View Full Version : AHC/WI: American Equivelant To The Merlin
February 18th, 2011, 11:36 AM
A defining character of most American aircraft (especially fighters) in the 1930s and early 1940s was the overall crappiness of their engines-the P-39, whose design was greeted with great enthusiasm, ended up off frontline service due to the lack of a good engine, and two of America's most famous WWII-era fighters (the P-51 and the later model P-40s) used an American-produced version of the famous Rolls-Royce Merlin, which was used in the Spitfire and Hurricane.
So, how could the US develop an engine that was about as effective as the Merlin in the 1933-35 time range? And what effect, if any, would it have on the course of American aircraft development, and the coming war? Any takers?
February 18th, 2011, 02:46 PM
The only American V-12 engine was the Allison V-1710, not a bad engine at lower altitudes. The trouble was that the turbo superchargers made by General Electric, as a separate unit, never did work quite right even on successful designs like the P-38. The turbocharger was deleted in the P-39 at the same time significant amount of weight was added to the airframe.
If Allison had built a version of the V-1710 with a crank driven multi-stage supercharger like the Merlin it would have been competitive to the Rolls-Royce designs. The Allison had a smaller parts count and required less parts to be hand made lending its self for easier mass production. Also my personal opinion the Allison engine seems to run a bit smoother than the Merlin.
February 18th, 2011, 03:10 PM
The reason the Allison did not have a good gear driven Supercharger (they did have one it just wasnot as efficent as the Merlins) is that the engineers at Allison were working under the assumption that the engine would be turbo-charged. But bombers and such had the priority on turbos due to metals shortages. Pluis the Allison has a beefier bottom end and a better haed design that the Merlin. What one should wonde ris just what could of become of the Curtis Conqueror if the idiots at Wright Field had not insisted on such a high operating temperature.
February 18th, 2011, 03:27 PM
Much like the Merlin engine evolved from earlier V-12 engines, the Curtiss engines could have gone a similar rout. Acording to Wikipedia the government funding dried up and there was not enough demand for use by airlines at that time to continue production of the V-1570 AKA Curtiss Conqueror.
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