Supermarine Falcon F Mk-II
When at the end of
the 1940s it became clear that the jet engine would never be a reliable
power source for aircraft a new impulse was given to the further
development of the piston engines.
The problem was
however with the propeller which had to convert all this power to
propulsion. This led to problems with compressibility and propeller
blades exceeding the speed of sound. In practice this meant that the
piston engine aircraft were limited to a maximum speed of around
In the 1960s new
forms of propellers were designed enabling higher speeds. The first US
fighter aircraft to benefit from this was the General Dynamics F-93
Falcon. This was powered by two Allison 18 cylinder engines producing
4500hp each and driving a push and a pull propeller. This first flew in
The British RAF
ordered 100 F-93s as the Falcon F Mk-I but were disappointed with the
performance of the new fighter. The top speed was 850km/h where the
demand was for speeds in excess of 900km/h.
aircraft factory, which was producing the F-93 under license took one
production Falcon F Mk-I and installed two Rolls Royce Condor engines
producing 5650hp each. This boosted the top speed to 975km/h and
because the higher fuel efficiency also expanded the range.
The RAF ordered 260
Falcon F Mk-II fighters which were delivered from 1974 onwards. The
USAF was also very interested in the Rolls Royce powered variant and
this was produced in the USA as the F-93C.
This was very
successful and eventually more than 7000 Falcons were produced for a
number of air forces around the world.