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Folland Fo.117

United Kingdom (1943)
Picture of 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.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Folland Fo.117 Single-Seat Lightweight Monoplane Fighter Aircraft Proposal.  Entry last updated on 3/9/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

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.
One of the more notable traits of the Folland proposal was the 2 x three-bladed contra-rotating propellers fitted to the nose - a relatively new quality for a fighter of the period. This allowed smaller diameter propellers to be fitted and promised to increase performance.

The Fo.117 found a few supporters in the British Air Ministry ranks but not enough faith was seen in the small company to produce an all-new fighter in the schedule allotted and in the numbers that would be required. By March of 1943, the Fo.117 was given the death knell but, before the end of the year, it was resurrected as the "Fo.117A" with new wings. The engine of choice became the Bristol Centaurus XII engine of 2,500 horsepower and English Electric was set to offer its production facilities following the six prototypes contracted for from Folland.

Despite this, nothing came of the commitment and the Fo.117 never saw the light of day. The competing Hawker design found better results as it became the "Fury / Sea Fury" in British service. Eight hundred sixty-four of these navy fighter-bombers were built from 1945 to 1955.

Estimated specs for the Fo.117 included a maximum speed of 468 miles per hour, a service ceiling of 39,800 feet and rate-of-climb of 4,950 feet-per-minute.






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 500mph
Lo: 250mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (469mph).

    Graph average of 375 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Folland Fo.117A's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
0
0


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
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Origin: United Kingdom
Year: 1943
Type: Single-Seat Lightweight Monoplane Fighter Aircraft Proposal
Manufacturer(s): Folland Aircraft - United Kingdom
Production: 0
Status: Cancelled
Global Operators:
United Kingdom (cancelled)
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Folland Fo.117A model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
31.50 ft


Meters
9.6 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
35.93 ft


Meters
10.95 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
10.83 ft


Meters
3.3 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
6,834 lb


Kilograms
3,100 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
9,755 lb


Kilograms
4,425 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Bristol Centaurus XII inline piston engine developing 2,500 horsepower and driving 2 x three-bladed propeller units in contra-rotating fashion at the nose.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
469 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
755 kph


Knots
408 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
513 mi


Kilometers
825 km


Nautical Miles
445 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
39,797 ft


Meters
12,130 m


Miles
7.54 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
4,950 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
1,509 m/min

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon
Armament - Hardpoints (0):

PROPOSED:
4 x 20mm automatic cannons in wings (two per wing).
Variants: Series Model Variants
• Fo.117 - Base Series Designation
• Fo.117A - Revised design with all-new laminar-flow wings; Bristol Centaurus XII inline piston engine of 2,500 horsepower fitted..