Aviation Historian 38
P.Stoddard - Sharpening the Scimitar
Developed concurrently with the Scimitar, the D.H.110 Sea Vixen all-weather fighter was similarly powered by a pair of Rolls-Royce Avon engines, the type entering front-line service with No 892 Sqn in July 1959. The lead aircraft in this quartet of No 892 Sea Vixen FAW.1s is fitted with four de Havilland Firestreak air-to-air missiles.
Первый опытный YF4H-1 № 142259
While the single-engined Crusader represented a giant leap forward for carrier fighters, McDonnell Douglas went one step further to create the twin-engined Phantom II, which would go on to define the supersonic Cold War jet fighter. Seen here is the prototype XF4H-1, BuAer 142259, around the time of its first flight in May 1958.
The Vought F8U Crusader was a radical departure in naval fighter design. It introduced numerous innovative features including its ingenious two-position variable-incidence hinged high-set wing, seen here on the first production F8U-1, in its open position with the wing canted 7° upwards. This increased lift for take-off and drag for landing, and enabled the fuselage to remain horizontal while the aircraft was at high angles of attack during landing.
Initially given the designation F9F-9, the Grumman Tiger prototype, BuAer 138604, seen here, made its first flight on July 30, 1954. It was lost in a crash after an engine flame-out on October 20 that year. The type went on to be redesignated F11F-1 and entered service in March 1957. The Tiger’s frontline career lasted only five years.
Scimitar F.1 XD267, coded “151/R”, in the colours it wore while serving with No 803 Sqn during 1964, including the unit’s distinctive yellow and black chequerboard pattern on the fin. It is fitted with the extra wing-mounted tanks used for “buddy” refuelling duties.
With “Royal Navy” emblazoned on the undersides of their wings, Scimitars flew the flag for the Fleet Air Arm at SBAC shows at Farnborough in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The twin-engined naval fighter looked impressive and certainly made a lot of noise, but in reality it could not compete with its contemporaries.
Scimitar F.1 XD248 of No 807 Sqn FAA peels away to reveal the undersides of its shapely - if rather thick - wings, which have been fitted with pylons carrying 24 x 3in rocket projectiles. The type entered FAA service with evaluation unit No 700X Flight at Ford in August 1957, joining front-line service with No 803 Sqn in June 1958.
With the double-slotted flaps fitted to their wings and fuselage undersides fully deployed, a pair of No 736 Sqn Scimitars makes a formation landing at Farnborough in 1962. The Scimitars put up a lively display at the SBAC show, the press noting that they provided a series of "audible near-sonic almost-bangs..."
Illustrations of the single-seat naval version of the proposed Supermarine Type 576 ‘‘Super Scimitar” mixed-power interceptor. It was to be fitted with a pair of Avon engines plus two de Havilland Spectre rocket motors, which it was estimated would provide a maximum speed of Mach 1-8 at 65,000ft (20,000m).
The sole Supermarine Type 525, VX138, was the true genesis of the Scimitar, fitted with swept wings and conventional swept tail surfaces, in contrast to the Type 508’s straight-tapered wings and butterfly tail. The 525 made its first flight on April 27, 1954, in the hands of Supermarine test pilot Mike Lithgow, but was lost in a fatal crash while on a test flight from Boscombe Down on July 5, 1955.
An early production F4D-1, 134752, with its intake modified to include the splitter plate but as yet unpainted. The pod contained navigation avionics.
Used by both the US Navy and US Marine Corps, the Douglas F4D Skyray was an impressive interceptor, the type setting several new time-to-height records in 1958. This example is seen fitted with a Douglas NAVPAC on its centreline pylon, containing radio beacon-tracking gear and distance-measuring equipment for navigation.