×
Aircraft / Aviation Vehicles & Artillery Infantry Arms Warships & Submarines Military Pay Scale Global Military Ranks
HOME
AVIATION / AEROSPACE
MODERN AIR FORCES
COUNTRIES
MANUFACTURERS
COMPARE
BY CONFLICT
BY TYPE
BY DECADE
WORLD WAR 2
X-PLANE

Northrop XP-56 Black Bullet


Pursuit Fighter Prototype


Aviation / Aerospace

1 / 2
Image from the Public Domain.
2 / 2
Image from the Public Domain.

The Northrop XP-56 Black Bullet was another U.S. Army Air Corps proposal to research the benefits of pusher-propeller design - this time within a flying wing arrangement.



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 4/26/2016 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
The XP-56 "Black Bullet" was a "pursuit fighter" designed by the Northrop Corporation to a United States Army Air Corps (USAAC) proposal known as the "R-40C". The compact fighter became yet another advanced World War 2-era fighter entry for the Americans and focused on a flying wing concept mated to a "pusher-type" propulsion configuration. The pusher arrangement was in contrast to the widely accepted "puller-type" arrangements found on many conventional piston-powered aircraft of the period. The proposal (and subsequent flyable aircraft) sought to define inherent benefits (if any) in the pusher-type configuration. Unfortunately for the Black Bullet, very little value was revealed and the aircraft was never adopted for serial production.

The XP-56 was fitted with large-area wings, cranked downwards at their outboard sections, and attached to a rather stubby fuselage. Aspiration for the the engine was through intakes integrated directly into the mainplane leading edges to feed the engine buried in the aft section of the fuselage. A sole vertical fin was seated over the rear of the aircraft and there was also a ventral protrusion. The cockpit was mounted at front which gave the pilot a commanding view over the nose with his view to the rear obstructed by the raised fuselage spine. A tricycle undercarriage (wholly retractable) rounded out the list of modern design features.

Power was derived from a single Pratt & Whitney R-2800-29 engine developing 2,000 horsepower and driving a three-bladed propeller unit.

Proposed armament was 2 x 20mm cannons coupled with 4 x 0.50 caliber heavy machine guns, presumably all mounted in the nose or wings or spread across both.

The Black Bullet was initially flown in prototype form on September 23, 1943 though this aircraft was eventually lost during a high-speed ground run exercise that same year. A second prototype followed on March 23, 1944 and incorporated some improvements to the original design including a yaw control system and a larger-area vertical stabilizer. This example underwent a battery of tests only to finally reveal that the aircraft offered no real performance benefits in its unique design and layout when compared to conventionally arranged prop-driven fighters. Additionally, advanced being made in bringing jet-powered fighters along helped to doom such programs.

As such, the XP-56 program was limited to just the two prototype examples, the second ending her days as a museum piece. All development ended on the XP-56 in January of 1946.

As completed, the XP-56 held dimensions that included a length of 27.5 feet, a wingspan of 42.5 feet, and a height of 11 feet. Its empty weight was 8,700lb against a Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) of 12,145lb. Performance specifications with the PW engine in place included a maximum speed of 465 miles per hour, a range out to 660 miles, a service ceiling up to 33,000 feet, and a rate-of-climb of 3,125 feet-per-minute.


Specifications



Year:
1943
Crew
1
[ 2 Units ] :
Northrop Corporation - USA
National flag of United States United States (cancelled)
- Fighter
- X-Plane / Developmental
Length:
27.56 ft (8.4 m)
Width:
42.45 ft (12.94 m)
Height:
10.99 ft (3.35 m)
(Showcased structural dimension values pertain to the Northrop XP-56 Black Bullet production model)
Empty Weight:
8,699 lb (3,946 kg)
MTOW:
11,349 lb (5,148 kg)
(Diff: +2,650lb)
(Showcased weight values pertain to the Northrop XP-56 Black Bullet production model)
1 x Pratt & Whitney R-2800-29 engine developing 2,000 horsepower driving a three-bladed propeller unit in "pusher" configuration.
(Showcased powerplant information pertains to the Northrop XP-56 Black Bullet production model)
Max Speed:
465 mph (748 kph; 404 kts)
Service Ceiling:
32,999 feet (10,058 m; 6.25 miles)
Max Range:
662 miles (1,065 km; 575 nm)
Rate-of-Climb:
3,125 ft/min (952 m/min)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the Northrop XP-56 Black Bullet production model; Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database)
PROPOSED (never fitted):
2 x 20mm cannons
4 x 0.50 caliber heavy machine guns
(Showcased armament details pertain to the Northrop XP-56 Black Bullet production model)
XP-56 "Black Bullet" - Prototype Model Series Designation; 2 examples produced with first prototype lost to accident; second prototype featured larger-area vertical stabilizer, improved wingtip design and yaw control flight system.
P-56 - Assumed production model designation
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.

Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies


The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com.

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world and WDMMA.org, the World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft.


Facebook Logo YouTube Logo

www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-