1. #1

    Link: http://skaneateles.org/navy/aj_song.html

    The North American AJ Savage was originally built for the US Navy as a carrier-based strategic bomber.

    On August 13, 1945, only a week after the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, the Navy initiated a design competition for a carrier-based attack aircraft that would be capable of delivering a 10,000 pound payload, which happened to be the weight of the plutonium-based "Fat Man" Nagasaki bomb.

    The North American Aviation entry in the contest (company designation NA-146) was a large high-winged aircraft with a wingspan of more than 71 feet and a length of 63 feet. It was powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney R-2800-44W air-cooled radial engines mounted in wing nacelles, each of which drove a large, four-bladed propeller. An Allison-built General Electric J33 turbojet was mounted in the rear fuselage. This jet engine was intended to be used during takeoff, for high-speed dash capability over the target, as well as in the event of failure of one of the piston engines. The air intake for the jet engine was located just ahead of the vertical fin. The intake was covered by a door that was opened during operation. The jet exhaust was located on the bottom of the rear fuselage beneath the vertical stabilizer. The crew of two sat side-by-side underneath a framless bubble canopy that slid to the rear for entry and exit. No armament was provided, the aircraft relying on its high performance to avoid interception.

    The main landing gear members each had two wheels and were attached to the engine nacelles, and retracted rearward into wells in the rear of the nacelles. The nose gear had a single tire and retracted to the rear for stowage in a nose well. The carrier arrester hook was attached to the bottom of the tail, to the rear of the jet engine exhaust.

    At first, it seemed that the AJ Savage program might never come to fruition. The US Air Force was established as a separate and independent service in September of 1947. Almost immediately, the new USAF got itself involved in an interservice rivalry with the US Navy over the roles that each would play in providing a nuclear deterrent in the Cold War, which was at that time just beginning. The USAF naturally thought that nuclear deterrence was strictly their responsibility, which they were to provide via a fleet of B-29, B-50, and B-36 long-range strategic bombers. The Navy, fearful that they were going to lose out in this competition, proposed a fleet of carrier-based nuclear strike aircraft.

    The Air Force bitterly opposed the Navy's program for a carrier-based strategic bombers, and the late 1940s saw some rather bitter controversies over the relative roles of the two services. After much debate, in 1948, Secretary of Defense James V. Forrestal and the Joint Chiefs of Staff announced an agreement under which the USAF would have the primary responsibility for delivering nuclear weapons, but the Navy would be allowed to continue with the development of its own nuclear strike force.

    On June 24, 1946, the Navy ordered three prototypes under the designation XAJ-1 Twelve production aircraft were ordered on October 6, 1947. The aircraft was assigned the name Savage. 28 more were ordered in May of 1948.

    The first prototype was rolled out of the factory in June of 1948, and took off on its maiden flight on July 3, 1948, test pilot Bob Chilton being at the controls. The test flight program was not without problems--the second and third aircraft were both lost in accidents due to structural failures.

    The first production version of the Savage was the AJ-1. It differed from the prototype in having a number of structural improvements. The number of crew members was increased to three. The wingtips and the vertical tail folded for storage aboard carriers. Although the earliest examples retained the clear, sliding canopy of the prototype, this was later replaced by a fixed, framed canopy. Entry and exit to the cockpit was via a door located on the right side of the fuselage, although there was an emergency escape window in the canopy itself. Wingtip-mounted fuel tanks were added for increased range.

    The first AJ-1 flew for the first time in May of 1949, and initial flight tests were carried out at NAS Patuxent River, MD and at NAS Moffett Field, CA. The first AJ-1 carrier takeoff took place on April 21, 1950, from deck of the USS Coral Sea. The first carrier landing was on August 31.

    The first squadron to receive the AJ-1 was composite squadron VC-5, with deliveries beginning in September of 1949. VC-6 and V-7 also later received AJ-1s. A total of 55 AJ-1s were built.

    Many AJ-1s were rebuilt as AJ-2s. Surviving AJ-1s were redesignated A-2A in 1962 under the new unified designation system.

    <span class="ev_code_YELLOW">USS Oriskany (CV-34)

    With a North American AJ-1 "Savage" attack plane on her flight deck.
    Photographed by W.M. Cox. The image is dated 29 August 1952, when Oriskany was operating off the U.S. west coast, preparing for her first Korean War deployment.</span>

    North American AJ-1 Savage
    Engines: Two Pratt & Whitney R-2800-48 air-cooled radial engines rated at 2300 hp at 30,000 feet and one Allison J33-A-10 turbojet, rated at 4600 lb.s.t.
    Performance: Maximum speed 449 mph at 34,000 feet, 357 mph at sea level. Cruising speed 270 mph. Landing speed 120 mph.
    Combat ceiling 40,800 feet. Initial climb rate 2900 feet per minute.
    Range 1730 miles with a 7600 lb MK-15 nuclear weapon and a pair of 300 gallon wingtip fuel tanks.
    Maximum ferry range 3000 miles.
    Dimensions: Wingspan 71 feet 45 inches, Length 63 feet 1 inches, height 21 feet 5 inches, wing area 836 square feet.
    Weight: 30,800 pounds empty, 50,900 pounds gross, 54,000 pounds maximum.
    Armament: Maximum offensive load 12,000 pounds, such as a 7600 pound MK 15 nuclear weapons or six 1600-pound conventional weapons and two 300-gallon wingtip tanks. No defensive armament was carried.

    Link: http://web.cortland.edu/woosterk/hatwing1.html
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  2. #2
    stansdds's Avatar Senior Member
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    Apr 2004
    Maybe not exactly a roaring success, but likely paved the way for aircraft such as the highly successful Grumman A-6 Intruder.

    "Flight of the Intruder" is still on my short list of favorite aviation war films.
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  3. #3
    The series of book's put out by the author [Stephen Coonts]with Flight of the Intruder with Lt. Jake 'Cool Hand' Grafton... are Pretty Good reading and I just picked up the movie recently.

    The AJ-1 Savage is a Great looking aircraft and had Excellent performance for an aircraft of it size.
    The downside being... it wasn't made for multi proposes and also the fact of the coming of the Jet Age made it obsolete before it was placed into service.
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  4. #4
    Waldo.Pepper's Avatar Banned
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    Oct 2003
    "Ironhand is my thang."
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  5. #5
    A-5 Vigilante was another cool carrier based strike aircraft that became obsolete fairly quickly, though it provided a recon platform for a while
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  6. #6
    A-5 Vigilante... had a Very active career as a Reconnaissance Aircraft and stayed on the active list till the 1980's.

    "Ironhand is my thang." Lieutenant Commander Virgil Cole... played by William Defoe. LoL Defoe is Excellent in his role.
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  7. #7
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