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N-20 Aiguillon (Sting)

The N-20 Aiguillon (Sting) was ordered by the Military Department in May 1948. The F+W in Emmen began work on this ambitious, radically innovative new fighter. The N-20 was a tailless, swept-wing airplane reminiscent of the United States Navy's Vought F7U. The Commission for Military Aircraft Procurement [KMF] supported the advancement of the tailless, swept-wing airplane, the N-20, on 15 July 1949. Additionally, at the same time the Swiss firm Flug und Fahrzeugwerke AG (FFA) received the assignment to pursue the development of a cheaper single engine jet, the P-16.

A three-fifths scale demonstrator flew successfully in 1951. The EFW N-20.2 Arbalte (Crossbow) had four 220 lb (100 kg) s.t. Turbomeca Pimn engines: one above and below each wing. The wing was a blend of an arrow and a delta planform. Construction began in October 1950 and the first flight was made on November 16, 1951. Test flights proved successful and construction of the full size jet fighter prototype N-20.10 Aiguillon (Sting) was started.

The N-20 Aiguillon (Sting) contained several very new features. Its four British-derived Mamba turbofan engines were buried in the wing, and the cold air from the fans were ducted through additional combustion chambers on each side of the engine. This reheat device, which doubled the normal thrust of the engines, was to be used mainly for take-off and combat. For short take-off and landing, the secondary airflow could be deflected through large slots on the upper and lower wing surfaces. When the lower slots only were open, the deflected air acted as an aerodynamic flap; with both systems in operation, the deflected air acted as a thrust reverser. As a substantial proportion of the air flowed through about half the wingspan, the aerodynamic drag of the relatively thick wing was very low. To extend endurance, two of the four engines could be shut down in flight.

On 24 October 1949, the EMD submitted a report about the development of the N-20 to the financial delegation of the National Council. It underlined the absolute necessity for having a Swiss aircraft industry and underlined the basic conditions for a new combat aircraft. Due to problems with its engines, development of the N-20 was cancelled in 1952. Due to a cost comparison of the KTA, the Federal Council decided on 9 January 1953 to abort the N-20 project. The comparison of the estimated costs for a series of one hundred airplanes resulted in 228 million Swiss Francs for the P-16 and 340 million Swiss Francs for the N-20. As a consequence of the price, the Chief of the EMD forbade the first flight of the N-20 on 21 September 1953. It was not flown, although it did have a number of high-speed taxi tests and, according to one source, actually did lift off for a short distance.

The N-20, which the aircraft plant F+W developed, was cancelled. F+W was located in the Canton Lucerne, which is in the central part of Switzerland. Because the N-20 got cancelled the central Cantons fought the P-16 project, because FFA resided in the Canton of St. Gallen in the eastern part of Switzerland.

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Page last modified: 31-05-2013 18:50:00 ZULU