X-Wing Corsair

Gallery Article by Alvis 3.1

 

Saddled with troublesome colonial holdings after WW II, France was forced to be very innovative in how to deploy forces and react to uprisings and insurrections. One of the more radical attempts to improve tactical support was the F4U-X Corsair Deluxe, a special variant built by Vought to French Aeronavale specifications.  Utilising the standard F4U fuselage, an extra set of wings was attached above the standard set, making the F4U-X the last biplane fighter manufactured.

 

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The second set of wings increased both maneuverability and ordinance carrying capability, but with a decrease in maximum speed. The engine was uprated, and the landing gear beefed up to handle the extra weight. The wheels were now doubled, and while this prevented them from being retracted into the wing, the semi-external configuration allowed wheels-up landings with minimal airframe damage. The final external difference between the F4U-X and a regular Corsair was the addition of the five bladed prop to handle the extra power from the engine. A total of 32 were constructed for the Aeronavale, all being delivered in April of 1953.

Operationally, the F4U-X should have been spectacular, but misfortune prevented that. All the acceptance trials had shown the plane to perform amazingly. However, while being delivered to the French Navy at Toulons, a grizzled quartermaster spotted the 32 "ancient" biplanes parked at the dockside, and in a fit of efficiency, scrapped the lot right on the spot! 

Alvis 3.1

      

Photos and text by Alvis 3.1