Jets45 Histories

Bell XP-83

    Long-range fighter
The first prototype Bell XP-83

    Engine: 2x General Electric I-40 J33-GE-5 turbojets making 4,000lb of thrust.
    Wing Span: 53'
    Length: 44' 10''
    Height: 15' 3''
    Empty 14,105 lb / Loaded 27,500 lb
    Maximum Speed: 522 mph
    Ceiling: 45,000'
    Range: 2,050 miles
    Crew: 1 (second prototype later fitted with a station for an engineer)
    Armament: 6x 0.50'' machine guns or 4x 20mm/37mm cannons

On the 29/3/1944 the Bell Aircraft Corporation was asked by the USAAF the build a long range jet fighter, by reconfiguring there Model 40 design, Bell came up with the XP-83 which retained the overall configuration of the Bell P-59A. A contract was awarded for two prototypes on 21/7/1944, with the first aircraft being flown for the first time just seven month later on the 25/2/1945 by Jack Woolams.

The design had a number of problems such as being under powered, unstable and the hot exhaust buckled the tailplane on the ground! The tail plane problem was over come by modifying the tailpipes so they angled outwards, tests showed that the stability could be cured by the fitting of an 18'' extension to the tail. None the less the performance of the XP-83 was disappointing and no series production was ordered, all further work on the XP-83 design was abandoned.

The two prototypes were used as test beds for a short time, with two ramjets being fitted under the wings, it was hoped that when the aircraft obtained sufficient speed it would be powered by the ramjet alone. On 14/9/1946 one of the ramjets caught fire and the aircraft crashed, the second aircraft was scrapped in 1947.

eXTReMe Tracker