Ground-based warfare in World War 2 (1939-1945), with its heavy reliance on massed formations of tanks and other armored fighting vehicles, showcased to American warplanners the need for air services to field competent ground attack / support platforms. Various fighters were pressed into the fighter-bomber role and a few dedicated attackers mixed in-between. In the post-war world, with the jet age taking a greater hold with each passing month, there proved a "blank canvas" of sorts for engineers to develop all-new aircraft types. Because of the limitations inherent in early jet technology, "mixed powerplant" aircraft (combining a prop engine with a jet or rocket powerplant) were considered for a time and one entry into this field became the "AP-47" (AP = "Army Project") by Republic Aviation.
During the war, Republic was best known for its classic and versatile P-47 "Thunderbolt", a single-engine, single-seat aircraft affectionately known as the "Jug" for its deep fuselage appearance. This platform held 8 x 0.50 caliber heavy machine guns for standard, fixed armament and was soon found to possess exceptional qualities as a light bomber, carrying either drop bombs or rockets into the fray. In time, this fighter-bomber was supplanted in the U.S. inventory as more advanced aircraft began to take center stage. Unlike other wartime prop-driven aircraft seeing continued combat service in the upcoming Korean War (1959-1953), the Thunderbolt was not given an extended lease on life and eventually retired.
The fuselage was well-contoured with a sleek appearance as it tapered from nose to tail. The canopy was of a low-profile design to decrease drag at the frontal area and its position was to give the pilot a good view during attack runs, particularly when diving in on a target / target area. Unlike more modern jet-powered fighters types of the period (and today for that matter), the AP-47 was to feature an old-school "tail-dragger" undercarriage for ground-running.
The powerplants of choice became the Pratt & Whitney R-2800 "Double Wasp" installed in the nose and the Westinghouse 24C turbojet installed in the fuselage aft. The prop engine could output up to 2,500 horsepower and the jet was rated up to 3,000lbs of thrust. The aircraft should have been able to fly with one powerplant off but the combined power promised exceptional performance - limited primarily by technology, fuel and the airframe.
The aircraft was to hold a wingspan of 41 feet, 6 inches but few other numbers were known such as range - which was to rely on three large internal fuel tanks taking up space within the fuselage to feed both the prop engine and the jet, the latter being the thirstier of the two.
In the end, USAF authorities were not convinced of the merits of this mixed-powerplant attacker and held little interest in pursuing the design, leaving it to the pages of military aviation history instead. The United States Navy (USN) found slightly more success with a mixed-powerplant design in the Ryan FR "Fireball" detailed elsewhere on this site. Some seventy-one of this aircraft were completed. The follow-up XF2R "Dark Shark" did worse with only a single prototype built but by this time pure jet-powered thoroughbreds had become the way of the future.
There were certainly other mixed-powerplant designs entertained during this period but advancements to jet technology soon made the prospects for such aircraft poor.
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(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.
40.0 ft (12.20 m)
40.0 ft (12.20 m)
13.9 ft (4.25 m)
7,716 lb (3,500 kg)
11,684 lb (5,300 kg)
+3,968 lb (+1,800 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Republic AP-47 production variant)
1 x Pratt & Whitney R-2800 "Double Wasp" air-cooled radial piston engine of unknown horsepower driving a four-bladed propeller at the nose; 1 x Wesingthouse 24C turbojet engine in the aft-fuselage developing around 3,000lb of thrust.
(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the Republic AP-47 production variant. Performance specifications showcased above are subject to environmental factors as well as aircraft configuration. Estimates are made when Real Data not available. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database or View aircraft by powerplant type)
8 x 0.50 caliber Browning M2 heavy machine guns in wings (four per wing element).
Most likely provision for drop bombs and air-to-surface rockets.
(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
Hardpoint Mountings: 6
AP-47 ("Army Project 47") - Base Project Designation
Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective aerial campaigns / operations / aviation periods.
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