During World War 2, the race for being the most technologically innovative country was more important than ever, particularly in aviation. As entirely new air forces were built from the ground up, almost a million aircraft were produced worldwide for warfare.

And even though the United States joined the war later than most of the other technologically advanced countries, they didn’t want to be left behind. To keep up with wild new technologies such as jet-power and flying wings, they wanted to design something that had never been seen before. The XP-79 was, at a time, thought to be the answer.

The XP-79 was the first jet-powered aircraft of the United States. Its purpose was to attack enemy bombers at unusually high speeds by ramming into them, without suffering any damage itself. Its unique shape and strong magnesium-covered armour would allow it to slice off the tails and wings from enemy aircraft. It was nicknamed “The Flying Chainsaw.”

The Northrop XP-79, USAAF project number MX-365, was an ambitious design for a flying wing fighter aircraft, designed by Northrop. It had several notable design features; among these, the pilot would operate the aircraft from a lying position, permitting the pilot to withstand much greater g-forces in the upward and downward direction with respect to the plane – and welded magnesium monocoque structure instead of riveted aluminium.

In 1942, John K. (Jack) Northrop conceived the XP-79 as a high-speed rocket-powered flying-wing fighter aircraft. In January 1943, a contract for two prototypes (s/n 43-52437 & 43-52438) with designation XP-79 was issued by the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF).

Originally, it was planned to use a 2,000 lbf (8,900 N) thrust XCALR-2000A-1 “rotojet” rocket motor from Aerojet that used mono-ethylaniline fuel and red fuming nitric acid (RFNA) oxidiser. However, the rocket motor configuration using canted rockets to drive the turbo-pumps was unsatisfactory and the aircraft was subsequently fitted with two Westinghouse 19B (J30) turbojets and re-designated XP-79B. After the failure of the rocket motor, further development of the first two prototypes ended.

To protect the pilot if the aircraft was damaged in combat the XP-79 was built using a welded magnesium alloy monocoque structure with a 0.125 in (3.2 mm) skin thickness at the trailing edge and a 0.75 in (19 mm) thickness at the leading edge.

The pilot controlled the XP-79 through a tiller bar and rudders mounted below; intakes mounted at the wingtips supplied air for the unusual bellows-boosted split ailerons.

Sources: YouTube; Wikipedia

UAV DACH: Beitrag im Original auf https://www.uasvision.com/2020/09/25/northrop-xp-79-the-flying-chainsaw/, mit freundlicher Genehmigung von UAS Vision automatisch importiert. Der Beitrag gibt nicht unbedingt die Meinung oder Position des UAV DACH e.V. wieder. Das Original ist in englischer Sprache. Für die Inhalte ist der UAV DACH e.V. nicht verantwortlich.