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Henry J. Kaiser was a world leader in shipbuilding, associated primarily with the prefabricated Liberty Ship of Second World War. In 1942 Kaiser proposed construction of 5,000 transport flying-boats for troop carrying. Lacking aviation experience, he formed a joint company with Hughes Aircraft (q.v), Hughes to undertake design and Kaiser construction of the Hughes-Kaiser HK-1, the world's largest aircraft. In November 1942 a contract was signed for three aircraft, one for static test and two for flight. By 1944 construction of the first was still at the preliminary stage, and the U.S. Army and Navy withdrew technical assistance. The contract was reduced to one aircraft; Kaiser withdrew, and thereafter the design was called the Hughes H-4 Hercules.


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