Friday, March 22, 2013

Aeromarine 39 Trainer

The Aeromarine 39 was a two-seat plane for land-based or seaplane training ordered by the US Navy in 1917. The versatile aircraft was built by the Aeromarine Plane and Motor Company of Keyport, New Jersey. The design was a standard biplane configuration and construction. The aircraft was fabricated so the pontoons could be hastily detached and replaced with the supplied wheeled undercarriage for land or carrier operations. As time went on, fifty of the originally built designs were reassigned under the designation of 39A. The 39A models featured twin floats and the plane was powered by a Hall-Scott A-7 engine. The Hall-Scott A-7 was an early aircraft engine with a straight 4 configuration and could produce a maximum of 100 horsepower (75 kW). These engines suffered from consistency problems and many were prone to catch fire while in operation forcing the manufacturer to start using the Curtiss OXX powerplant. Other redesigns increased the wingspan for more lift needed for those water take-offs. This became known as the 39B. Additional changes included a single pontoon with outrigger floats, plus an enlarged vertical tail surface.

The Aeromarine 39 became the first American aircraft to land on a moving carrier in 1922.

On October 26, 1922 Lt.Cdr. G. deC.Chevalier, piloting an Aeromarine 39, circled the USS Langley as the ship was underway at 10 knots. Chevalier successfully landed his plane on the moving deck of the Langley. The first such landing on an American carrier.

Specifications for the Aeromarine 39A

Length: 30.35ft (9.25m)
Width: 46.98ft (14.32m)
Height: 14.76ft (4.50m)
Maximum Speed: 73mph (117kmh; 63kts)
Maximum Range: 273miles (439km)
Rate-of-Climb: 0ft/min (0m/min)
Service Ceiling: 8,202ft (2,500m; 1.6miles)

Empty Weight:1,940lbs (880kg)
Maximum Take-Off Weight:2,504lbs (1,136kg)
Engine(s): 1 x Hall Scott A-7 piston engine generating 100 horsepower.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Heavy Tank M103

The M103 was a mammoth tank design delivering armor protection and firepower at the expense of sheer size and speed. Stemming from the T43 trial version, the system evolved into the T43E1 which became the standardized M103. Main armament consisted of the heavy caliber rifled 120mm main gun mounted alongside a conventional 7.62mm coaxial mount in the turret. The commander was afforded a heavy caliber 12.7mm machine gun at his cupola, but this was externally mounted and classified as an air defense weapon. Ammunition supply for all guns was ample and five crew were required for optimal operation. Along with the driver and commander, there was the standard gunner along with two loaders.

With the Cold War in full bloom, design of heavy tanks for the United States Army increased in an effort to mimic the success of the World War Two / Korean War-era M26 Pershing Heavy Tank.

Despite the formidable array of arms, the system was dogged by reliability problems, a short road range and its sheer size. In the temperate and hilly terrain of Europe, the M103 faired below expectations. It's size alone made the system very difficult to conceal along the Cold War fronts throughout Europe. A new engine, bringing the road range from the measly 80 miles to over 300 miles was implemented in what would become the M103A2 but it was not meant to be. The M103 was dissolved from service with the United States Army in a few short years, bringing an end to the new generation of M103 Heavy Tank.



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