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North American FJ-1 Fury

United States (1947)
Picture of North American FJ-1 Fury Carrierborne Fighter Aircraft

Though serving in limited numbers for a limited time, the FJ-1 Fury was a major stepping stone in American jet fighter design.


Detailing the development and operational history of the North American FJ-1 Fury Carrierborne Fighter Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 4/3/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

As with the post-World War 2 United States Air Force (USAF), the United States Navy (USN) benefitted from jet technology furthered in America, Britain, and Germany. The service was slower to adopt carrier-based jet aircraft than its USAF brethren but nonetheless begat generation after generation of capable fighter types in time. One of the more overlooked achievements was the North American FJ "Fury" line which appeared after the war and managed only limited production numbers. However, the type was very influential in the design and development of the Korean War-era classic North American F-86 "Sabre" still to come.

Jet technology of the war years revolved around the "turbojet" and it was the Germans that were first to the skies with their famous Messerschmitt Me 262 "Schwalbe" fighter. The British followed a short time later with the introduction of the Gloster Meteor while the Americans managed only the limited stock Bell P-59 Airacomets (66 were built) before settling on the improved Lockheed P-80 Shooting Start - production totaling 1,715 fighters. With jet technology still at its infancy, there was always room for improvement in engine reliability, thrust output, and endurance leading to a sharp scale of advance during the post-war period benefitting the West greatly due to the captured German data on jets and swept-wing technology.

With jets already the perceived future of aerial warfare as far as the Americans were concerned, authorities were already laying down the groundwork for fleets of new jet-powered fighters and bombers. A request during the late-war years called for a straight-wing, jet-powered, single-seat fighter and a North American design was selected of competing designs from Douglas and Vought. North American would forever be tied to the wartime successes of its P-51 Mustang but that prop-driven fighter had seen its technological end by the end of the war. The USN selected the North American submission as the "XFJ-1" and ordered in prototype form during late 1944. Three were completed and powered by a single General Electric J35-GE-2 turbojet of 3,820lb thrust.

North American moved ahead in its construction and manufactured a flyable XFJ-1 prototype which first took to the air on September 1th, 1946. By this time, the World War was over and many military programs curtailed or cancelled outright. The XFJ-1 was advanced enough and in need that it was allowed to remain in development. Satisfied with its new product, the USN commissioned for 100 of the type as the FJ-1 with the nickname of "Fury" shortly thereafter. These were to be powered by an Allison J35-A-2 turbojet engine of 4,000lb thrust. Armament was settled on 6 x 0.50 caliber Browning M2 heavy machine guns - a U.S. fighter tradition dating back to World War 2. Some 1,500 x rounds of 0.50 caliber ammunition were carried for all guns. Initial deliveries then commenced during October of 1947 with the first recipient becoming squadron VF-5A. The 100-strong order was then trimmed to thirty airframes and these were used primarily in a development role out of Naval Air Station North Island, California.
The FJ-1 did not end up the long-term USN solution for a jet fighter. It lacked many essentials accepted widely today such as folding wings and swept-back wings. Folding wings allowed space-strapped carriers to stock more than a handful of aircraft on a single ship while swept-back wings gave the appropriate performance and stability in high-speed flight. Folding wings could not be instituted into the Fury's straight appendages due to the dive brake spans. To work around the storage issue, engineers added a "nose-down" feature to the nose leg in which the aircraft could be lowered at its front when stored. This alleviated some of the profile excess of the aircraft on USN carriers but was not a popular solution on the whole. American carriers were also still of the World War 2-era which lacked catapult-launching support for its aircraft. The Fury was able to get airborne under its own power but the take-off phase taxed the turbojet engine to its maximum and the ascent was a slow process unsuitable for carrier warfare - particularly in the intercept role.

Performance numbers of the FJ-1 included a maximum speed of 547 miles per hour, a range out to 1,500 miles, a service ceiling of 32,000 feet and a rate-of-climb of 3,300 feet per minute.

The FJ-1 was never exported beyond the United States and managed a career up to 1953. Its final flying days were with the USN Reserve as frontline USN units began receiving the straight-wing Grumman F9F Panther fighters which saw combat service in the Korean War (1950-1953) with USN and USMC forces.

During its short time aloft, the Fury managed some highlights - earning the Bendix Trophy Race during September 1948 and becoming the first USN jet-powered carrier-based fighter to reach squadron-sized strength.

The related FJ-2, FJ-3, and FJ-4 Furies were swept-wing versions of the original FJ-1 with enough changes to become wholly their own aircraft designs. All are detailed elsewhere on this site.






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 (547mph).

    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 North American FJ-1 Fury'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
33
33


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

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


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
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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: 1947
Classification Type: Carrierborne Fighter Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): North American Aviation - USA
Production Units: 33
Operational Status: Retired, Out-of-Service
Global Operators:
United States
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the North American FJ-1 Fury model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
34.45 ft


Meters
10.5 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
32.15 ft


Meters
9.8 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
14.76 ft


Meters
4.5 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
8,841 lb


Kilograms
4,010 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
15,598 lb


Kilograms
7,075 kg

Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Allison J35-A-2 turbojet engine developing 4,000 lb of thrust.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
547 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
880 kph


Knots
475 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
1,498 mi


Kilometers
2,410 km


Nautical Miles
1,301 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
32,005 ft


Meters
9,755 m


Miles
6.06 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
3,300 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
1,006 m/min

Armament - Hardpoints (0):

STANDARD:
6 x 12.7mm machine guns in forward fuselage sides
Visual Armory:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft heavy machine gun
Variants: Series Model Variants
• FJ-1 "Fury" - Base Series Designation
• XFJ-1 - Three prototype aircraft with General Electric J35-GE-2 turbojet engine of 3,820lb thrust.
• FJ-1 - Production model outfitted with Allison J35-A-2 turbojet engine of 4,000lb thrust; 30 examples produced.