Skip to comments.Irregular warfare offers new role for propeller driven aircraft
Posted on 10/25/2010 9:06:30 PM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
Irregular warfare offers new role for propeller driven aircraft
By Stephen Trimble
Bringing back the propeller-driven fighter in the age of counterinsurgency may seem to some a belated no-brainer or to others a wasteful diversion with potentially suicidal risk to the pilot.
As late as early 2008, the leadership of the US Air Force sided firmly with the sceptics. Lt Gen Donald Hoffman, then the USAF's top-ranking acquisition official, implied to a group of reporters in April of that year that the idea of deploying propeller-driven aircraft in modern combat is too risky.
"We can rebuild the [North American] P-51 - great airplane," said Hoffman, citing the propeller-driven Second World War fighter. Then, however, the former Lockheed Martin F-16 pilot pointed at each of the journalists. "All we need is you, you, you and you to go fly it into the threat zone," he said.
The Second World War P-51: a template for a modern-day propeller-driven fighter? Picture: Staff Sgt Jeremy Smith/US Air Force
Propeller-driven aircraft fly lower and slower than fast jets such as the F-16, and carry less cockpit armour than the "titanium bathtubs" surrounding pilots in the Fairchild A-10 or the Boeing AH-64 Apache.
It is this combination that drove the type out of the USAF inventory immediately after the Vietnam war, with the retirements of the Douglas A-1 Skyraider, the Cessna O-2 Skymaster and the de Havilland C-7 Caribou.
Paradoxically, however, the propeller-driven aircraft's ability to fly low and slow for long periods is responsible for a rebirth of enthusiasm within the USAF since shortly after Hoffman made his remarks about reintroducing the P-51.
The USAF leadership's position on the light attack mission would quickly
(Excerpt) Read more at flightglobal.com ...
The Apache chopper and the A-10 ain’t too bad.
a) Composites make for a stronger, lighter AC.
b) Turbo vs. the Allison or RR. 'nough said.
c) Much less cockpit clutter on the keeping the airplane in the air part.
d) Much more room for advanced avionics.
I'm fairly technically happy with the new AT-6 variant. How they do the operational doctrine, I haven't seen much of that.
Right on. The able dog was a tough airplane, packing plenty of firepower.
I was training in the AD when the Navy nixed the airframe...I loved that bird ...
As a former zoomie, I sorta stand with the Marines on ground support.... It needs to go organic. Army should own the A-10s.
Perhaps I wouldn't be so opinionated if the AF didn't make TSgt cooks study Clausewitz and all the others if they want to make MSgt. ;)
http://www.802u.com/ offers an interesting concept at a very low cost. Much more cost effective than helicopters for many missions that don’t really need a helicopter.
A lot of the article whizzed right on by me but there is a reason that many successful demo derby drivers still run contact-point ignitions.
When all the high-tech stuff is breaking down, what with directed energy weapons and whatnot, the last guy running wins...
1. The Republic Thunderbolt had a radial engine that could take hits and keep on running. I know of an actual case where a Jug brought a pilot back from Borneo after 8 hours in the air. The pilot landed with the master cylinder and three other cylinders blown out of commission. But the Jug kept chugging along, running well enough to bring its pilot back safely to his base at Morotai. I was there.
2. The Jug's radial engine was air cooled, instead of liquid cooled with a radiator system, like the Mustang's V-12. This is significant because one small caliber hit on an aluminum cooling line in a Mustang would let the coolant leak out, and when the coolant was gone, the engine seized, and the show was over.
I took a small caliber hit in a coolant tube over Formosa (Taiwan). When I landed back at base, my crew chief said, "Lieutenant, did you know you got hit?" I replied, "No." He continued, "You took a small caliber shell in the coolant tube on the right side of the engine. I'd give you between 10 and 15 minutes flying time remaining." I had just flown from Formosa, over nothing but the Pacific Ocean, to our fighter strip on Okinawa.
3. The P-47 could fly higher than the P-51. With its huge turbocharger, it could climb to over 40,000 feet. You could just look down at your enemy in a stall and smile. 4. The Jug could out dive the Mustang. As a matter of fact, it could out dive any enemy fighter, and at 7.5 tons loaded, it dove fast! I have personally been in a dive at what we called the "state of compressibility," at nearly 700 mph indicated air speed. I was scared to death, but with a tiny bit of throttle, I pulled it out at about 2,000-foot altitude, literally screaming through the sky.
5. The Thunderbolt had eight .50's. The Mustang had six. That's 33 1/3% more firepower. This made a major difference.
6. The later model Thunderbolt's could carry and deliver 2,500 pounds of bombs. (One 1,000-lb. bomb on each wing, and one 500 lb. bomb under the belly.) This was a maximum load and you had to use water injection to get airborne. But it would do this with sufficient runway. I have done this myself.
In addition to being a first class fighter, it was also a superb fighter-bomber and ground level strafer. Jugs practically wiped out the German and Italian railroads. I have strafed Japanese trains, troops, ships, gunboats, warships, airfields, ammo dumps, hangers, antiaircraft installations, you name it. I felt secure in my P-47.
7. The P-47 was larger and much stronger, in case of a crash landing. The Jug was built like a machined tool. Mustangs had a lot of sheet metal stamped out parts, and were more lightweight in construction. One example was the throttle arm. You can see the difference. What does all this mean? The safety of the fighter pilot.
8. The Thunderbolt had no "scoop" under the bottom. You can imagine what happens during a crash landing if your wheels would not come down (due to damage or mechanical trouble). On landing, it could make the P-51 nose over in the dirt as the scoop drags into the earth. In water (and I flew over the Pacific Ocean most of my 92 combat missions), it could cause trouble in a crash landing because the air scoop would be the first part of the aircraft to hit the water. Instead of a smooth belly landing, anything might happen.
9. The Thunderbolt had a much larger, roomier cockpit. You were comfortable in the big Jug cockpit. In my Mustang, my shoulders almost scraped the sides on the right and left. I was cramped in with all my "gear." I could not move around like I could in the P-47. I found the ability to move a little bit very desirable, especially on seven and eight hour missions.
10. The Mustang went from 1,150-horse power Allison engines to the Packard built Rolls-Royce Merlin engine that had 1,590 hp. The Thunderbolt started out with a 2,000 hp Pratt & Whitney engine, and ended up with 2,800 war emergency hp with water injection. That's close to twice the power.
11. The Jug had a very wide landing gear. This made it easy to land just about anywhere, with no tendency to ground loop. Many times we had to land on rice paddies and irregular ground. When you set the Thunderbolt down, it was down. In the Far East, England, Africa, and Italy, this helped you get down and walk away from it. To me, that was very important for the safety of the pilot.
12. The Jug's record against all opposing aircraft is remarkable. The ratio of kills to losses was unmistakably a winner. Thunderbolt pilots destroyed a total of 11,874 enemy aircraft, over 9,000 trains, and 160,000 vehicles.
The dumbest thing the airfarce did was can the thunderbolt(P-47) for the p-51 for ground attack during the korean war.WTF?over.A BB will knock down a mustang whereas it would take another thunderbolt to knock down a thunderbolt.Mustangs are just hair dressers airplanes anyway.
I read a quote from a WWII pilot, can’t remember which one, (Maybe Frances Gabreski?) that went something like this.
“If you wanted to pick up dames at the dance, you flew a P-51. If you wanted to fly in combat, get hit and survive, you flew a P-47.”
No matter what gee-whiz night vision, blackberry-enabled scope and weapon system a Marine carries, I bet every last one has a knife.
Just paint a sharks mouth on the front of it and she will be beautiful.
I actually thought of the t-6 when I saw the headline. The aircraft would be a success, I believe, and USAF pilots would like it (better than a drone anyhoo).