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Westinghouse J40: Wikis

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J40
Type Turbojet
National origin United States
Manufacturer Westinghouse Electric Corporation
Major applications F3H Demon
Program cost $281 million[1]

The Westinghouse J40 was to be a high performance afterburning turbojet engine. It was intended by the Bureau of Aeronautics in early 1946 to power several fighter aircraft, with a rating of 7,500 lbf (33 kN) of thrust at sea level static conditions, but a more powerful 11,000 lbf thrust version for F3H Demon proved to be a failure. After a troublesome and delayed development program, failures in service led to the loss of aircraft and pilots and grounding of all J40 powered Demons.

After the program was called a "fiasco" and an "engine flop", the J40 program was terminated in 1955, by which time all the aircraft it was to power were either grounded, canceled or redesigned to use alternative engines. The J40's failure was among those that affected the most military programs and produced the most unflyable aircraft, and would lead to the downfall of the engine division.[2] In 1953 Westinghouse worked with Rolls-Royce to offer engines based on the Avon, but Westinghouse was out of the aircraft engine business when this engine also failed to find a US market.[3]

The J57 would also replace, for the U.S. Navy, the disastrous Westinghouse J40 that never fully materialized in acceptable form
 
— Thomas Gardner, F-100 Super Sabre at War

Contents

Development

J40 powered XF3H-1 prototype on the USS Coral Sea in 1953

Westinghouse established the Aviation Gas Turbine Division (AGT) in 1945. The J30 was the first American-designed turbojet to run, and was used in the FH Phantom. The J34 was obsolete when introduced, but moderately successful. The J40 represented a big opportunity for Westinghouse to become a prominent player in the turbojet engine market. The U.S. Navy showed great confidence in the company when it bet the success or failure of a new generation of jets on Westinghouse Electric Corporation over three other engine companies. It was in June of 1947 that the Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics contracted for its development. The prototype engine first ran in November 1948. According to an article in the April 1949 edition of the Naval Aviation Confidential Bulletin by Lieutenant Commander Neil D. Harkleroad of the Bureau of Aeronautics Power Plant Division, "The engine has been operating successfully to date." As of that writing, the 50-hour flight substantiation test was to have been accomplished by June 1949 and the 150 hour qualification test by December 1949.

The J-40 was designed to deliver twice the thrust of engines currently in service, allowing the the J40-WE-8 with afterburner to power many of the new Navy carrier-based fighters with a single engine. These included the Grumman XF10F Jaguar variable sweep wing general purpose fighter, the McDonnell F3H Demon and Douglas F4D Skyray interceptors. Growth to over 15,000 lbf (67 kN) of thrust in afterburner was projected. A version without afterburner, the J40-WE-6, was to power Douglas' A3D Skywarrior twin-engine carrier-based bomber.

The WE-8 was only a little over 40 inches in diameter but 25 feet long, with accessories and including the afterburner. It weighed almost 3,500 pounds (1,600 kg), the -6 being almost seven feet shorter and about 600 pounds (270 kg) lighter since it did not have an afterburner.

Decommission

Development of the big engine was protracted. The all-important 150-hour qualification test that was to have been accomplished in December 1949 was not completed until January 1951, a year behind schedule. The afterburner was particularly troublesome – the afterburner version of the engine, the J40-WE-8, did not pass its 150-hour qualification until August 1952. As a result, engines were delivered without afterburners, causing delays in the fighter flight test programs. The XF10F Jaguar had to be tested without an afterburner, and testing had to stop altogether when all J40 powered aircraft were later grounded.

Though the J-40 engine had been promised to deliver 10,000 lbf of thrust with 15,000 lbf in afterburner for the Demon, actual output was just 6,800 lbf and the engine was considered unusable because of reliability problems. Although the A3 would prove successful with alternate engines, both the F7U "Cutlass" and F3H were relegated to subsonic performance due to the poor performance of this engine. Although considered failures, these aircraft could have been competitive with early supersonic Air Force's Century Series fighters had their original engines delivered on their design specifications.[4]

The F3H Demon single-engine jet fighter was initially a severe disappointment due to the unreliability of the J40. The first production Demons were grounded for a redesign after the loss of six aircraft and four pilots.[4] Time Magazine called the Navy's grounding of all Westinghouse-powered F3H1 Demons a "fiasco", with 21 unflyable planes that could be used only for Navy ground training at a loss of $200 million. [5] One high point of the J40 was the 1955 setting of an unofficial time-to-climb record, in a Demon, of 10,000 feet in 71 seconds.[5]

A replacement engine could not simply be fit into the old Demons, but both the wings and fuselage would have to be redesigned and enlarged, much like the later F/A-18E/F Super Hornet upgrade which resulted in a largely new airframe. The F4D Skyray fortunately had been designed to accept larger engines in case troubling progress with the J40 did not work out.

The J40 program was terminated at some point in 1955. All the aircraft it was to power were either canceled or redesigned to use alternative engines, notably the J57 and the J71.

Specifications (J40-WE-8)

Data from [6] [7]

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General characteristics

  • Type: Afterburning Turbojet
  • Length: 300 in (7.62 m)
  • Diameter: 40 in (1.0 m)
  • Dry weight: 3500 lb (1590 kg)

Components

Performance

Notes

  1. ^ Aero Engines 1956 (1956). Flight. 11 May 1956, pg. 596. [1]
  2. ^ Time Magazine CORPORATIONS: The Problems of Westinghouse Monday, Oct. 24, 1955
  3. ^ Westinghouse Electric
  4. ^ Bob Jellison McDonnell F3H Demon
  5. ^ Time Magazine "Demon on the Ground" Nov. 07, 1955
  6. ^ Westinghouse Turbojets (1953). Flight. 13 Nov 1953. pg 642. [2]
  7. ^ Aero Engines 1954 (1954). Flight. 9 Apr 1954. pg 461. [3]

References


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