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Folland Fo.117


Single-Seat Lightweight Monoplane Fighter Aircraft Proposal (1943)


Aviation / Aerospace

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Intended to best the German Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighter in capability, the lightweight Folland Fo.117 did not proceed beyond the drawing board.



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 06/19/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com; the following text is exclusive to this site.
By the 1942, the German Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighter was fully entrenched as one of the two best fighters of the Luftwaffe (the other being the Messerschmitt Bf 109). This lightweight platform proved to be fast, agile and capable of bringing down nearly anything in the skies - indeed the Fw 190 is regarded as one of the classic designs in the whole of the war. For the British, the fighter cause was primarily handled by the likes of the sleek Supermarine Spitfire and the aging Hawker Hurricane.

In September of 1942, Specification F.6/42 was drawn up calling for a single-seat fighter able to match (or exceed) the compact Fw 190. In turn, this design would be also lightweight, showcase stellar agility and be armed through 4 x 20mm automatic cannons. Maximum speed was estimated at 450 miles per hour when cruising at 20,000 feet and rate-of-climb was also a key consideration of the new fighter.

Several of the usual British concerns threw their hats into the ring with Folland and Hawker coming out on top. Folland Aircraft was a relative newcomer to the field as it set up shop only recently in 1937. Comparatively Hawker Aircraft had been in business since 1920 (as H.G. Hawker Engineering).

The Folland proposal centered around the "Fo.177". This aircraft was of conventional arrangement with the engine at front, a single-finned tail unit at the rear and a mid-set placement for the pilot. A bubble canopy was proposed for excellent vision out-of-the-cockpit. The wing mainplanes were low-mounted with rounded tips and seated just ahead of midships. Each wing was slated to carry the requisite 2 x cannon installations. A traditional tail-dragger undercarriage (of wide-track arrangement) would be used for ground running - the main legs retracting towards fuselage centerline. Loaded weight of the fighter was estimated at 9,170lb.

One of the more notable traits of the Folland proposal was the 2 x three-bladed contra-rotating propellers fitted to the nose - a relatively new quality for a fighter of the period. This allowed smaller diameter propellers to be fitted and promised to increase performance.

The Fo.117 found a few supporters in the British Air Ministry ranks but not enough faith was seen in the small company to produce an all-new fighter in the schedule allotted and in the numbers that would be required. By March of 1943, the Fo.117 was given the death knell but, before the end of the year, it was resurrected as the "Fo.117A" with new wings. The engine of choice became the Bristol Centaurus XII engine of 2,500 horsepower and English Electric was set to offer its production facilities following the six prototypes contracted for from Folland.

Despite this, nothing came of the commitment and the Fo.117 never saw the light of day. The competing Hawker design found better results as it became the "Fury / Sea Fury" in British service. Eight hundred sixty-four of these navy fighter-bombers were built from 1945 to 1955.

Estimated specs for the Fo.117 included a maximum speed of 468 miles per hour, a service ceiling of 39,800 feet and rate-of-climb of 4,950 feet-per-minute.

Specifications



Service Year
1943

Origin
United Kingdom national flag graphic
United Kingdom

Status
CANCELLED
Development Ended.
Crew
1

Production
0
UNITS


Folland Aircraft - United Kingdom
National flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom (cancelled)
(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.
X-Plane (Developmental, Prototype, Technology Demonstrator)
Aircraft developed for the role of prototyping, technology demonstration, or research / data collection.


Length
31.5 ft
(9.60 m)
Width/Span
35.9 ft
(10.95 m)
Height
10.8 ft
(3.30 m)
Empty Wgt
6,834 lb
(3,100 kg)
MTOW
9,755 lb
(4,425 kg)
Wgt Diff
+2,921 lb
(+1,325 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Folland Fo.117A production variant)
Installed: 1 x Bristol Centaurus XII inline piston engine developing 2,500 horsepower and driving 2 x three-bladed propeller units in contra-rotating fashion at the nose.
Max Speed
469 mph
(755 kph | 408 kts)
Ceiling
39,797 ft
(12,130 m | 8 mi)
Range
513 mi
(825 km | 1,528 nm)
Rate-of-Climb
4,950 ft/min
(1,509 m/min)


♦ MACH Regime (Sonic)
Sub
Trans
Super
Hyper
HiHyper
ReEntry
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030


(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the Folland Fo.117A production variant. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database. View aircraft by powerplant type)
PROPOSED:
4 x 20mm automatic cannons in wings (two per wing).


Supported Types


Graphical image of an aircraft automatic cannon


(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
Hardpoint Mountings: 0


Fo.117 - Base Series Designation
Fo.117A - Revised design with all-new laminar-flow wings; Bristol Centaurus XII inline piston engine of 2,500 horsepower fitted..


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