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Wallace-Martin Model A

Carrierborne Heavy Fighter Proposal

United States | 1941

"The little known Wallace-Martin Model A of the World War 2 period was to feature a push-pull engine configuration and twin tailboom arrangement."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 07/29/2021 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
Proposed against United States Navy (USN) Specification SD-112-18 in 1941, the Wallace-Martin Model A was intended to fulfill the role of the service's next, all-modern carrierborne fighter. The design included a rather unique twin-engine, twin-boom configuration including tractor/trailing propeller units and was to feature machine gun or cannon armament. For its time, this hevay fighter would have been an imposing adversary should the design have come to fruition though, as fate would have it, the Model A went on to become nothing more than a footnote in American military aviation history concerning the World War 2 period (1939-1945).

This USN requirement was rather steep for 1940-1941 and sought a solution with a minimum speed of 400 miles-per-hour, a service ceiling of 35,000 feet, and operational range of 1,000 miles. Available platforms of the time included the Grumman F4F "Wildcat" single-seat, single-engine monoplane fighter of 1940 which could manage a top speed of just over 330mph.

The Wallace-Martin Model A proposal centralized its single-seat cockpit in the twin-boom arrangement. This included both engines and fuel stores bookending the pilot's position with the forward engine driving a three-bladed propeller unit at front and the rear-set engine managing a three-bladed propeller at the extreme rear of the fuselage nacelle. The push-pull power was to drive the Model A to exceptional speeds. The cockpit section offered rather good vision as the sides, rear, and front of the position were glazed. Automobile-style doors (ala the Bell P-39 "Airacobra") allowed the necessary entry/exit for the pilot. The undercarriage was to have been of tricycle arrangement with the nose leg retracting under the nose/cockpit section and each main leg positioned under each tail boom. As a carrier-based fighter, the Model A was to feature folding wing mainplanes for improved storage.

The monoplane wing mainplane was of large-area design with rounded tips and low-mounting along the sides of the fuselage. From each wing member emanated a tail boom component which ran rearwards and the two were joined by a shared horizontal plane at center. Each boom was capped by a vertical tail fin of rounded edges and limited surface area.

Armament was to center on 6 x 0.50 caliber Browning Heavy Machine Guns (HMGs) with a pair seated in the nose assembly (synchronized to fire through the spinning forward propeller blades) and two each to be placed in the wing leading edges ahead of each tailboom. Provision was also given to replace the entire machine gun battery with 4 x 20mm automatic cannons at a future date.

Power was to stem from 2 x Lycoming XH-2470-4 "H-engine" units developing 2,000 horsepower each to drive the twin three-bladed propellers. Assuming the propellers spun in contra-rotating fashion, natural torque would have been canceled out, making for a steady flying and fighting platform. The XH-2470 had its roots in the Lycoming O-1230 but remained in an experimental stage for the duration of its life, fitted only to the experimental Vultee XP-54 twin-boom heavy fighter (detailed elsewhere on this site) and never adopted for any serial production aircraft.

As drawn up, the Model A was given an overall length of 45.5 feet and wingspan of 46 feet. Gross weight reached 15,000lb. Estimated maximum speed was 430 miles-per-hour (16,000 feet of altitude) with a service ceiling near 38,000 feet and range out to 1,020 miles.

Despite all this, the Wallace-Martin submission joined offerings from defense players in Bell, Boeing, Brewster, McDonnell, and Naval Aircraft Factory in not being selected. The requirement eventually evolved to become the F7F "Tigercat" carrierborne heavy fighter twin of the late-war years which went on to see notable service in the upcoming Korean War (1950-1953).

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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 Wallace-Martin Model A Carrierborne Heavy Fighter Proposal.
PROPOSED: 2 x Lycoming XH-2470-4 H-engines developing 2,000 horsepower each driving 2 x Three-bladed propellers, one arranged in pusher fashion and the other in puller.
432 mph
695 kph | 375 kts
Max Speed
373 mph
600 kph | 324 kts
Cruise Speed
38,107 ft
11,615 m | 7 miles
Service Ceiling
1,022 miles
1,645 km | 888 nm
Operational Range
2,500 ft/min
762 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 Wallace-Martin Model A Carrierborne Heavy Fighter Proposal.
45.4 ft
13.85 m
O/A Length
46.1 ft
(14.05 m)
O/A Width
12.3 ft
(3.75 m)
O/A Height
9,921 lb
(4,500 kg)
Empty Weight
15,002 lb
(6,805 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 Wallace-Martin Model A Carrierborne Heavy Fighter Proposal .
2 x 0.50 caliber Browning Heavy Machine Guns (HMGs) in nose assembly, synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.
4 x 0.50 caliber Browning HMGs in wing leading edges, two machine guns per wing member.

4 x 20mm automatic cannons were to succeed the machine gun arrangement at a future date.
Notable series variants as part of the Wallace-Martin Model A family line.
Model A - Base Project Designation.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Wallace-Martin Model A. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 0 Units

Contractor(s): Wallace-Martin Aircraft Corpoation - USA
National flag of the United States

[ United States (cancelled) ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 500mph
Lo: 250mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (432mph).

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)
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
Aviation Timeline
1 / 1
Image of the Wallace-Martin Model A
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.
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 Wallace-Martin Model A Carrierborne Heavy Fighter Proposal appears in the following collections:
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