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Folland Fo.148

Swing-Wing Trainer / Light Strike Aircraft Proposal

Folland Fo.148

Swing-Wing Trainer / Light Strike Aircraft Proposal

OVERVIEW
SPECIFICATIONS
ARMAMENT
VARIANTS
HISTORY
IMAGES
Overview



The Folland Fo.148 was proposed as a light strike and general trainer aircraft modeled after the in-service Folland Gnat.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: United Kingdom
YEAR: 1963
STATUS: Cancelled
MANUFACTURER(S): Folland Aircraft - UK
PRODUCTION: 0
OPERATORS: United Kingdom (abandoned)
National flag of United Kingdom
UK
Technical Specifications



Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Folland Fo.148 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
CREW: 2
POWER: 1 x Rolls-Royce RB.153-61 afterburning turbojet engine developing 6,720lb of thrust dry and 11,750lb of thrust with reheat; thrust-reverser capability.
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RANGE

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Armament



PROPOSED:
2 x "Red Top" air-to-air missiles OR 2 x "Bullpup" air-to-surface missiles.
Graphical image of an air-to-air missile weapon
Graphical image of a short-range air-to-air missile
Graphical image of an aircraft air-to-surface missile
Variants / Models



• Fo.148 - Base Project Designation; encompassing primary trainer form lacking radar, afterburning engine and swing-wing capability, advanced trainer form with full swing-wing capability and minimal avionics package, and light strike model with nose-mounted radar, afterburning engine, and complete weapons/avionics suite.


History



Detailing the development and operational history of the Folland Fo.148 Swing-Wing Trainer / Light Strike Aircraft Proposal.  Entry last updated on 6/21/2019. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
The final official entry into military aviation history concerning the Folland Aircraft Company became the "Fo.148". This aircraft was proposed against a standing Royal Air Force (RAF) requirement calling for a "combination" airframe capable of primary/advanced pilot training as well as light strike sorties. While the requirement was ultimately fulfilled by a modified, trainer-oriented form of the SEPECAT "Jaguar" jet aircraft, the Fo.148 followed Folland's other proposal, the Fo.147 (detailed elsewhere on this site), in an attempt to woo RAF authorities.

Unlike the twin engine Fo.147 proposal, which was based in the proposed Gnat Mk.5 model, the F.148 was set to feature the single engine installation of the Gnat Mk.1. The same high-winged mainplane arrangement was to be used though modified with an inherent "Variable Geometry" (VG) - or "swing-wing" - capability. The swing-wing nature of the mainplanes allowed the aircraft to more efficiently operate at both low- and high-speed flight envelopes by changing the sweepback of the mainplanes in real-time / mid-flight.

Folland engineers proposed the Fo.148 as something of a "one-size-fits-all" solution, capable of fulfilling both basic and advanced jet trainer roles for RAF airmen as well as having a secondary light attack function. The relative simplicity of the Gnat framework was also to have enticed foreign operators to purchase the type in number. All of this planning led to three distinct forms of the base Fo.148 being proposed: the basic trainer sans a radar fit and afterburning engine along with fixed wing mainplanes, the advanced trainer model with full swing-wing functionality but lacking the afterburning engine and any advanced weapons/avionics support, and the light attack platform having access to all advanced systems (including nose-mounted radar) and afterburning engine to make for a sound low-level attacker.

In any case, the aircraft's design was to carry a single Rolls-Royce RB153-61 turbojet engine offering 6,720lb thrust on dry and 11,750lb with reheat engaged. The engine was installed in the aft-section of the fuselage and aspirated by side-mounted intakes. Along with this the aircraft would feature two crewmen seated in tandem and a retractable tricycle undercarriage for ground-running. The tail unit incorporated a single vertical fin with low-set horizontal planes - this was in contrast to the earlier Fo.147 which was to make use of a unique rotating/retractable canard arrangement, resulting in the deletion of the horizontal tailplane members. All wing surfaces were given sweepback in the Fo.148 design.

Beyond its multi-faceted airframe, the aircraft's engine was to feature a "thrust-reverser" quality to help shorten landing runs (this feature was prominently seen in the contemporary, Cold War-era Swedish Saab JAS 37 "Viggen" fighter detailed on this site), an inherent missile-carrying capability for possible interception duties, and an advanced Fire Control System (FCS) found in then-top-flight RAF platforms such as the English Electric "Lightning" supersonic interceptor. Two hardpoints were to be featured in the Fo.148, these found along the lower sides of the fuselage and supporting either the "Red Top" air-to-air missile or the "Bullpup" air-to-surface missile depending on attack role needed (up to 2,000lb of externally-held stores possible).

As drawn up, the aircraft was given a running length of 47 feet with a wingspan of 35 feet. Gross weight was to reach 16,500. Proposed maximum speed was just above Mach 2.0.

In any event, the Fo.148 failed to net interest just as the Fo.147 before it - neither making it to the prototype stage. A first-flight of the Fo.148 prototype was, indeed, being planned for the end of 1963 or early 1964 but this fell to naught and both designs ended up as nothing more than proposals destined to never see the light of day.

With the end of the Fo.148 proposal came the end of Folland as a brand label for the company was absorbed into Hawker Siddeley during 1959-1960.






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
Hi: 1600mph
Lo: 800mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (1,572mph).

Graph average of 1200 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
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Graph showcases the Folland Fo.148's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
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 (0)
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
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
A2A
Interception
UAV
Ground Attack
CAS
Training
ASW
Anti-Ship
AEW
MEDEVAC
EW
Maritime/Navy
SAR
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
VIP
Passenger
Business
Recon
SPECOPS
X-Plane/Development
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
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 pioneering aircraft
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 representing modern aircraft
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 War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.


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