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McDonnell FH Phantom (FD Phantom) Carrier-borne Fighter (1947)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 5/27/2012

The FH-1 Phantom became the US Navys first carrier-based jet fighter in the post-war world.

The FH-1 Phantom served with the United States Navy as their first jet-powered carrer-based aircraft up until 1950 and was in design as early as 1943. The system featured a straight wing design, twin Westinghouse engines, a crew of one and a battery of 4 x 12.7mm (.50 caliber) heavy machine guns in the nose. Though serving for only a few short years operationally and appearing in limited quantity, the Phantom was nonetheless an important stepping stone to American military defense.

The Phantom offered up acceptable performance statistics for an aircraft of early turbojet design, with a top speed marked at 479 miles per hour. Up to 1,600lbs of thrust were generated by each of the turbojets of Westinghouse brand and could take the Phantom in excess of nearly 700 miles while reaching a service ceiling of over 40,000 feet.

The FH-1 initially appeared as prototype XFD-1 and made its maiden voyage in January of 1945. Once proving itself capable from launching and landing on navy carriers, the type appeared in production form as the FH-1 Phantom to which some 100 examples were contracted for order - though this would later be brought down to about 60 examples. The FH-1 went on to serve on the USS Saipan with squadron 17-A. The system would go on to provide front line US Navy service up until 1950, to which the design would be succeeded by yet another McDonnell Aircraft design, the F2H Banshee, to which the new system would share some visual similarities.

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Specifications for the
McDonnell FH Phantom (FD Phantom)
Carrier-borne Fighter

Focus Model: McDonnell FH-1 Phantom
Country of Origin: United States
Manufacturer: McDonnell Aircraft Corporation - USA
Initial Year of Service: 1947
Production: 62

Crew: 1

Length: 37.24 ft (11.35 m)
Width: 40.75 ft (12.42 m)
Height: 14.17ft (4.32 m)
Weight (Empty): 6,682 lb (3,031 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 26,533 lb (12,035 kg)

Powerplant: 2 x Westinghouse J30-WE-20 turbojet engines devlivering 1,600lbs of thrust each.

Maximum Speed: 479 mph (771 kmh; 416 kts)
Maximum Range: 695 miles (1,118 km)
Service Ceiling: 41,093 ft (12,525 m; 7.8 miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 0 feet-per-minute (0 m/min)

Hardpoints: 0
Armament Suite:
4 x 12.7mm machine guns mounted in the nose

XFD-1 - Prototype Models Designation

FH-1 - Production Series Designation

the United States of America