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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 fighters.
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
Primary function Fighter
Power plant One Allison J71-A-2E axial flow turbojet
Thrust 9,700 lb 4,400 kg
Wingspan 35.33 ft 10.77 m
Length 58.9 ft 17.96 m
Height 14.57 ft 4.44 m
Wingarea 519 sq ft 48.22 sq m
Weight empty 22,132 lb 10,039 kg
max. 33,900 lb 15,377 kg
Speed max. 646 mph 1,040 km/h
Rate of climb 19,180 ft/min 5,846 m/min
Ceiling 42,650 ft 13,000 m
Range 1,180 mi 1,900 km
Armament 4x 20mm cannon; some aircraft early versions of the AIM-7 Sparrow and AIM-9 Sidewinder
Crew One
First flight August 7, 1951
Date deployed March 1956
Number built 519

Jirka Wagner


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