The Model 387 emerged as another Boeing attempt to interest the United States Navy of World War 2 (1939-1945) on a new, all-modern carrierborne single-seat, single-engine monoplane fighter set around the Pratt & Whitney R-4360 "Wasp Major" air-cooled radial piston engine. The aircraft followed the Model 376 and Model 386, both detailed on this site, but also - like them - failed to materialize as a frontline prospect. The service would go on to field the ace-making pairing of the Grumman F6F "Hellcat" and Vought F4U "Corsair" fighters to succeed their outmoded stocks of Brewster "Buffalo" and Grumman "Wildcat" types.
While the Model 376 represented a fighter intended for low-altitude work and the Model 386 would cover the medium-altitude operating space, the Model 387 was envisioned as a high-altitude performer from the outset. Again, the Wasp Major radial engine, set to produce an impressive 3,000 horsepower, was the centerpiece of the design work which included a pair of three-bladed contra-rotating propeller units at the nose for maximum propulsion power. The aircraft maintained the smooth, clean appearance of the other two Boeing attempts which kept the mainplanes slightly ahead of midships, used a traditional single-finned tail unit, and operated with a tail-dragger undercarriage when ground-running.
One of the more interesting traits of this fighter series (Models 376 and 386 included) was the proposed use of hinged "automobile-style" doors for cockpit entry/exit - a quality most commonly associated with the wartime Bell P-39 "Airacobra" fighter (detailed elsewhere on this site).
Proposed armament was the same as in the Model 376 and Model 386 fighters: 4 x 20mm automatic cannons installed in the wings with two guns to each wing member.
Dimensions included a running length of 42.3 feet with a wingspan of 58 feet.
From the turbocharged Wasp Major unit, coupled with the fighter's elegant styling, engineers estimated a maximum speed of 475 miles-per-hour at near-32,000 feet of altitude. As a fighter charged with high-altitude service, its ceiling would most likely reach around 45,000 feet - though its "optimal" operating space was rated between 20,000 and 35,000 feet. Combat range, as in the Model 376 and Model 386 fighters) was to be 1,000 miles (ferry range of around 3,000 miles).
Like the other Boeing naval fighter attempts, the Model 387 went nowhere and was eventually discarded.