Republic XP-69 High-Speed, High-Altitude Single-Seat Fighter Concept
The Republic XP-69 fighter project was doomed with the demise of the Wright Tornado engine program in 1943.
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Republic struck wartime gold with its successful P-47 "Thunderbolt" fighter. The Thunderbolt went down in American aviation lore as one of the classic designs to come out of the World War 2 period (1939-1945). It, along with a healthy stable of competing designs, helped to swing back the initiative in the air wars over Europe and the Pacific, leading to an ultimate resolution in the years-long conflict come 1945.
The P-47 was so critical to American wartime needs that it left little room for Republic to work on other promising ventures. Despite this, several projects were underway with the task of fulfilling various over-battlefield roles and, in July of 1941, the company pursued a new single-seat / single-engine high-altitude, high-speed fighter design in the "AP-18" and this performance aircraft was to fit either the in-development Wright "Tornado" or the Pratt & Whitney "Wasp Major" engine. The Tornado seemingly held the edge in terms of timetable and was backed by the Army since a contract was given in June of 1939.
To field the engine in a fighter form as quickly as possible, the Army contracted with Republic to produce an appropriate aircraft in short order. A pair of prototypes would be covered in the agreement with one showcasing a single propeller fit and another completed with a contra-rotating propeller. The Tornado engine was estimated to have an output of 2,500 horsepower with turbosupercharger installed but this also required a propeller unit with considerable diameter. In turn this would require a dimensionally large airframe and, to satisfy the high-altitude requirement, a pressurized cockpit was a must.