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1 11th August 03:58
External User
Posts: 1
Default Modern day propeller fighter - hypothetical

Some of the latest developments in propeller aircraft has fascinated
me. It also brought up an interesting hypothetical question; mostly
when reading about modern day warbird replicas.

With relatively easily available technology off the shelf (no rail
guns or laser cannon please). Lets say a reasonable development budget
of oh say $300 million. The question is are we capable of producing
superior prop aircraft than the great fighters of WWII and what
configuration would it take?

To keep the discussion relatively focused we'll put in a couple of

1. Mission: Air superiority/dominance during WWII. Land based. It
should be able to clear the skies of any and all opposition at all
ranges and altitudes.

2. Must be a propeller aircraft.

3. Only armanent allowed are guns/cannons. No guided missiles. I guess
dumb firing rockets will be ok since they were used during WWII.

With the above two exceptions all of modern technology is allowed to
be used for example composite materials, radars, titanium armour,
fly-by-wire (will dynamic instability benefit the agility of a prop
plane?) advanced aerodynamic configurations (rear mounted engines). To
make matters really intesting helicopters are fine. Just as long as
the driving force isn't a jet.

If we were to design a new prop, gun armed aircrafy would it
essentially look pretty similar to a carbon fibre, turbo-prop P-51
Mustang or would it be some bizzare split wing, dual rear engined


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2 11th August 03:59
john keeney
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Posts: 1
Default Modern day propeller fighter - hypothetical

Sure: we have nearly sixty years of additional power, aerodynamic,
explosive, fusing, gun, electronics and materials research to draw upon.

I assume you mean to allow turboprops. If you stick to piston
engined planes you'll blow your budget trying to recreate the engine base.

Gun sights tied to radars and computers would be "death dot" types.
Gatling gun or high speed revolver would shred any WWII fighter in a second.

Helicopters are not suitable for the mission: less than half the needed speed.

Depends on who does the designing: Rutan would make something

I'ld guess you'd end up with an all weather plane between a P-38
and P-61 in size. Likely twin turbo prop to free up the center
line for radar and the gun. Slightly sweep wing and aerodynamics
to give a top speed something better than 550mph. Engines and pilot
virtually proofed against any air fighter guns of the period and
the rest pretty robust.
Boom & zoom tactics, blast one and blow through, reposition and
repeat. Superior speed and targeting makes it mighty attractive.

Or heck, something bigger but with a CIWS or two mounted, then
you would even have to point the nose at'em.
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3 11th August 03:59
david bromage
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Default Modern day propeller fighter - hypothetical

How about a Pucara?

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4 11th August 04:00
greg hennessy
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Default Modern day propeller fighter - hypothetical

Shame, A skyraider, a CFM56 and a crowbar came to mind LOL.


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5 11th August 04:00
cub driver
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Default Modern day propeller fighter - hypothetical

I'm not sure what the engine would be. Is there an off-the-shelf
turbine engine that could be tweaked to the war-emergency power
requirements of a fighter aircraft?

I'm not saying there is none! I haven't the faintest idea of what the
capabilities of existing turbines might be. But note that the
horsepower of front-line fighters in WWII was more than doubled in
four years, as an example of wartime requirements. Also, lives were
cheaper in those days. The Germans accepted a man-killer like the Me
163 into front-line service, and the Me 262 would also be unacceptable
today, with its 10-hour engine life.

all the best -- Dan Ford

see the Warbird's Forum at
and the Piper Cub Forum at
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6 11th August 04:00
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Default Modern day propeller fighter - hypothetical

Why is being prop-driven a requirement, afraid the people on the ground
will fall asleep during aircraft operations? Using a prop limits the
aircraft to much lower airspeeds than current fighters. I think there's
been one or two exotic birds that have operated about Mach 1

Why not build an air-superiority fighter with an open ****pit?


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7 20th August 11:25
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Default Modern day propeller fighter - hypothetical


A couple of alternatives for the centerline gun

- Through the prop hub as per WWII engine mounted guns (wasn't the original
idea for a 20mm Birket/hispano like this from WWI?).

- Rear engine as per some studies for CAS in the 80s, BA?

Or both as per Dornier 335, hmmm 2 x Bear engines (15,000hp each) might be a
bit much. Or maybe the Voyager idea of 2 different powers, one small for
cruise efficiency and range with a bigger one for combat (oil etc
preheated). The cruise engine optimised for cruise at FL300+ should give
good range together with some protection from flak and being bounced (A
nice preliminary study for a mere 100K, recommending a more detailed

For combat alpha and beta pitch could be used on one or two to control
acceleration/deceleration without spool up time. Single power lever of

The main limit to power would probably be prop problems with precession
during violent manouvering being only one.

Radar could be wing mounted with electronic correction for night/cloud

Trike gear would be essential even for a single engine, the ground loop rate
was bad enough at WWII p/w ratios let alone with p/w x 2+ and the sort of
ground angle required by biggerprops. A Pitts with 1,000hp might be a bit
of a handfull.

I suspect 300M might be a bit low for development now. The Australian Wamira
trainer from the early 80's chewed up AUD70M before cancellation before
flight, there were many reasons spec changes being the main one To give one
exanple, had to be side by side, had to be tandem, other people might want
the other so has to be either!!!. Instead the PC9 (pre Texan II) was
bought, this is roughly equivalent to the Bf109A, Spit 1, P40A in

AFAIK the PC9 and Texan II are loosely derived from the Bf109, although no
common parts, the chain went, Bf109 begat the lower powered PC3 trainer
(cheaper to operate and better manners) then the PC7, PC9 and Texan II went
through an incremental process of desired handling and MORE GRUNT.


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8 20th August 11:25
External User
Posts: 1
Default Modern day propeller fighter - hypothetical

probably not.

new prop planes have been designed for modern air forces, but these are
made to different specifications. these planes might be used for
missions that require slow speeds, such as reconnaissance. or they are
built for low-budget customers- not at all the high performance
machines that you are looking for.

the task then becomes a question of engineering man-hours. you would
begin by identifying modern materials and devices that are superior to
what existed 60 years ago. this is the easy part.

then you would have to start designing and testing ways to use your
21st century technology for this 20th century application. that would
be the hard part.

let's say you actually did this, hired a team of good engineers to
spend millions of dollars on the question and started manufacturing the
results. the odds are that your effort would still fall short.

during wwii, the best minds of the entire world were devoted to this
question. the large scale use of these planes allowed a great deal of
trial-and-error refinement. there would be no similar opportunity in
the modern world.

to get the real-world testing, you would have to hypnotize everyone on
the planet to forget jet technology, but to not forget any other
technology that might contribute to this issue. then get everyone in a
big war again so you can sit back and observe the results.

the question rapidly becomes too silly to consider.
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9 20th August 11:27
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Default Modern day propeller fighter - hypothetical

Take one Kuznetsov NK-12MV turboprop giving 14,795 shp as used in the
Tupolev 95 Bear. With four engines the Bear gave: 575 mph (925 km/h)
Ceiling: 39,370 ft (12000 m) For a single engine fighter, it should be
able to cruise climbing straight up. An even more mind boggling
configuration would be two NK-12MV's in a twin boom design, a la the

The real value of this design would be using the TU-95's transonic
counter-rotating propellers, which probably provide an upper limit on

Come to think of it, the single engine version would probably resemble
the Convair XFY-1, Pogo. POWERPLANT: One Allison YT40-A-6 turboprop
(which consisted of two T38 turboprops coupled together) driving a
pair of Curtiss-Wright 16-foot three-bladed contra-rotaing propellers
in the nose.

Specifications of Convair XFY-1 Pogo: (From

Engines: One Allison XT40-A-6 turboprop, rated at 5500 shp. Projected
performance with the 6955 ehp XT40-A-16: Maximum speed: 610 mph at
15,000 feet, 592 mph at 35,000 feet. Initial climb rate 10,500
feet/minute. An altitude of 20,000 feet could be attained in 2.7
minutes, 30,000 feet in 4.6 minutes. Service ceiling 43,700 feet.
Endurance was one hour at 35,000 feet. Weights: 11,760 pounds empty,
16,250 pounds gross. Dimensions: wingspan 27 feet 7 3/4 inches, length
34 feet 11 3/4 inches, vertical span 22 feet 11 inches, wing area 355
square feet. Armament was to have consisted of four 20-mm cannon or 48
2 3/4 FFARs

John Bailey
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10 20th August 11:28
chad irby
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Posts: 1
Default Modern day propeller fighter - hypothetical

A better config for a "modern" prop fighter could be a very beefy
version of the Japanese Shinden interceptor. Pusher prop, swept wing,
canard. A larger version of this, with a 20mm gatling in the belly and
a radar in the nose?

Scale that ****er up by 50% or so in each direction, put a big engine
and some weapons in it, and there ya go...

If you're in love with a twin boom aircraft, dig out the plans for the
P-61 Black Widow. Lots of room for guns (it already has a radome and a
seat for an operator), extremely good handling for a plane that size,
and you could even keep the turret with a minigun or two.

Stick a couple of 20 mm gatlings in the belly, crank up some advanced
engines (modern turboprops would give it about *five* times as much
power), and have fun.

cirby at

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Slam on brakes accordingly.
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