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Anigrand #AA3002 1/72 Penetration Fighter Special Set



 
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Kit #AA3002. 1/72 scale. This is a set of three highly-detailed resin kits, complete with decals, covering USAF “penetration fighters” - the McDonnell XF-88A Voodoo, the Lockheed XF-90, and the North American YF-93A.

McDonnell XF-88A Voodoo: The XF-88A Voodoo, McDonnell Aircraft Model 36, was a transonic long-range twin-engined jet fighter aircraft, intended for long-range penetration and escort missions. Two prototypes were authorized in 1946 as the XP-88 to prove the concept. While it failed to reach production, it led the way to the supersonic F-101 Voodoo. As redesigned following wind-tunnel tests, and like the initially straight-winged P-84 Thunderjet, the P-86 Sabre and FJ Fury designs, the P-88 took advantage of German technology, being produced with a 35-degree swept-back wing and tail. Like other first- and second-generation McDonnell fighter designs, the P-88 had two side-by-side fuselage-mounted jet engines – in this case Westinghouse J34 turbojets – fed by wing-root inlets. Six 20mm M39 cannon were to be mounted in the nose, and the plane had a pressurized cockpit and an ejection seat. The first prototype was later modified as the XF-88B with an Allison T38 turboprop engine, and it became the first propeller-driven aircraft to break the sound barrier.

Lockheed XF-90: In competition with the XF-88 and YF-93, the Lockheed XF-90 was designed to fulfill the Air Force’s penetration fighter mission. The famous Lockheed Skunk Works produced two prototypes, s/n 46-687 and -688. Famed test pilot Tony LeVier made the first test flight in 1949, a year after the XF-88 first flew, and – like the other contenders for this role, it proved underpowered. In essence, this was perhaps the ultimate outgrowth of the F-80 design, being equipped with twin afterburning Westinghouse J34 axial-flow turbojets, a pointed nose and swept wings, but keeping the F-80’s basic configuration of fuselage-mounted engines and side-mounted inlets. The design was to be armed with six 20mm M39 cannons, and wingtip tanks added to the aircraft’s substantial fuel load, required for long-range missions. The aircraft was sturdy and well-built, but 50 percent heavier than its competitors.

In testing, the plane exceeded the sound barrier in a dive, but it was too heavily-built to keep up with the XF-88 Voodoo, which had the same two engines. After the project cancellation, one prototype was given to NACA – the precursor of NASA – for structural tests, while the other survived three above-ground nuclear tests at Frenchman Flat, inside the Nevada Test Site.

This unusual and sleek aircraft “survived” as the mount of the fictional Blackhawk Squadron in the popular ‘50s comic book published by Quality, and later DC comics.

North American YF-93: A late-comer to the Air Force’s search for a true penetration fighter, in 1947, North American decided to adapt their shorter-range air superiority F-86A Sabre to fulfill this long-range escort mission. Originally called the F-86C, it was a significantly larger, heavier aircraft than the F-86A, and was powered by the Pratt & Whitney J48 turbojet, with roughly twice the power of the Westinghouse J34s used by the other two penetration fighters. The size and weight required a dual main-wheel landing gear. Like the other contenders, this aircraft was built to carry six 20mm M39 cannons, but unlike the other contenders, it mounted a nose radar – the SCR-720 – and it was among the first Air Force designs to have an area-rule (“wasp waist” or “coke-bottle”) fuselage design, the better to cross the sound barrier.

In late 1947, the Air Force ordered two prototypes, s/n 48-317 and -318, but redesignated them as YF-93As instead of F-86Cs – and six months later, they ordered 118 production F-93A-NAs, without regard to the penetration fighter competition, which had yet to take place. However, in 1949, after the ground-breaking performance of the Boeing B-47 – so fast that the Air Force (ignoring the lessons of World War II) believed it could reach its targets unescorted – abruptly cancelled the order.

Still, the prototypes were completed, and did enter into head-to-head tests with the other two penetration fighter designs in 1950. Although it had received a production contract, it came in third in the competition, behind the McDonnell and Lockheed designs. The two prototypes tested radically-different side-mounted ducts for the plane’s engine, and were later given to NACA where they were used for aerodynamic research, and as “chase planes” for other tests.


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