American postwar aircraft
McDonnell F3H (F-3) Demon
The F3H swept-wing transsonic jet fighter was underpowered, but served a short period
with the USN (until September 1964). Two prototypes were ordered on September 30, 1949.
They were to prove that carrier-based fighters could be just as advanced as land-based
The project proved to be a very costly venture. The enormous costs and delays that the
F3H suffered were mainly due to its powerplant. Failure to develop the engine to design
power output and reliability was largely responsible. Development was also complicated due
to the US Navy who requested a redesign so the type was an all-weather night fighter.
The original F3H-1N was completely unairworthy because of its unreliable Westinghouse
J40 engine. The F3H-2 was better, but arrived late and was soon retired. It had moderate
wing sweep, and typical half-circular intakes. At the time the Demon was built the USN was
switching to missile armament, and some carried early versions of the AIM-7 Sparrow
and AIM-9 Sidewinder
With the failure of the engines intended for it the type was extremely underpowered and
after 11 accidents in which two test pilots were killed the program was halted. The
problems were finally resolved and 591 aircraft of all versions have been built by the
time production ended in 1959.
|General characteristics F3H-2
||One Allison J71-A-2E axial flow turbojet
||519 sq ft
||48.22 sq m
|Rate of climb
||4x 20mm cannon; some aircraft early versions of the AIM-7 Sparrow and AIM-9 Sidewinder
||August 7, 1951
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