-based reconnaissance fighters, Brewster had insufficient design staff to fully address their Scout-Fighter proposal. To make matters worse, rival Curtiss was delaying delivery of SOC floats to Brewster. [1] Eventually, Brewster would receive a set of SOC-1 floats from the US Navy. These floats were fitted to a loaned USN F2A-2 as a mock-up float installation.

In the background, Curtiss-Wright was briefing against the Brewster concept, saying that the SOC floats were unlikely to stand up to operational use with a monoplane Scout-Fighter. That may have influenced the BuAer's decision but other factors stacked up against Brewster. After inspection of the mock-up by BuAer officials, Brewster's proposal was rejected as unlikely to meet the firm's rather optimistic performance estimates. Curtiss-Wright's proposal was now the sole remaining candidate for the US Navy's Scout-Fighter Program.

________________________

[1] Curtiss-Wright claimed that all available floats were needed to meet SOC-4 delivery schedules.
________________________
Auferstanden aus Ruinen; Glück für Menschen und Maschinen ...

Offline Old Wombat

  • "We'll see when I've finished whether I'm showing off or simply embarrassing myself."
  • "Define 'interesting'?"
Re: 1939 USN Scout-Fighter Program
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2017, 10:48:38 AM »
Nice designs. Really like the Corsair version! :) :)
"This is the Captain. We have a little problem with our engine sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and, ah, explode."

Offline AXOR

  • Our returned Monkey Box man
Re: 1939 USN Scout-Fighter Program
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2017, 05:07:37 PM »
Nice designs. Really like the Corsair version! :) :)
Me too!
Great job as always  :)
Alex

Offline finsrin

  • The Dr Frankenstein of the modelling world...when not hiding from SBA
  • Finds part glues it on, finds part glues it on....
Re: 1939 USN Scout-Fighter Program
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2017, 05:39:41 PM »
Nice designs. Really like the Corsair version! :) :)
Me too!
Great job as always  :)
Me too !

Offline Acree

  • That will teach you to frustrate the powers that be...won't it comrade?
  • Sentenced to time in the BTS Gulag...
Re: 1939 USN Scout-Fighter Program
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2017, 01:01:22 AM »
Nice job!  Surprisingly, I like the Buffalo version a little better - then again, I have weird tastes!  Would a Kingfisher float really be sufficient for a Corsair (weight-wise)?  Just curious.

Chuck

Offline GTX_Admin

  • Evil Administrator bent on taking over the Universe!
  • Administrator - Yep, I'm the one to blame for this place.
  • Whiffing Demi-God!
    • Beyond the Sprues
Re: 1939 USN Scout-Fighter Program
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2017, 02:55:15 AM »
 :)
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it.

Offline apophenia

  • Patterns? What patterns?
Re: 1939 USN Scout-Fighter Program
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2017, 04:53:29 AM »
Thanks folks!

I'm with you, Chuck, on the Brewster. As for the Kingfisher float being workable, Beisel would have had to put the Corsair on a crash diet!

The float version sheds a few pounds with its Twin Wasp (1,160 lbs for the early models versus 2,350 lbs for the R-2800, a difference of 1,190 lbs) and armament reduced to two .50-cal guns -- saving 85 lbs per gun (340 lbs total) plus a further 150 lbs for ammo/boxes (600 lbs total). I've no idea what a Corsair's undercarriage would weigh ... so I'll cheat and say its the same as the float gear ;)

So, a guesstimated empty weight for the floaty Corsair is 8,120 lbs. Against the SO2U's maximum takeoff weight of 6,000 lbs, ... I think we've got a sinker here  :o

__________________
Auferstanden aus Ruinen; Glück für Menschen und Maschinen ...

Offline apophenia

  • Patterns? What patterns?
Re: 1939 USN Scout-Fighter Program
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2017, 04:57:09 AM »
The 1939 US Navy Scout-Fighter Program

With all competing designs eliminated, Curtiss-Wright had the US Navy Scout-Fighter program in the bag. Their submission was based on the proven Curtiss Model 75 Hawk fighter matched with the floats from the new Curtiss Model 82 (SO3C). The new design was designated Model 88 SeaHawk by Curtiss and SFC-1 by the US Navy. [1]

The Model 88 prototype was completed quickly by combined the fuselage of a Hawk 75A-4 demonstrator with the wings and tail of a Hawk 75N. [2] The float components were unchanged from the SO3C other than in the main float having a taller mounting pylon. To improve stability (a sore point with SO3C development), the prototype was given an enlarged rudder and a ventral fin. Roll-out occurred in late October 1940.

In contrast with the troublesome SO3C, the Curtiss Model 88 prototype flew very well. In trials, it was quickly realized that the XSFC-1's enlarged rudder was unnecessary but that the aircraft could benefit with increased keel area. To that end, the ventral fin was enlarged and the original rudder replaced with a standard Hawk 75 unit. Performance trials were cursory since the prototype was fitted with an export-model Cyclone -- the R-1820-G105 -- which only produced 1,000 hp.

The BuAer was satisfied overall and a US Navy order for 24 SFC-1 powered by the 1,200 hp Wright R-1820-40 Cyclone. All two dozen SFC-1s were delivered to the US Navy by the end of 1941. But, in another change of policy, it was decided to employ the SFC-1s -- by now also called SeaHawks by the USN -- as point defence interceptors flying from harbours rather than as shipboard aircraft.

On 26 Jan 1943, the SeaHawk proved its mettle. SFC-1s of VSF-87 bounced a formation of Aichi E13A1 'Jake' light bombers escorted by A6M2-N 'Rufe' float-fighters off of Amchitka. In a matter of moments, three of the Aichis were shot down with a 'Rufe' fighter damaged and presumed destroyed. [3]

Work on a more advanced version -- the Model 88C/XSFC-2 -- was confused by further US Navy policy changes. The Scout-Fighter category was abandoned and, in June 1942, the BuAer requested proposals for a  straightforward scout seaplane. Curtiss submitted a heavily revised Model 88E/XSFC-4 [4] in Aug 1942 which, with a great deal of further modification would emerge in 1944 as the Curtiss Model 97/SC-1 Seahawk scout floatplane.

________________________

[1] The US Navy did not start adopting 'popular names' for its aircraft until 1941.

[2] These were pattern components originally intended for Argentina's Fábrica Militar de Aviones.

[3] The smoking 'Rufe' spiralled down through low cloud cover but its destruction was unconfirmed.

[4] The unbuilt Model 88D/XSFC-3 had been an unsolicited proposal for a more heavily armed SeaHawk.
________________________
Auferstanden aus Ruinen; Glück für Menschen und Maschinen ...

Offline Logan Hartke

  • High priest in the black arts of profiling...
  • Rivet-counting whiffer
Re: 1939 USN Scout-Fighter Program
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2017, 05:14:36 AM »
In the immortal words of Private Hook:

"It's turning blue!"
"Yeah, yeah, very pretty, lovely."


Cheers,

Logan

Offline Acree

  • That will teach you to frustrate the powers that be...won't it comrade?
  • Sentenced to time in the BTS Gulag...
Re: 1939 USN Scout-Fighter Program
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2017, 05:16:15 AM »
Love the SeaHawk. 

Is it just me, or is the original rudder very similar in shape to Curtiss/St. Louis products (like the CW-22)? 

Offline apophenia

  • Patterns? What patterns?
Re: 1939 USN Scout-Fighter Program
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2017, 08:49:57 AM »
Cheers  :icon_beer:

Is it just me, or is the original rudder very similar in shape to Curtiss/St. Louis products (like the CW-22)?

Well spotted  ;)  In the original, even-more-verbose backstory, George Page and the CW-21 were mentioned. That all got edited out (making the ghost of Don Berlin much happier).
Auferstanden aus Ruinen; Glück für Menschen und Maschinen ...

Offline Brian da Basher

  • He has an unnatural attraction to Spats...and a growing fascination with airships!
  • Holding Pattern
  • *
  • Hulk smash, Brian bash
Re: 1939 USN Scout-Fighter Program
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2017, 10:42:46 PM »
I had no idea the old P-36 would look so hot on a central float!

Great stuff!

Brian da Basher

Offline GTX_Admin

  • Evil Administrator bent on taking over the Universe!
  • Administrator - Yep, I'm the one to blame for this place.
  • Whiffing Demi-God!
    • Beyond the Sprues
Re: 1939 USN Scout-Fighter Program
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2017, 03:40:12 AM »
Wow! :)
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it.

Offline Tophe

  • He sees things in double...
  • twin-boom & asymmetric fan
    • my models
Re: 1939 USN Scout-Fighter Program
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2017, 08:51:23 PM »
Belated congratulations for these marvels... My favourite one is the Corsair floatplane, nicely enriching this family, thanks for the enjoyment! :-*

Offline ericr

  • He's like some sort of Dr Frankenstein of modelling...
  • Has something for red, yellow or blue...
Re: 1939 USN Scout-Fighter Program
« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2017, 04:46:00 AM »

beautiful !