F-109 / XF3L-1 / D-188A

The F-109 designation was initially assigned to what was to become the McDonnell F-101B. After the two-place version of the "Voodoo" was redesignated, there were published reports throughout the 1950s that the F-109 designation had been assigned to a vertical-takeoff aircraft designed by the Ryan Aeronautical Company. However, this aircraft was actually designated X-13 (a designation in the X-for-experimental series). The X-13 was strictly experimental and was never intended as an operational fighter aircraft, and it never actually bore the F-109 designation.

In February 1958, the Bell Aircraft Corporation requested that the USAF assign the designation XF-109 to the D-188A project. The Air Force had no interest in the proposal and turned down the request. Consequently, the D-188A never, in fact, received a USAF designation, although the USAF serial numbers 59-2109 and 60-2715 have been associated with this project.

The Bell Aircraft Corporation Model D-188A project, sponsored by both the USAF and US Navy, called for a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) interceptor capable of speed in excess of Mach 2. This was a late 1950s private venture proposal by Bell. This Mach 2+ V/STOL fighter called for a high-winged aircraft.

Although the aircraft never got beyond the mock-up stage, it had some unusual design features. The aircraft was to have eight General Electric J85-GE-5 turbojet engines; a pair of engines was mounted on each wingtip in a rotating nacelle, the other four engines were mounted in the fuselage, two horizontal in the aft section and two vertically in the forward fuselage to provide downward thrust for hover and low speed flight. The twor J85 engines mounted vertically in the fuselage behind the pilot's cockpit were shut down for ordinary horizontal flight. The wingtip nacelles were designed to rotate through a 100 degree arc; horizontal to 10 degrees past vertical, allowing the aircraft to fly a backwards hover. The pods were rotated into a vertical position for vertical takeoff and landing, then were rotated horizontally for level flight.

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