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Boeing Model 398


Carrierbased Fighter / Fighter-Bomber Aircraft Proposal


United States | 1943



"The Boeing Model 398 was another company attempt to build for the USN a capable carrier-based fighter around the Wasp Major radial engine."



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 07/30/2021 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
During World War 2 (1939-1945) Boeing pushed a series of design studies centered on a single-seat, single-engine carrierborne fighter intended for the United States Navy (USN). While the service eventually settled on the Grumman "Hellcat" and Vought "Corsair" types to help win the war, the depth of Boeing's work in the field is still notable beginning with the Model 376 and running through the Model 386, 387, and - finally - the Model 398. The consistent quality between the lot was the use of the Pratt & Whitney R-4360 "Wasp Major" air-cooled radial piston engine expected to output 3,000 horsepower, an experimental powerplant that saw only limited production and equally-limited application.

The Model 398 was a further evolution of the earlier Model 386, a monoplane-formed, single-seat, single-engine design with a traditional tail unit, low-mounted wingplane members, and 2 x Three-bladed propeller blade units arranged for contra-rotating operation. Developed for the mid-to-high-altitude flying envelope, the design went nowhere and eventually fell to naught.

The subsequent Model 398 continued much of the form and function of the Model 386, complete with its six-bladed arrangement at the nose, but was further revised to double as a carrierborne fighter-bomber through planned implementation of an internal bomb bay taking the place of one of the original internal fuel stores. In this housing, a single 2,000lb conventional drop bomb could be carried, transforming the fighter to an attacker with little effort. Beyond this, the aircraft would still be armed - though not with automatic cannons as in previous iterations - through an arrangement of 6 x 0.50 caliber air-cooled heavy machine guns in the wings. The guns would be positioned just outside of the propeller's arc but outboard of the wing-folding device.

As with other carrierborne aircraft of the period, the fighter could be completed with a wing-folding feature in which the wings twisted and rested against the sides of the fuselage. Beyond this, a reinforced undercarriage and a tail hook would have completed the "navalization" of the Boeing fighter.

Another change of note in the Model 398 appears to be the deletion of the hinged "automobile-style" entry-exit door for the cockpit. In its place was to be a more conventional tear-drop-style sliding canopy.

As drawn up, the aircraft was given a running length of 43.8 feet and a wingspan of 54 feet. Gross weight was to reach 14,000lb. With its powerful Wasp Major radial in place, the sleek aircraft was expected to exceed speeds of 456 miles-per-hour under War Emergency Power (WEP) and in ideal conditions (sea level altitude). Its service ceiling was rated at over 40,000 feet with an operating range of 1,130 miles. Rate-of-climb would have settled at an impressive 5,150 feet-per-minute under full power.

In the fighter-bomber role, specifications would have been slightly reduced as weight increased and operational range was reduced.

At any rate, this advanced fighter concept joined the other Boeing USN fighter design study submissions of the period and ultimately fell by the wayside.

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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 398 Carrierbased Fighter / Fighter-Bomber Aircraft 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.
Propulsion
457 mph
735 kph | 397 kts
Max Speed
44,997 ft
13,715 m | 9 miles
Service Ceiling
1,131 miles
1,820 km | 983 nm
Operational Range
5,150 ft/min
1,570 m/min
Rate-of-Climb
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Structure
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Boeing Model 398 Carrierbased Fighter / Fighter-Bomber Aircraft Proposal.
1
(MANNED)
Crew
43.8 ft
13.35 m
O/A Length
54.0 ft
(16.45 m)
O/A Width
16.0 ft
(4.88 m)
O/A Height
12,346 lb
(5,600 kg)
Empty Weight
16,314 lb
(7,400 kg)
MTOW
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
RANGE
ALT
SPEED
Armament
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Boeing Model 398 Carrierbased Fighter / Fighter-Bomber Aircraft Proposal .
PROPOSED:
6 x 0.50 caliber Browning M2 air-cooled Heavy Machine Guns (HMGs) in wings (three guns to a wing).

OPTIONAL:
1 x 2,000lb conventional drop bomb held in an internal bay (replacing one internal fuel store).
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the Boeing Model 398 family line.
Model 398 - Base Project Designation.
Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Boeing Model 398. 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) ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 500mph
Lo: 250mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (457mph).

Graph Average of 375 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
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
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Image of the Boeing Model 398
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
AIR-TO-AIR COMBAT
GROUND ATTACK
MARITIME / NAVY
X-PLANE
Recognition
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Boeing Model 398 Carrierbased Fighter / Fighter-Bomber Aircraft Proposal appears in the following collections:
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