GA-17 was the project designation allotted to a Goodyear Aircraft design attempting to fulfill a United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) requirement for an all-weather heavy fighter / night-fighter. The requirement was eventually filled by a design that would become the Northrop F-89 "Scorpion" in service but nonetheless attracted several major industry players including Consolidated Vultee and Douglas. The GA-17 came in second to the Northrop submission out of a possible nine presented models.
In August of 1945 details were hashed out for several new aircraft types that included an all-weather heavy fighter with speeds nearing 550 miles per hour, a range out to 1,000 miles and a rate-of-climb around 3,000 feet-per-minute. A night-fighting capability would also be an inherent over-battlefield role indicating that radar would have to be carried and this, by default, necessitated a crew of two (a dedicated radar operator being added).
The GA-17 was to fit three Westinghouse 24C turbojets of 3,000 lb thrust each with two seated within the wing roots with the third buried within the fuselage. The design was made to operate on one of these engines alone so all three were held as close to the aircraft's center as possible. JATO (Jet-Assisted Take-Off) could come in the form of two or four jettisonable rocket boosters to assist the aircraft in getting aloft in short order. An advanced wing planform was used, influenced heavily by German aircraft data captured by the Americans at the end of World War 2 (1939-1945) and this made for a very elegant-looking aircraft with blended wing roots, swept-back wing mainplanes and a single-finned tail unit. A tricycle undercarriage would be standard.
The crew of two was seated in a side-by-side arrangement, the cockpit mounted well-ahead of midships with vision out-of-the-cockpit deemed excellent. All primary fixed armament resided in a belly-mounted bulge, these guns consisting of 4 x 20mm cannons. The belly mount was radar-controlled and offered the guns a 15-degree firing arc to either side. The gun muzzles also lay away from the crew's vision which would prove a good quality when firing at night (muzzle flash). An additional gun pairing was set within the vertical tail fin, aft-facing, to content with any trailing interceptors and these, too, were given 15-degree firing arc flexibility. The AN/APG-3 series radar fit would direct these guns and its installation lay within the vertical tail fin itself - causing a noticeable structural outcropping. It is assumed that a rocket- and bomb-carrying function would also have been worked into the GA-17's design should it have evolved out of its paper stage.
Like other submissions in the all-weather heavy fighter requirement, the Goodyear proposal was reviewed by USAAF authorities. It was thought that the aircraft would have good all-around performance but there were concerns as to the complexity of its armament fit as well as the ductwork required of the engine trio. The Northrop N.24 (Model A) presented a better, more complete, alternative which earned the right to be developed, leaving the GA-17 to the pages of history.
Estimated performance for the GA-17, per Goodyear engineers, included a maximum speed of 610 miles per hour and a service ceiling of 44,000 feet.
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Air-to-Air Combat, Fighter
General ability to actively engage other aircraft of similar form and function, typically through guns, missiles, and/or aerial rockets.
✓Close-Air Support (CAS)
Developed to operate in close proximity to active ground elements by way of a broad array of air-to-ground ordnance and munitions options.
✓X-Plane (Developmental, Prototype, Technology Demonstrator)
Aircraft developed for the role of prototyping, technology demonstration, or research / data collection.
53.3 ft (16.25 m)
53.0 ft (16.15 m)
16.2 ft (4.95 m)
23,005 lb (10,435 kg)
30,865 lb (14,000 kg)
+7,859 lb (+3,565 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Goodyear GA-17 production variant)
3 x Westinghouse 24C turbojet engines developing 3,000 lb thrust each; 2 OR 4 x JATO rockets for take-off assistance.
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