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Grumman G-46 / XP-50


The G-34 had potential applications with the Air Force as well and as the Type G-45 ordered as a back-up to the Lockheed XP-49 in November 1939. A land-based version of the shipboard XF5F-1 was offered to the US Army Air Corps as the G-46 while the prototype naval fighter was still under construction, and this was ordered as the XP-50 on 25 November 1939. The XP-50 was essentially similar to its shipboard counterpart, apart from having a lengthened nose to accommodate the nosewheel member of a tricycle undercarriage, and, powered by two turbo- supercharged Wright R-1820-67/69 engines, was intended to carry an armament of two 20-mm cannon and two 0.5-in (12,7- mm) machine guns.

The prototype XF5F-1 had a number of modifications, the most noticeable being an extension of the fuselage nose so that it terminated forward of the wing. Although failing to win a production order, the XF5F-1 soldiered on until withdrawn from use in December 1944, having done some useful work as a development prototype for the more advanced Grumman F7F. A land-based version of Grumman's design interested the US Army Air Force, which ordered a single XP-50 prototype.

First flown on February 18 1941 at Bethpage, the XP-50 (40-3057) was powered by a pair of 1,200hp (893kW) R-1820-67s and had a longer nose, tricycle landing gear and turbocharged engines.

Its potential seemed tremendous, with good manoeuvrability, excellent pilot view even astern, two 20-mm and two 0.5-in guns, plus bombs, a range of 1,250 miles, ceiling of over 40,000 ft and speed of 424 mph. This came to nothing, the planned P-65 production version being compromised by the need also to meet navy requirements with the equivalent F7F, and in any case Grumman’s resources were being stretched to the limit.

An in-flight explosion of the turbosupercharger on May 14 1941 forced test pilot Bob Hall to bail out and with the loss of the prototype, this programme also being abandoned in favour of the more advanced XP-65 (G-51), which, in the event, was also to be discontinued.

XP-50 manufacturer's estimates
Engine: 2 x Wright R-1820-67/-69
Max speed, 424 mph (682 km/h) at 25,000 ft (7 620 m).
Range, 585 mls (941 km) at 317 mph (510 km/h) at 10,000 ft (3 050 m).
Time to 20,000 ft (6 095 m), 5.0 min.
Empty weight, 8,307 lb (3768 kg).
Max loaded Weight, 13,060 lb (5 924 kg).
Span, 42 ft 0 in (12,80 m).
Length, 31 ft 11 in (9,73 m).
Height, 12 ft 0 in (3,66 m).
Wing area, 304 sq ft (28,24 sq.m).
Armament: two 20-mm and two 0.5-in guns, plus bombs.
Crew: 1



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