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Curtiss VF-11A

Jet-Powered Fleet Defense Fighter Proposal [ 1947 ]

The Curtiss VF-11A was the second of three designs put forth by the company to hopefully satisfy a future USN fleet defender requirement.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 06/06/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The road to the United States Navy's next fleet defense fighter went down many paths after the close of World War 2 (1939-1945) where prop-driven types dominated carrier decks. The service was beginning its needed transition to turbojet-powered forms and the Curtiss concern attempted to supply the branch with its next fighter by undertaking a few proposals to help satisfy the future need. Work in 1946 produced three similar results all related to the VF-11 initiative, these included "VF-11" itself (detailed elsewhere on this site) as well as subsequent designs in "VF-11A" and "VF-11B". While none of the offerings were selected for further work, they still provide an interesting look into the design direction aeroplane-makers were headed in during the early stages of the Cold War period (1947-1991).

The earlier VF-11 utilized a "tailed delta-wing" planform, resulting in an arrow-like shape with its singular rounded rudder fin set dorsally. The pilot was positioned at the nose in the usual way and the twin-engine arrangement (side-by-side) was aspirated by twin air intakes to either side of the cockpit. Proposed armament was six 5" high-velocity aerial rockets launched from a port at the nose's lower left side and ground running was to be made possible through a retractable, wheeled tricycle arrangement.

This approach was somewhat changed with the introduction of VF-11A. The same general form-and-function of the aircraft was retained save for the switch to a single-engine layout set to feature the promising, in-development British Rolls-Royce "Nene" turbojet engine over the original Westinghouse 24C pairing. This single engine was expected to deliver a thrust output of 5,000lb and, for its aspiration, the intakes of VF-11 were reworked for the needed flow. Like the VF-11, the VF-11A would also utilize a short-burn, rocket booster accelerator to achieve the required time-to-altitude. Beyond this, the tail rudder fin was slightly redesigned to feature a clipped tip (instead the original's rounded shape).

As with the VF-11 before it, the equally-promising VF-11A went nowhere and ended its days as a "paper airplane" alongside VF-11 and VF-11B. The VF-11B that followed and was a mostly complete rework of both designs in that conventional swept-back mainplanes were added and a "V-tail" tailplane arrange replaced the original's single fin.

In any case, the USN eventually took on stocks of the Douglas "Skyray" and McDonnell "Demon" jet fighters for its fleet defense needs.©MilitaryFactory.com
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Service Year

United States national flag graphic
United States

Development Ended.


Curtiss Aeroplane Company - USA
(View other Aviaton-Related Manufacturers)
National flag of the United States United States (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.
Ability to intercept inbound aerial threats by way of high-performance, typically speed and rate-of-climb.
Maritime / Navy
Land-based or shipborne capability for operating over-water in various maritime-related roles while supported by allied naval surface elements.
X-Plane (Developmental, Prototype, Technology Demonstrator)
Aircraft developed for the role of prototyping, technology demonstration, or research / data collection.

Houses, or can house (through specialized variants), radar equipment for searching, tracking, and engagement of enemy elements.
Mainplanes, or leading edges, features swept-back lines for enhanced high-speed performance and handling.
Mainplanes are designed to fold, improving storage on land and at sea.
Inherent ability of airframe to take considerable damage.
Can accelerate to higher speeds than average aircraft of its time.
Can reach and operate at higher altitudes than average aircraft of its time.
Capability to travel considerable distances through onboard fuel stores.
Design covers the three all-important performance categories of speed, altitude, and range.
Ability to operate over ocean in addition to surviving the special rigors of the maritime environment.
Assisted process of allowing its pilot and / or crew to eject in the event of an airborne emergency.
Supports pressurization required at higher operating altitudes for crew survival.
Features partially- or wholly-enclosed crew workspaces.
Features retracting / retractable undercarriage to preserve aerodynamic efficiency.

30.0 ft
(9.15 m)
30.0 ft
(9.15 m)
Empty Wgt
8,708 lb
(3,950 kg)
10,240 lb
(4,645 kg)
Wgt Diff
+1,532 lb
(+695 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Curtiss VF-11A production variant)
monoplane / mid-mounted / delta, tailed
Design utilizes a single primary wing mainplane; this represent the most popular mainplane arrangement.
Mainplanes are mounted along the midway point of the sides of the fuselage.
Delta, Tailed
The delta planform features a conventional tailplane arrangement which enhances control.
(Structural descriptors pertain to the base Curtiss VF-11A production variant)
Installed: 1 x Rolls-Royce "Nene" turbojet afterburning engine developing 5,000lb thrust with 1 x Rocket booster motor generating additional 1,000lb of thrust for short-term, fast-acceleration to reach interception altitude.
Max Speed
677 mph
(1,090 kph | 589 kts)
Cruise Speed
510 mph
(820 kph | 443 kts)
Max. Speed Diff
+168 mph
(+270 kph | 146 kts)
50,033 ft
(15,250 m | 9 mi)
25,000 ft/min
(7,620 m/min)

♦ MACH Regime (Sonic)
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 base Curtiss VF-11A 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)
6 x 5" (127mm) High-Explosive (HE), fin-stabilized aerial rockets fired from lower left side of nose assembly.

Supported Types

Graphical image of aircraft aerial rockets

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

VF-11 - Base Fighter Proposal of 1946.
VF-11A - Revised proposal with squared-off vertical tail fin and single Rolls-Royce turbojet engine.
VF-11B - Revised proposal showcasing more traditional fighter design mainplane wing arrangement; outward-canted V-style tail unit.

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