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Douglas F5D Skylancer

Fighter Prototype / Technology Demonstrator Aircraft

Douglas F5D Skylancer

Fighter Prototype / Technology Demonstrator Aircraft

OVERVIEW
SPECIFICATIONS
ARMAMENT
VARIANTS
HISTORY
MEDIA
OVERVIEW



Originally developed as a jet fighter offshoot of the Douglas F4D Skyray, the F5D Skylancer grew into its own program for the United States Navy.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: United States
YEAR: 1956
STATUS: Cancelled
MANUFACTURER(S): Douglas Aircraft Company - USA
PRODUCTION: 4
OPERATORS: United States
SPECIFICATIONS



Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Douglas F5D Skylancer model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
CREW: 1
LENGTH: 53.81 feet (16.4 meters)
WIDTH: 33.50 feet (10.21 meters)
HEIGHT: 14.83 feet (4.52 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 17,450 pounds (7,915 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 28,076 pounds (12,735 kilograms)
ENGINE: 1 x Pratt & Whitney J57-P-8 afterburning turbojet engine developing 16,000 lb of thrust.
SPEED (MAX): 988 miles-per-hour (1590 kilometers-per-hour; 859 knots)
RANGE: 1,336 miles (2,150 kilometers; 1,161 nautical miles)
CEILING: 57,415 feet (17,500 meters; 10.87 miles)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 20,730 feet-per-minute (6,319 meters-per-minute)




ARMAMENT



PROPOSED (standard):
4 x 20mm internal cannons

PROPOSED (optional):
4 x AIM-9 Sidewinder short-range air-to-air missiles OR 2 x AIM-7 Sparrow medium-range air-to-air missiles.
VARIANTS



Series Model Variants
• F5D "Skylancer" - Base Product Name; four prototypes completed.
• F5D-1 - Product designation
• F4D-2N - Initial product designation


HISTORY



Detailing the development and operational history of the Douglas F5D Skylancer Fighter Prototype / Technology Demonstrator Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 3/21/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
Developed to fulfill a United States Navy (USN) requirement for a carrier-based supersonic fighter, the Douglas F5D "Skylancer" became just four prototypes which ended their days as military test platforms for NASA. Like the United States Air Force (USAF) during the Cold War years, the USN also conducted a series of programs all its own related to jet-powered fighter and bomber aircraft. Many test aircraft paved the way before the first supersonic aircraft of the USN - the Grumman F11F "Tiger" - was formally adopted as a frontline solution on American carriers.

The initial requirement of 1952 called for an agile fighter capable of Mach 1.2 speeds with afterburning powerplants. Armament would center around a battery of internal cannons as standard with support for aerial rockets and provision for early-generation American Air-to-Air Missiles (AAMs). As a fleet defense fighter, rate-of-climb became an important quality for intercepting incoming aerial threats - this led to the agreed upon rate-of-climb of 25,000 feet per minute. Submissions were delivered from such prominent American defense industry players as Douglas, Grumman, Lockheed, McDonnell, North American, and Northrop.

Famous American aviation engineer Ed Heinemann designed the F4D "Skyray" for Douglas Aircraft Company and this aircraft first flew in January of 1951 before being adopted by the USN in 1956. It was this general form that was selected for an all-weather guise as the "F4D-2N" to be outfitted with one Westinghouse J40 turbojet engine. The USN saw enough of this proposal to further it into 1953. Douglas engineers largely retained the same form of the Skyray but nonetheless revised it through a thinner, longer fuselage and slimmer, stronger wings. Aerodynamic refinements were applied where possible - a rare opportunity for engineers to right some of the wrongs of their original approach. The design evolved enough to warrant its own designation of "F5D" with the name "Skylancer" eventually following. The USN commissioned for nine test aircraft which was to lead a 51-strong production order of the new fighter pending evaluations.




Douglas F5D Skylancer (Cont'd)

Fighter Prototype / Technology Demonstrator Aircraft

Douglas F5D Skylancer (Cont'd)

Fighter Prototype / Technology Demonstrator Aircraft



A prototype F5D achieved first flight on April 21st, 1956 and its design proved sound with good handling characteristics. However, by this time the USN's interest in the Douglas fighter was waning for its attention had fallen on a competing submission from Chance-Vought - the models evolving to become the famous F8U "Crusader" fighter line. This move left the F5D with no requirement to fulfill, leading the USN to terminate its commitment to the F5D in March of 1957. Just four of the expected nine test aircraft were realized before the end. These aircraft were then passed on to NASA for various aeronautical experiments during the 1960s. The last flight of a Skylancer occurred in 1968.

As completed, the F5D design physically mimicked some of what made the earlier F4D Skyray an iconic 1950s-era American fighter. It featured a short, though pointed, nose cone with good downward visibility, triangular wing root-mounted intakes, swept-back wing mainplanes with rounded tips, and a single vertical tail fin. The aircraft exhibited an overall length of 16.4 meters with a wingspan of 10.2 meters and height of 4.5 meters. The undercarriage included three retractable, wheeled legs (two main and one nose). The single engine configuration was nestled within the airframe and exhausted through a large circular port under the tail fin.

While originally intended to carry a Westinghouse J40 turbojet engine, the aircraft was eventually revised to take on the more powerful Pratt & Whitney J57-P-8 turbojet engine (16,000 lbf with afterburner). It was further expected that production-quality aircraft would eventually graduate to use the Pratt & Whitney J57-P-14 engine with future consideration given to mounting the General Electric J79 engine. The PW J57-P-8 fitted offered a maximum speed of 990 mph (Mach 1.48) with a range out to 1,335 miles. Its service ceiling reached 57,500 feet with a rate-of-climb nearing 20,730 feet per minute.

Beyond a standard armament of 4 x 20mm internal cannons there was to be support for up to 72 x 2" (51mm) HVARs as well as provision for the carrying and launching of AIM-9 "Sidewinder" and AIM-7 "Sparrow" AAMs. The F5D would have carried four of the former or two of the latter.




MEDIA









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: 1000mph
Lo: 500mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (988mph).

    Graph average of 750 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LDN
LDN
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MSK
MSK
 
  TKY
TKY
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
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  NYC
Graph showcases the Douglas F5D Skylancer'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 Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
4
4

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

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


Altitude Visualization
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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
Supported Arsenal
Graphical image of an air-to-air missile weapon
Graphical image of a short-range air-to-air missile
Graphical image of a medium-range air-to-air missile
Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon
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
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Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
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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.