Thursday, February 19, 2015

Lockheed L-133 interceptor

Nathan Price (r) and Hall Hibbard examining an XJ-37 (L-1000) turbojet engine.

A 3 view plane of the Lockheed L-133-02-01

The Lockheed L-133 was designed to be the first jet fighter of the US Forces during the first half of World War II.

The Lockheed aviation company was the first in the United States to start work on a jet-powered aircraft, the L-133 design started in 1939 as a number of "Paper Projects" by engineers Clarence "Kelly" Johnson, Willis Hawkins and Hall J Hibbard. By 1940 preliminary work on a company financed jet fighter had been started, which progressed to several different versions on the drawing board. In the meantime Lockheed were working on an axial-flow L-1000 turbojet engine of their own design, which was intended to power the culmination of the jet fighter project, the Model L-133-02-01.

Throughout World War II, the development of a jet-powered fighter had the potential to bring a decisive advantage in the air battles of the war; as history played out only the Luftwaffe built significant numbers of jet fighters before World War II ended, and they reached service too late to make a difference.

On March 30, 1942, Lockheed formally submitted the L-133-02-01 to the United States Army Air Forces for consideration. Powered by two L-1000 turbojets and featuring a futuristic-appearing canard design with slotted flaps to enhance lift, the single-seat fighter was expected to have a top speed of 612 mph (985 km/h) in level flight.

The L-133 had a main wing shape that should be familiar to World War II aviation buffs: essentially the outer wing sections of a Lockheed P-38. In many respects the L-133 was far ahead of its time, with futuristic features including:

    canard layout
    blended wing-body planform
    two engines in a very low-drag integral fuselage location

The USAAF considered the L-133 to be too advanced for the time, and did not pursue the project.[1] However the experience gained with the design would serve Lockheed well in the development of the USAAF's first operational jet fighter, the P-80 Shooting Star. Although entering service after World War II had ended, the P-80 was less advanced than the L-133. Because the USAAF didn't give the L-133 project the go-ahead, the advanced engines intended for the L-133 had long pauses in their development. The most expedient engine choice for the P-80 thus became the Allison J33 based on British centrifugal compressor designs. The P-80 was a cheap-to-build single-engined aircraft with a very conventional wing and tailplane design, not using the blended wing-body and canard layout of the L-133.

Specifications (L-133-02-01)
General characteristics
    Crew: 1
    Length: 48 ft 4 in (14.73 m)
    Wingspan: 46 ft 8 in (14.22 m)
    Wing area: 325 ft² (30.194 m²)
    Powerplant: 2 × Lockheed L-1000 axial-flow turbojets, 5100 lbf (23 kN) each each
    Maximum speed: 612 mph (985 km/h)
    4 × 20mm nose-mounted cannon


1 comment:

  1. it is of interest that Wright Aeronautical sat on Army contract W33-038-ac-16288 which called for development of the L-1000/XJ-37 engine design in favor of their own in house program. sadly, this probably set back axial engine design many years. Many a fine engine engine designer and engineer was broken by that foul corporate bit of shenanigans. having a small diameter powerful and developed powerplant in the late 1940's would have really helped the development of some very fine aerodynamically sound designs