1. #1
    If the P38 was equipped with the Merlin 66 or lets say Merlin 71 would this version have outperformed the P38 L?

    I have asked this before but not in a seperate thread, and the discussion was not very balanced. From what I have learned a P38 equipped with Merlins was made. Now some people have said that it would have been outperformed by Allison engined versions. I dont see how a P38 with Merlins could be anything but better. The Merlin was lighter, was producing more HP per year per model than the Allison, it had intergral two stage supercharger with after cooling so no need for the turbocharger and all of the piping that you have in the booms, it also was built in handed versions and was a very reliable and economic engine.

    So straight off we are talking about a benefit in weight reduction and power to weight ratio and then also altitude performance.

    I am not talking about practicality of production or economics its just a straight performance question.
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  2. #2
    If the P38 was equipped with the Merlin 66 or lets say Merlin 71 would this version have outperformed the P38 L?

    I have asked this before but not in a seperate thread, and the discussion was not very balanced. From what I have learned a P38 equipped with Merlins was made. Now some people have said that it would have been outperformed by Allison engined versions. I dont see how a P38 with Merlins could be anything but better. The Merlin was lighter, was producing more HP per year per model than the Allison, it had intergral two stage supercharger with after cooling so no need for the turbocharger and all of the piping that you have in the booms, it also was built in handed versions and was a very reliable and economic engine.

    So straight off we are talking about a benefit in weight reduction and power to weight ratio and then also altitude performance.

    I am not talking about practicality of production or economics its just a straight performance question.
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  3. #3
    stathem's Avatar Senior Member
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    Damn, I hope bollio_loco doesn't see this thread. He might bust his keyboard.

    The Merlin 71 - is that the handed one fitted to the Hornet?

    I think any (possible )performance benefit of having Merlins would be outweighed by the torque reaction of having both turning the same way.
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  4. #4
    The Hornet had Merlins that were 'handed' spinning in opposite directions from each other. So I guess that with a little effort this problem could be overcome.

    Heres a teaser - how about a Griffon engined P38

    where are all you P38 fans ?
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  5. #5
    bolillo_loco's Avatar Banned
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by stathem:
    Damn, I hope bollio_loco doesn't see this thread. He might bust his keyboard. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Originally made my =AFJ=Mantis

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  6. #6
    berg417448's Avatar Senior Member
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    The only negatives that I've ever read about a merlin powered P-38 were that allegedly the rate of climb would have been slightly less and the service ceiling would have been less. Another negative was the fact that the production lines would have to be shut down for a period of time (opinions vary as to length) to make the necessary design modifications and the War Production Board was unwilling to do that.
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  7. #7
    WOLFMondo's Avatar Senior Member
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    Why would the RoC and altitude performance be reduced? Surely that depends on the Merlin/supercharger combination used. It wasn't like the Merlin wasn't used on Spitfires and Mosquito's cruising at 30,000ft+. Merlins like Griffons were tweaked to go up past 40,000ft. As pointed out also the Merlin equipped P38 would be lighter than the Allison equiped P38.
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  8. #8
    horseback's Avatar Senior Member
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    From my reading on the subject, the Merlin was suggested as a replacement for the Allisons in the P-38 AFTER the development of the Merlin Mustang, by which point Packard's extra production had solved the problem of supply.

    Remember that the Spitfire Mk IX/VII/VIII was still relatively rare in the first half of 1943, due to the demand for Rolls Royce Merlins for Spits, Hurricanes, Mosquitos and Lancasters. The new 60 series engines had to 'take a number' in the priority list.

    Similarly, the P-38 had all kinds of production problems early in the war due to the difficulty of m*** producing a design that had been envisioned as a production run of a maximum of 150 aircraft. Its production/supply issues had seemingly been solved about the same time as the supply of Merlins became sufficient for all the RAF/USAAF demands. Allison, as a division of GM, would have resisted replacement by the Merlin with a great deal of political muscle.

    However, the Merlin Lightning would have been a much lighter aircraft, ***uming that the political and Merlin supply issues had been solved a year or so sooner.

    ***uming, however, that the different thrust-line of the Merlin could be adjusted for in the nacelle design, the Merlin Lightning would be a better fighter. What I would question is whether the improvements would be tranforming.

    Not needing the turbosuperchargers and their ***ociated piping, the weight savings would have vastly improved the Lightning's already respectable climb and accelleration. I don't think that it would have translated into a significant improvement in top speed or high altitude handling, where the Lightning sometimes verged on compressability in level flight.

    Maneuverability would have been somewhat better as well, with the improved power-to-weight ratio, but the aircraft would still have been subject to dive limitations, and less suited to long range, high-alt escort in the ETO than the Merlin Mustang.

    In short, while its strengths would have become greater, its only fault that would have changed would have been reliability in the 8th & 9th Air Forces. The cockpit layout and complexity would still be more demanding than single-seat fighters, it still would have (possibly even greater) compressibility problems in the dive and high speed high alt flight, the cockpit would still need adequate heating, its size & unique planform would make still it more easily identified by its enemies and the (initial) roll response would still be sluggish until they were hydraulically boosted.

    The Merlin Lightning, if developed and produced in numbers before the Merlin Mustang, might well have been quite effective in 1943-44, but if produced in tandem with the Mustang, I think Doolittle would have come to the same conclusion; the Mustang was a much better fighter for the job/money.

    cheers

    horseback
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  9. #9
    Don't recall a Merlin-powered P-38 prototype. Reference, please?
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  10. #10
    WOLFMondo's Avatar Senior Member
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    P38K?
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