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Boeing Model 387

Carrierborne High-Altitude Fighter Proposal

United States | 1943

"The Boeing Model 387 was an iteration of a series of proposals that went back to the Model 376 design."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 05/05/2020 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The Model 387 emerged as another Boeing attempt to interest the United States Navy of World War 2 (1939-1945) on a new, all-modern carrierborne single-seat, single-engine monoplane fighter set around the Pratt & Whitney R-4360 "Wasp Major" air-cooled radial piston engine. The aircraft followed the Model 376 and Model 386, both detailed on this site, but also - like them - failed to materialize as a frontline prospect. The service would go on to field the ace-making pairing of the Grumman F6F "Hellcat" and Vought F4U "Corsair" fighters to succeed their outmoded stocks of Brewster "Buffalo" and Grumman "Wildcat" types.

While the Model 376 represented a fighter intended for low-altitude work and the Model 386 would cover the medium-altitude operating space, the Model 387 was envisioned as a high-altitude performer from the outset. Again, the Wasp Major radial engine, set to produce an impressive 3,000 horsepower, was the centerpiece of the design work which included a pair of three-bladed contra-rotating propeller units at the nose for maximum propulsion power. The aircraft maintained the smooth, clean appearance of the other two Boeing attempts which kept the mainplanes slightly ahead of midships, used a traditional single-finned tail unit, and operated with a tail-dragger undercarriage when ground-running.

One of the more interesting traits of this fighter series (Models 376 and 386 included) was the proposed use of hinged "automobile-style" doors for cockpit entry/exit - a quality most commonly associated with the wartime Bell P-39 "Airacobra" fighter (detailed elsewhere on this site).

Proposed armament was the same as in the Model 376 and Model 386 fighters: 4 x 20mm automatic cannons installed in the wings with two guns to each wing member.

Dimensions included a running length of 42.3 feet with a wingspan of 58 feet.

From the turbocharged Wasp Major unit, coupled with the fighter's elegant styling, engineers estimated a maximum speed of 475 miles-per-hour at near-32,000 feet of altitude. As a fighter charged with high-altitude service, its ceiling would most likely reach around 45,000 feet - though its "optimal" operating space was rated between 20,000 and 35,000 feet. Combat range, as in the Model 376 and Model 386 fighters) was to be 1,000 miles (ferry range of around 3,000 miles).

Like the other Boeing naval fighter attempts, the Model 387 went nowhere and was eventually discarded.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Boeing Model 387 Carrierborne High-Altitude Fighter Proposal.
1 x Pratt & Whitney R-4360 "Wasp Major" 28-cylinder, 4-row, air-cooled radial piston engine developing 3,000 horsepower and driving 2 x Three-bladed propeller units at the nose in contra-rotating fashion.
472 mph
760 kph | 410 kts
Max Speed
44,997 ft
13,715 m | 9 miles
Service Ceiling
1,000 miles
1,610 km | 869 nm
Operational Range
2,300 ft/min
701 m/min
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Boeing Model 387 Carrierborne High-Altitude Fighter Proposal.
42.3 ft
12.90 m
O/A Length
58.1 ft
(17.70 m)
O/A Width
16.0 ft
(4.88 m)
O/A Height
14,771 lb
(6,700 kg)
Empty Weight
20,503 lb
(9,300 kg)
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Boeing Model 387 Carrierborne High-Altitude Fighter Proposal .
4 x 20mm automatic cannons in the wings (two guns to a wing).
Notable series variants as part of the Boeing Model 387 family line.
Model 387 - Base Project Designation.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Boeing Model 387. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 0 Units

Contractor(s): Boeing Company - USA
National flag of the United States

[ United States (abandoned) ]
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Image of the Boeing Model 387
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Going Further...
The Boeing Model 387 Carrierborne High-Altitude Fighter Proposal appears in the following collections:
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