Military Factory logo

McDonnell XF-88 Voodoo

United States (1948)
Picture of McDonnell XF-88 Voodoo Escort Fighter / Penetration Fighter Prototype
Picture of McDonnell XF-88 Voodoo Escort Fighter / Penetration Fighter Prototype Picture of McDonnell XF-88 Voodoo Escort Fighter / Penetration Fighter Prototype

Though a failed design in itself, the McDonnell XF-88 Voodoo did go on to become the successful F-101 Voodoo aircraft of the Cold War years.


Detailing the development and operational history of the McDonnell XF-88 Voodoo Escort Fighter / Penetration Fighter Prototype.  Entry last updated on 11/18/2017. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

World War 2 (1939-1945) showcased to American warplanners the importance of "escort fighters" for their bomber forces when traversing over enemy terrain. The value added by such platforms as the North American P-51 "Mustang", the Republic P-47 "Thunderbolt", and the Lockheed P-38 "Lightning" was as much a deciding factor for the Allies in the bombing campaign against Germany and Japan as wee the bombs dropped by Consolidated B-24 "Liberator" and Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortress" bombers. As technology forced the hand of aeronautics into the jet age, the idea of escorting long-range bombers followed along. The McDonnell XF-88 "Voodoo" was prototyped in an effort to find a suitable counterpart to the growing list of long-range penetration bombers joining the inventory of the United States air service.

The XF-88 was classified as a "penetration fighter" and designed around a 1946 USAAF (United States Army Air Forces) requirement envisioning an aircraft with exceptional operational ranges. The resulting McDonnell design was granted two working prototypes in the form of the "XP-88" (the Air Force designation model would effectively change that to "XF-88" by 1948). The XF-88 featured swept-back wings fitted to streamlined fuselage with triangular intakes mounted at the wing roots. The jet exhaust would pass under the tail unit which featured a conventional arrangement - a single vertical fin being fitted with mid-mounted horizontal planes. An early model form sported a "Vee" tail but this approach was dropped when wind tunnel testing showed instability issues. The aircraft was crewed by one with the cockpit seated well-forward of midships, aft of a nose cone assembly. Proposed armament was 6 x M39 20mm cannons giving the fighter a considerable punch.

Only two flyable prototypes were ever produced for the program as it lost steam when the Air Force decided to go a different route, eventually dropping the idea of a penetration fighter. As such, the program was cancelled even after a North American design was initially selected to fulfill the requirement, the winner then itself dropped in favor of the McDonnell design. Completed Voodoo models were in the form of the XF-88, XF-88A, and the XF-88B.


Picture of the McDonnell XF-88 Voodoo Escort Fighter / Penetration Fighter Prototype
Picture of the McDonnell XF-88 Voodoo Escort Fighter / Penetration Fighter Prototype


XF-88 marked the initial prototype fitted with a Westinghouse J34-13 turbojet of 3,000 lb thrust and lacking armament. XF-88A then followed and installed a Westinghouse J-34-22 turbojet which featured an early version of afterburn. Armament for this airframe came later. XF-88B was given an Allison XT38 turboprop engine in its nose outputting 2,500 horsepower - this in addition to its turbojet engine installation - making it a "compound fighter" design relying on two propulsion methods. First flight of this form came on April 14th, 1953.

Though the direct XF-88 Voodoo design came to naught, the aircraft and its name were resurrected a time later when it became the McDonnell F-101 "Voodoo" venture. This aircraft, introduced in 1957 and seeing 807 examples produced, retained much of the form of the XF-88 including its sleek design, single vertical tailfin, and triangular air intakes and went on to see considerable combat service in the Vietnam War (1955-1975). The F-101 was a dimensionally larger, missile-armed aircraft modified for a new requirement.

The completed XF-88 prototypes carried serial numbers 46-525 and 46-526.






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: 750mph
Lo: 375mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (705mph).

    Graph average of 562.5 miles-per-hour.
Relative Operational Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the McDonnell XF-88A Voodoo's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era Impact
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
2
2


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

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


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
  Compare this entry against other aircraft using our Comparison Tool  
Supported Mission Types:
Air-to-Air
Interception
Unmanned
Ground Attack
Close-Air Support
Training
Anti-Submarine
Anti-Ship
Airborne Early Warning
MEDEVAC
Electronic Warfare
Maritime/Navy
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
Passenger Industry
VIP Travel
Business Travel
Search/Rescue
Recon/Scouting
Special Forces
X-Plane/Development
National Flag Graphic
National Origin: United States
Service Year: 1948
Classification Type: Escort Fighter / Penetration Fighter Prototype
Manufacturer(s): McDonnell Aircraft Corporation - USA
Production Units: 2
Operational Status: Cancelled
Global Operators:
United States
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the McDonnell XF-88A Voodoo model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
54.13 ft


Meters
16.5 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
39.70 ft


Meters
12.1 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
17.22 ft


Meters
5.25 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
12,147 lb


Kilograms
5,510 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
18,519 lb


Kilograms
8,400 kg

Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
2 x Westinghouse J34-WE-22 turbojet engines developing 3,600 lb of thrust each with afterburner (3,000 lb dry).

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
705 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
1,135 kph


Knots
613 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
1,727 mi


Kilometers
2,780 km


Nautical Miles
1,501 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
39,403 ft


Meters
12,010 m


Miles
7.46 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
8,000 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
2,438 m/min

Armament - Hardpoints (0):

STANDARD, FIXED:
6 x 20mm M39 cannons
Visual Armory:

Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon
Variants: Series Model Variants
• XF-88 - Initial prototype; fitted with Westinghouse J34-13 turbojet engines; sans cannon armament.
• XF-88A - Second prototype completed; fitted with Westinghouse J-34-22 turbojet engines featuring early-form afterburners; armament to be added later.
• XF-88B - Initial prototype modified to accept the Allison XT38 turboprop engine in nose assembly; appearing in April 1953.
• F-101 "Voodoo" - Production Voodoo represents a larger design based on the initial XF-88 model prototypes - see F-101 Voodoo entry for model specific details.