Apr 262012

The aircraft shown in the brochure at left is the Martin 246, a jet attack aircraft submitted to the US Navy Bureau of Aeronautics (BuAer) on an unsolicited basis in 1949. Its chief characteristics were its inverted gull wing and T-tail, the latter being a popular design choice at Martin in this period. According to the brochure, the aircraft was capable of delivering 2,000 lbs of ordnance and carried 800 rounds of 20 mm ammunition. Furthermore, it could achieve a range of 524 nautical miles in 1 hr 19 minutes at a supersonic combat speed of Mach 1.07. Its electronics equipment permitted day or night operations. Martin estimated a high speed of 631 kts (Mach 1.10) at 35,000 ft. The climb rate at sea level was 17,450 feet per minute; service ceiling was 51,000 ft; and the gross weight was 34,000 lbs.

The Martin 246 was optimal for a high speed target run-in and attack, increasing the surprise element and reducing the attrition rate for attacks on naval targets such as submarine pens, naval shore installations, coastal defense stations, harbors, invasion resistance points, and coastal shipping.

The aircraft featured a novel internal rotary bomb bay designed for high speed bombing and could carry various combinations of mines, rockets, bombs or torpedo. It could also be configured as a potent air-to-air missile launcher with 6 Oriole type missiles.

The Martin 246 could carry fire power for protection without escort for low level strafing. It featured a bullet proof windshield; four 20 mm cannons with 800 rounds of ammunition; armor plate; and rocket packages mounted under wing with fifteen 2.75″ folding fin rockets per package.

The company claimed that the Model 246 could operate from CVB-41 and CV-34 class carriers. In terms of deck spotting, the CVB-41 could accommodate 91 of the aircraft, while the CV-34 could accommodate 75. This is only a summary of the brochure; to read it in depth, please see below.

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BuAer Aero & Hydro Branch analysis of Martin Model 246 proposal.
Second page of BuAer analysis.
BuAer note concerning rejection of Martin 246.

An analysis performed by the Aero & Hydro Branch of Buaer on November 15, 1949 indicated that Martin overestimated the performance of its attack aircraft proposal. More critically, BuAer concluded that the Martin 246 failed to meet catapult requirements—it could only be launched from the CVB-41 with the proposed XC-7 catapult. Martin was subsequently informed of this issue and nothing further was done with the design.

All images from NARA Archives II, College Park, MD, RG 72

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