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PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 2:15 pm 
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Francis Urquhart wrote:
Craiglxviii wrote:
Hooray, the Banana does beat something jet powered! Does the F-117 have a cockpit stopwatch of the same precision though?!


The Banana is OK; it beat the A-10A . . . . .

The real problem is that the whole medium-light category of aircraft was a contorted compromise. What really happened was that it became apparent in the 1930s to most people that the concept of the light bomber as it had been used in WW1 and the 1920s was being overtaken by aircraft development and that these lightly-armed aircraft intended to work with the Army just were not going to survive against any semi-serious opposition. Once aircraft engine power reached a point where we could hang a worthwhile bombload on a fighter, the light bomber category was really becoming obsolete (point at issue, look at the way the light bombers more or less disappeared from the aircraft carrier inventory during WW2.

This forced WW2 airforces to do one of two things. Either toss the whole light bomber job to bomb-carrying fighters (which turned out to be the right answer) or to develop a light bomber that could survive and do a useful job. The problem was that a light bomber that could survive and do a reasonable job was a medium bomber. Again, its significant that the "A for Attack" category in the USAAF/USAF vanished postwar and only re-occurred for political reasons.

The Navies were different; they kept genuine light bombers in because maritime attack was a specialized role, akin to ground support but with different demands. In fact, Navy light bombers had to do both maritime attack and supporting ground troops leading to the A-1/A-4/A-7 families. It's notable that as the significance of maritime attack faded and ground support grew, the Navy lights became medium-lights.

Why didn't the fighter bomber role emerge earlier, since the British used Camels and DH-5s pretty extensively in that role in 1917 and especially 1918?

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 3:08 pm 
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Johnnie Lyle wrote:
Why didn't the fighter bomber role emerge earlier, since the British used Camels and DH-5s pretty extensively in that role in 1917 and especially 1918?


Basically bombload I think. The WW1 fighter-bombers carried (usually) something like four 20-pound bombs or their equivalents. Carrying anything larger and pokier required a "light bomber". Even at the start of WW2 the bombload for a US Navy or Army fighter was a couple of hundred-pound bombs. Once fighters started carrying 500 or thousand pound bombs, that was when the light bomber became superfluous.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 3:40 pm 
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Francis Urquhart wrote:
Johnnie Lyle wrote:
Why didn't the fighter bomber role emerge earlier, since the British used Camels and DH-5s pretty extensively in that role in 1917 and especially 1918?


Basically bombload I think. The WW1 fighter-bombers carried (usually) something like four 20-pound bombs or their equivalents. Carrying anything larger and pokier required a "light bomber". Even at the start of WW2 the bombload for a US Navy or Army fighter was a couple of hundred-pound bombs. Once fighters started carrying 500 or thousand pound bombs, that was when the light bomber became superfluous.

So, basically, engine development between the wars, or lack thereof, was the key factor?

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 6:34 pm 
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Johnnie Lyle wrote:
So, basically, engine development between the wars, or lack thereof, was the key factor?

I think so. Plus structural development so that smaller aircraft could carry the concentrated weight of a serious bomb or two. But mostly engine power.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 3:19 am 
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Not quite the answer you asked for but I threw this together quickly. For fighters in my earlier cost chart, this shows engine power vs year of first running of that engine for all piston-engine fighters in that list.

As you can see, there was a sharp rise in engine power from the mid/late 20s on- the 275hp Falcon of the Brisfit was a monster for its day, but even the Bulldog took 475-500hp ten years later.

When I get some time I'll do this in much more detail but it is fairly representative.

NB data is for a single engine of whatever type powers that particular aeroplane.


Attachments:
F piston engines.png
F piston engines.png [ 107.69 KiB | Viewed 336 times ]

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 7:26 am 
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This one works a bit better. Please disregard my previous rather naff example. I have taken aircraft representative of their era wherever available, this is by no meals exhaustive but the chart shows some clear trends.

Vertical axis shows either the takeoff power in hp, or the max thrust (in reheat if available) divided by 10 to prevent skewing the y-axis.

Hope it's of interest.


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F piston and jet engines.png
F piston and jet engines.png [ 118.41 KiB | Viewed 324 times ]

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 7:36 am 
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Skewing the axis somewhat here are the unadulterated numbers. Going from piston to jet in the early-mid 40s gave an approximate power increase of 2000hp/ lbf thrust.


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F piston and jet engines-1.png
F piston and jet engines-1.png [ 86.09 KiB | Viewed 321 times ]

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