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North American NA-134 / NA-179 / NA-185 / NA-194 / NA-196 / NA-208 / NA-209 / NA-215 / NA-244 / FJ Fury

FJ-3 Fury

In the summer of 1944, North American Aviation completed the project design for a jet fighter using a wing based on that of the P-51 but with a completely new fuselage with a straight through jet duct from a nose inlet. Two designs were prepared, the second being a longer and heavier aircraft for the USAAF (this was later delayed and finally emerged as the XP-86, the first of the sweptwing Sabre family). The original proposal became the NA-134, ordered by the US Navy as the three XFJ-1 prototypes with the name Fury on January 1, 1945. The Navy became aware of German swept-wing data in the summer of 1945 but, unlike the USAAF, decided not to incorporate it in the new jet fighter.

A US Navy contract for the building of three XFJ-1 prototypes was awarded on 1 January 1945. Designed around the General Electric J35 axial flow turbojet, NAA chose a simple configuration with a nose intake and straight through airflow to the engine in the rear fuselage. This necessitated putting the cockpit above the intake ducting and resulted in a short and stumpy looking fuselage. The armament ot six 12.7mm machine guns was installed on the sides of the nose. Fuel was housed in the fuselage and in tip tanks on production aircraft.

Like the same company's XB-45 four-jet bomber, the XFJ-1 was little more than jet propulsion applied to an advanced traditional airframe, with a laminar wing similar in profile to the P-51. The first flight was made at Inglewood on November 27, 1946, the engine being the 1733 kg (3820 lb) thrust General Electric J35-2 (TGA80) axial. By this time Inglewood was building 100 production FJ-1 Furies, with the Allison J3-A 5-2, virtually the same engine but rerated at 1814 kg (4000 lb) thrust, and with full carrier equipment and six 0.3-in (12.7-mm) guns. Features included small dive brakes above and below the non-folding wings, tip tanks, a primitive ejection seat and a 'kneeling' nose gear for stacking in a tight nose-to-tail line below decks. Desig-nated NA-141, this batch was cut to 30 in 1948. Deliveries of these aircraft began in March 1948 with Allison-built engines and served only with VF-5A, soon restyled VF-51, between November 1947 and May 1949. In 1948 VF-5A (later VF-51) became the first jet unit to complete a seagoing tour of duty, aboard USS Boxer, the first carrier landing having been on March 10, 1948.

The Fury was quickly overtaken by the rapid pace of jet fighter development and remained in front line USN service for only 14 months before being relegated to Naval Reserve units. VF-5A / VF-51 was only operational squadron to fly the aircraft.

One of the prototype FJ-1s achieved a speed of Mach 0.87 in 1947 when, the fastest by any US fighter to that point. 



Though the original Fury was no better than several other fighters of the day, the Air Force clearly had made a major advance with the F-86 Sabre, and despite the Cutlass, Skyray and even the later McDonnell Demon the Navy decided to order a naval version of the Sabre in 1950. Confusingly, it decided to designate this FJ-2, instead of F2J, and to perpetuate the name Fury, thereby funds easier to obtain by suggesting that the type was a mere improved FJ-1 instead of a totally new aircraft. The first of the new NA-179 / XFJ-2 Fury prototypes flew on December 27, 1951. It was essentially an F-86E with four 20-mm (0.79-in) M-2 guns, an A-frame arrester hook, catapult hooks and a lengthened nose leg, the General Electric J47-13 engine remaining.

With successful conclusion of initial carrier qualification trials aboard the USS Midway, this type was ordered into quantity production. Deliveries began in 1954, but only 200 had been completed by 1954 when production switched to the FJ-3.


North American FJ-3 Fury


Carrier qualification was outstanding, and the Columbus, Ohio, factory (previously a Curtiss-Wright facility) constructed 300 of the much refined FJ-2 production type, with 2722-kg (6000-1b) thrust J47-2 engine, modified power-folding wings, wider-track landing gear and APG-30 radar gunsight. Production was assigned lower priority than the F-86F, and when the Korean war ended orders were cut to 200; all were delivered in the first nine months of 1954. All served with shore-based Marine fighter squadrons, with bomb racks and, from 1955, the new Sidewinder AAM.

On 3 March 1952, the design of a new Fury shipboard fighter began around the newly-available Sapphire engine, built by Wright and Buick as the J65-2 at 3538-kg (7800-1b) thrust, fed by an enlarged duct which made the fuselage deeper. Assigned the designation FJ-3, the new fighter differed from the FJ-2 primarily in having a redesigned fuselage with a deeper air intake to accommodate the Wright J65 engine, as the US-built version of the Sapphire was known. The fifth FJ-2 was adapted to take the new engine as the NA-196 XFJ-3 and flew on 3 July 1953, and the first of 389 production FJ-3 (NA-194), powered by a J65-W-4 engine rated at 7,650 lb st (3 470 kgp) and carrying an armament of four 20-mm cannon, followed on 11 December 1953. Deliveries to the US Navy began in September 1954, and, in the following year, the wing slats were discarded in favour of extended leading edges, while, with the 345th aircraft, additional wing stores stations were introduced for 500- or 1,000-lb (227- or 454-kg) bombs or rocket packs. The navy later added 214 NA-215 models with the W-4D engine, but cut this back to an extra 149 only, for a total of 538. In August 1956, as the 538th and last FJ-3 was delivered, a new weapon capability was introduced in the form of the Sidewinder AAM. 80 aircraft subsequently being modified as EJ-3Ms which augmented cannon armament with a pair of the AAMs.


FJ-3 Fury


This fighter/bomber equipped 17 navy and four marine squadrons, and VF-21 in January 1956 became the first combat unit to embark aboard the super carrier Forrestal. (The first FJ-3 unit at sea was VF-173, aboard Bennington, in May 1955.)

From August 1956 a total of 80 FJ-3s were converted to fire Sidewinders as the FJ-3M, while later others were rebuilt as drone targets and as drone (RPY) directors. The FJ-3D controlled the Regulus 1 ship-launched cruise missile, while the FJ-3D2 was parent aircraft to F9F-6K and KDA target aircraft. By 1959 surviving FJ-3s were being rebuilt with a long-chord wing, without slats, with integral wing fuel tanks and either three or four weapon pylons. In 1962 the new designations became DF-1C, DF-1D and MF-1C.

In 1953 Columbus, which from the start had a competent and aggressive design and project staff, proposed a completely re-engineered Fury with much enhanced capa-bility. This was soon accepted, and a rebuilt FJ-3 styled NA-208 and with the Navy designation XFJ-4, flew on October 16, 1953. Hardly any part was common to earlier Furies. The wing was much broader and thinner, with mid-span ailerons and full integ-ral tankage, inboard high-lift flaps and small fences on a fixed leading edge. The very deep reprofiled fuselage combined with the wing to increase internal fuel capacity by M, and with the four underwing pylons all loaded the gross weight was increased by the same proportion compared with the original FJ-2. The tail was thinner, and the vertical surface taller, and much of the engineering was that of the F-100C then in production at the Ohio factory. Main gears had levered suspension and further widened track, and the result was a superior carrier-based attack aircraft.

Production FJ-4 (NA-209) Furys flowed from February 1955, the engine being the 3493-kg (7700-1b) thrust J65-16A. The first batch of 150, completed in March 1957, were followed by 222 FJ-4B (71 followed by 151 improved NA-244) which finally closed out production of Sabres and Furys in the United States in May 1958. The FJ-4B had a stiffer wing with six pylons, LABS (Low Altitude Bombing System) for nuclear toss-delivery, extra air brakes on the rear fuselage and other changes. It was entirely configured as an attack bomber, and cleared to fire the ASM-N-7 Bullpup air-to-surface guided missile in January 1957.


North American FJ-4B Fury


Five Bullpups could be carried, with the radio-command guidance pod on the sixth pylon. In the revised Department of Defense numbering scheme the FJ-4 became the F-1E, and the FJ4B the AF-1E. The AF equipped nine navy and three marine corps attack squadrons, before being progressively transferred to the reserve in 1962-65. A little known research programme involved mixed power trials using two FJ-4 Furys with North American hydrogen-peroxide rockets mounted in a fuselage extension above the normal jetpipe, and with nose extensions housing instrumentation.

Introduced to service in 1957, the FJ-4B was finally retired from the front-line inventory in late 1962 although it continued to fly with second-line squadrons and Reserve units for several more years, the post-1962 de-signations being F-1C (FJ-3), MF-1C (FJ-3M), F-1E (FJ-4) and AF-1E (FJ-4B). Lesser-used variants were the FJ-3D and FJ-3D2 (DF-1C and DF-1D) drone-director conversions.

FJ-1 Fury
Engine: one 4.000-lb (1,814-kg) thrust Allison J35-A-2 turbojet
Maximum speed 547 mph (800 km/h) at 9000 ft (2,745 m)
Initial climb rate 3,300 ft (1,006 m) per minute
Service ceiling 32,000 ft (9,755 m)
Range w/max.fuel 1500 miles (2,414 km)
Empty weight 8,843 lb (4,011 kg)
Maximum take-off weight 15,600 lb (7,076 kg)
Wing span 38 ft 2 in (11.63 m) without tip tanks
Length 34 ft 5 in (10.49 m)
Height 14 ft 10 in (4.52 m)
Wing area 221.0 sq ft (20.53 sq.m)
Armament: six 0.5-in (12.7-mm) machine guns
Crew: 1


FJ-2 Fury
Engine: GE J47
FJ-3 Fury
Engine: 1 x Wright J-65-W-16A, 3470kW
Max speed at sea level, 681 mph (1 096 km/h)
Max speed at 35,000 ft (10 670 m) 623 mph (1 002 km/h)
Initial climb, 8.450 ft/min (42,93 m/see)
Range (clean), 990 mls (1 593 km)
Empty weight, 12,205 lb (5536 kg)
Loaded weight (clean), 17,189 lb(7 797kg)
Span, 37 ft 1 ½  in(11,31 m)
Length, 37ft7in(11.45m)
Height, l3ft 8 in(4,16 m)
Wing area, 302.3 sq ft (28,08 sq.m)

Engine: 1 x Wright J-65-W-16A, 3470kW
Max take-off weight: 9131 kg / 20131 lb
Empty weight: 5 992 kg
Wingspan: 11.91 m / 39 ft 1 in
Length: 11.07 m / 36 ft 4 in
Height: 4.24 m / 13 ft 11 in
Wing area: 31.46 sq.m / 338.63 sq ft
Max. speed: 1094 km/h
Range: 2390 km / 1485 miles
Armament: 4 x 20mm cannon
Crew: 1

FJ-4B/AF-1E  Fury
Powerplant: one 3493-kg (7,700-lb) thrust Wright J65-W-16A turbojet
Maximum speed 1094 km/h (680 mph) at sea level
Service ceiling 14265 m (46800 ft)
Range 4458 km (2,770 miles) with maximum external fuel.
Empty weight 6250 kg (13,778 lb)
Maximum take-off weight 12701 kg (28,000 lb)
Wing span 11.91 m(39 ft 1 in)
Length 11.07 m(36 ft 4 in)
Height 4.24 m (13ft 11 in)
Wing area 3l.46 sq.m (338.66 sq ft)
Armament: four 20-mm cannon
External ordnance 2722 kg (6,000 lb)

North American FJ-1 Fury



North American FJ-3 Fury



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