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McDonnell Model 90 / Model 91


Carrierborne Supersonic Fighter Proposal [ 1953 ]



The McDonnell Model 90 and 91 project aircraft were developed along similar lines - though both failed to become the first supersonic performer for the USN.



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 08/03/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

GO TO SPECIFICATIONS [+]
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The quest for the United State Navy's (USN) first supersonic fighter was ultimately covered by Specification OS-130 (eventually fulfilled by the Vought F-8 "Crusader"). For aeroplane-maker McDonnell, the road to success began with an initial failure - the XP-67 "Bat" long-range interceptor prototype of the World War 2 period detailed elsewhere on this site. Between this and the competing Crusader of 1955 was a collection of jet fighters produced by the company that included the original "Phantom" followed by the "Banshee" and F-101 "Voodoo" with many more project aircraft emerging in-between - the XF-88 "Voodoo", the XF-85 "Goblin" parasite fighter, and various paper-only forms under equally-various model numbers.

A pair of entries drawn up to satisfy the new Navy requirement became McDonnell "Model 90" and "Model 91". The aircraft were to be armed with cannon or aerial rockets and missiles while being directed by the APG-34 series radar unit housed in the nose. The Model 90 would be powered by the Pratt & Whitney J57 turbojet engine developing 10,200lb on dry thrust and up to 16,000lb of output with reheat engaged while the Model 91 differed in being dimensionally more compact (and therefore lighter) than its predecessor and it was slated to carry the Wright J65 engine of 7,600lb / 11,000lb, respectively.

In both proposals, the airframe took on an elegant, aerodynamic refined appearance. The single-seat cockpit was sat behind the radar-housing nosecone assembly and a ventrally-mounted intake controlled the flow of air to the air-breathing turbojet engine buried within the fuselage. This unit exhausted from under the empennage. The tail unit extended out and over the exhaust port (as in the company's F-101), the tail comprised of the usual triplane arrange of a single rudder and two horizontal control surfaces. A wheeled, retractable tricycle undercarriage would aid ground-running actions and the usual features, such as folding mainplanes and an arrestor hook, would make the fighter "carrier-friendly".

One of the more notable features of the jet was its thin wing mainplanes which were tapered toward the clipped tips. These members were mid-mounted along the sides of the fuselage and of straight design. The super-thin wing was expected to offer minimal drag and maintain the expected supersonic speeds - though it prohibited any fuel, weapons, or undercarriage gear from being stowed in it.

Primary armament was to be 2 x Internal automatic cannons (presumably 20mm) set within the sides of the forward fuselage. This pairing could be substituted for 2 x Rocket-housing canisters holding 30 x 50mm aerial rockets providing considerable hitting power. In addition to this, two underwing hardpoints were assigned to each mainplane to support the "Sparrow" medium-ranged Air-to-Air Missile (AAM).

The Model 90 was to have a wingspan of 35 feet with a weight up to 23,000lb. Its general arrangement, shaping, and engine would have allowed for estimated speeds of 1,055 miles-per-hour at altitude with full afterburner. Of the two designs promoted, the Model 90 appears to have been the favored one within the company. Range was out to 470 nautical miles.

Comparatively, the Model 91 had a wingspan of 32.8 feet and a weight up to 18,000lb. Its maximum speed was just under 810mph at altitude with full reheat. Range was out to 469 nautical miles.

In any even event, neither design progressed beyond the paper stage and there were competing designs put forth from major players such as North American, Northrop, Temco, and - of course - Chance Vought.
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Specifications



Service Year
1953

Origin
United States national flag graphic
United States

Status
CANCELLED
Development Ended.
Crew
1

Production
0
UNITS


McDonnell Aircraft 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.
Interception
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.


RADAR-CAPABLE
Houses, or can house (through specialized variants), radar equipment for searching, tracking, and engagement of enemy elements.
FOLDING WING(S)
Mainplanes are designed to fold, improving storage on land and at sea.
HIGH-SPEED PERFORMANCE
Can accelerate to higher speeds than average aircraft of its time.
HIGH-ALTITUDE PERFORMANCE
Can reach and operate at higher altitudes than average aircraft of its time.
EXTENDED RANGE PERFORMANCE
Capability to travel considerable distances through onboard fuel stores.
SUPER PERFORMANCE
Design covers the three all-important performance categories of speed, altitude, and range.
MARITIME OPERATION
Ability to operate over ocean in addition to surviving the special rigors of the maritime environment.
PILOT / CREW EJECTION SYSTEM
Assisted process of allowing its pilot and / or crew to eject in the event of an airborne emergency.
CREWSPACE PRESSURIZATION
Supports pressurization required at higher operating altitudes for crew survival.
ENCLOSED CREWSPACE(S)
Features partially- or wholly-enclosed crew workspaces.
RETRACTABLE UNDERCARRIAGE
Features retracting / retractable undercarriage to preserve aerodynamic efficiency.


Length
48.4 ft
(14.75 m)
Width/Span
34.9 ft
(10.65 m)
Empty Wgt
19,092 lb
(8,660 kg)
MTOW
23,149 lb
(10,500 kg)
Wgt Diff
+4,057 lb
(+1,840 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the McDonnell Model 90 production variant)
monoplane / mid-mounted / straight, tapered
Monoplane
Design utilizes a single primary wing mainplane; this represent the most popular mainplane arrangement.
Mid-Mounted
Mainplanes are mounted along the midway point of the sides of the fuselage.
Straight
The planform involves use of basic, straight mainplane members.
Straight, Tapered
The planform uses straight mainplane members which taper towards the wing tips.
(Structural descriptors pertain to the McDonnell Model 90 production variant)
Installed: 1 x Pratt & Whitney J57 afterburning turbojet engine developing 10,200lb thrust dry and 16,000lb of thrust with reheat.
Max Speed
1,056 mph
(1,700 kph | 918 kts)
Cruise Speed
715 mph
(1,150 kph | 621 kts)
Max. Speed Diff
+342 mph
(+550 kph | 297 kts)
Ceiling
59,055 ft
(18,000 m | 11 mi)
Range
544 mi
(875 km | 1,620 nm)
Rate-of-Climb
35,000 ft/min
(10,668 m/min)


♦ 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


(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the McDonnell Model 90 production variant. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database or View aircraft by powerplant type)
PROPOSED:
2 x 20mm internal automatic cannons in forward fuselage OR 2 x 30-shot 50mm aerial rocket packs.
4 x AIM-7 "Sparrow" medium-range Air-to-Air Missiles (AAMs) at two hardpoints under each wing.


Supported Types


Graphical image of an aircraft automatic cannon
Graphical image of an air-to-air missile weapon
Graphical image of a short-range air-to-air missile
Graphical image of a medium-range air-to-air missile
Graphical image of aircraft aerial rockets


(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
Hardpoint Mountings: 4
Mounting Points




-
-
-
7
5
-
-
-
4
6
-
-
-
HARDPOINT(S) KEY:
X

15
13
11
9
7
5
3
1
2
4
6
8
10
12
14


COLOR KEY:
Fuselage Centerline
Fuselage Port/Wingroot
Fuselage Starboard/Wingroot
Wing/Underwing
Wingtip Mount(s)
Internal Bay(s)
Not Used

Note: Diagram above does not take into account inline hardpoints (mounting positions seated one-behind-the-other).


Model 90 - Full-sized proposal with J57 turbojet engines.
Model 91 - Dimensionally smaller, lighter proposal with J5 turbojet engine.


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