Folland Fo.117 Single-Seat Lightweight Monoplane Fighter Aircraft Proposal
Intended to best the German Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighter in capability, the lightweight Folland Fo.117 did not proceed beyond the drawing board.
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By the 1942, the German Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighter was fully entrenched as one of the two best fighters of the Luftwaffe (the other being the Messerschmitt Bf 109). This lightweight platform proved to be fast, agile and capable of bringing down nearly anything in the skies - indeed the Fw 190 is regarded as one of the classic designs in the whole of the war. For the British, the fighter cause was primarily handled by the likes of the sleek Supermarine Spitfire and the aging Hawker Hurricane.
In September of 1942, Specification F.6/42 was drawn up calling for a single-seat fighter able to match (or exceed) the compact Fw 190. In turn, this design would be also lightweight, showcase stellar agility and be armed through 4 x 20mm automatic cannons. Maximum speed was estimated at 450 miles per hour when cruising at 20,000 feet and rate-of-climb was also a key consideration of the new fighter.
Several of the usual British concerns threw their hats into the ring with Folland and Hawker coming out on top. Folland Aircraft was a relative newcomer to the field as it set up shop only recently in 1937. Comparatively Hawker Aircraft had been in business since 1920 (as H.G. Hawker Engineering).
The Folland proposal centered around the "Fo.177". This aircraft was of conventional arrangement with the engine at front, a single-finned tail unit at the rear and a mid-set placement for the pilot. A bubble canopy was proposed for excellent vision out-of-the-cockpit. The wing mainplanes were low-mounted with rounded tips and seated just ahead of midships. Each wing was slated to carry the requisite 2 x cannon installations. A traditional tail-dragger undercarriage (of wide-track arrangement) would be used for ground running - the main legs retracting towards fuselage centerline. Loaded weight of the fighter was estimated at 9,170lb.