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F1H1C

Phantnom

 

The story which didn't happen ... outside Atlantic Air Combat

 

 

  See also : = Land Variants
 -
Carrier Variants
 -
Seaplane Variants
 -
 
     
Introduction
The FH-1 Phantoms served a brief carrerr with the US Navy before being transferred to Reserve Squadrons and finally removed from inventory by 1954.  While their destination would either be storage or the scrape yard, the US Government accepted a pledge from Portugal to transfer the remaing airframes in order to reequip their Naval Air Force.  After a small batch of FJ-1 Pirates already purchased by Portugal and a similar move by Spain regarding the F6U-1 Pirates, it was clear these two countries were chewing on something and it didn't take long to discover that with Spain having asked the loan of the USS Cabot and actively rebuilding the USS Sangamon instead of scrapping it, these neighbouring countries were planning to build up a Naval Air Force based on these two ships.  Why not after all, even if their choice of aircrafts, while cheap, could leave room for arguing.   But they were not, with Spain grabbing the opportunity to train their hands in modern aircraft manufacture by rebuilding the acquired airframes, to the extent of re-engining them with British engines (see associated Notes about the F6U2C and F1J1C).

Portugal, a founder Member of NATO since 1949, managed to grant US technical and financial backing for their project, especially for the rebuilding of the FJs which had required Hispano to completely rebuild the aircrafts and remanufacture new wings.

In a way, looking after the FHs seemed a more straighforward affair, at least initially as Hispano, tasked once more to look at the Portuguese acquired aircrafts, would soon find out that while the airframes entrusted to them were generally speaking in good conditions, the amount of work required by the Portuguese Navy wasn't minimal.   Essentially, the Marinha wanted the following issues to be adressed
 installing more powerful engines
 provision for radar installation, either nose or wing mounted; a podded radar being an alternative
 strengthening the wings to carry more weapons (basically two wing pylons per wing for 1000lbs and 500lbs
   respectively, with the inner pylons plugged for drop tanks, and the outboard pylons wired for Sidewinder missiles
   (starboard external pylon to be wired for a podded radar if no other solutions were to found)
 provision for wingtip tanks or sidewinder missiles
 modification to the gun pack to improve firepower and resolve the muzzleflash issue of guns used at night
 finally, several airframes were due to be modified into photo-reconnaissance aircraft - however the Marinha wished
   these airframes to keep combat capabilities (in effect, it meant they would also have the reinforce wings and
   Sidewinder firing capacities - guns were unlikely to be kept)


Comparted to the FJ acquired earlier, the airframes showed signs of fatigue and clearly had been used, but weren't derelict.  Actually, all airframes delivered in two batches were in flyable conditions, having been acquired as serviceable aircrafts and not as is as it had been the case with the FJs.   In total 54 airfraimes were delivered, with the aim to equip three 12 aircrafts squadrons, two attack and one reconnaissance, each with 4 attrition airframes. This left six excess airframes which were intended to test the various potential upgrades, in order to the various projects run in parallel.  This process lead to three exceptions.  First, the wing reinforcement programme applied to all six airframes, even if the inner wing pylons and wingtip fixtures were finally removed.  Second, a seventh airframe (111778) was used to test the new engine installation when the new type was identified, and finally upgraded to F1H1P standards.  Finally, a separate airframe (111808) had been selected to study the nose radar installation, and upgraded to F1H1C standards.  All six test airframes were refurbished and handed over to the Marinha at the end of the programme, which allocated them by pair to each squadrons as liaison aircrafts.  Because of the disparity of airframes types, these were renamed as shown in the table below :
  Type Serial IN Fate OUT Portugal

F1H1A
1962

F1H1B
1962

F1H1C
1962

F1H1R
1962

F1H1P
1962













1 XFD-1 48235 1945 - - - - - - - -
2 XFD-1 48236 1945 - - - - - - - -
1 FH-1 111749 1947 Retired 1954 1956 - -  701  - -
2 FH-1 111750 1947 Retired 1954 1956 - -  702  - -
3 FH-1 111751 1947 Retired 1954 1956 - -  703  - -
4 FH-1 111752 1947 Retired 1954 1956 - -  704  - -
5 FH-1 111753 1947 Retired 1954 1956 - -  705  - -
6 FH-1 111754 1947 Retired 1954 1956 - -  706  - -
7 FH-1 111755 1947 Retired 1954 1956 - -  707  - -
8 FH-1 111756 1947 Retired 1954 1956 - -  708  - -
9 FH-1 111757 1947 Retired 1954 1956 - -  709  - -
10 FH-1 111758 1947 >Museum 1954 - - - - - -
11 FH-1 111759 1947 >Private 1954 - - - - - -
12 FH-1 111760 1947 Retired 1954 1956 - -  710  - -
13 FH-1 111761 1947 Retired 1954 1956 - -  711  - -
14 FH-1 111762 1947 Retired 1954 1956 - -  712  - -
15 FH-1 111763 1947 Retired 1954 1956 - -  713  - -
16 FH-1 111764 1947 >Private 1954 - - - - - -
17 FH-1 111765 1947 Retired 1954 1956 - -  714  - -
18 FH-1 111766 1947 Retired 1954 1956 - -  715  - -
19 FH-1 111767 1947 Retired 1954 1956 - -  716  - -
20 FH-1 111768 1947 >Museum 1954 - - - - - -
21 FH-1 111769 1947 >Private 1954 - - - - - -
22 FH-1 111770 1947 >Reserve 1954 - - - - - -
23 FH-1 111771 1947 Retired 1954 1956 - - - -  4-A 
24 FH-1 111772 1947 Retired 1954 1956 - - - -  4-B 
25 FH-1 111773 1947 Retired 1954 1956 - - - -  4-C 
26 FH-1 111774 1947 Retired 1954 1956 - - - -  4-D 
27 FH-1 111775 1947 Retired 1954 1956 - - - -  4-E 
28 FH-1 111776 1947 Retired 1954 1956 - - - -  4-F 
29 FH-1 111777 1947 Retired 1954 1956 - - - -  4-G 
30 FH-1 111778 1947 >Reserve 1949 1956 - - - -  4-H 
31 FH-1 111779 1948 Retired 1954 1956 - - - -  4-J 
32 FH-1 111780 1948 Retired 1954 1956 - - - -  4-K 
33 FH-1 111781 1948 Retired 1954 1956 - - - -  4-L 
34 FH-1 111782 1948 Retired 1954 1956 - - - -  4-M 
35 FH-1 111783 1948 >Storage 1949 1956 - - - -  4-N
36 FH-1 111784 1948 Retired 1954 1956 - - - -  4-P 
37 FH-1 111785 1948 Retired 1954 1956 - - - -  4-Q
38 FH-1 111786 1948 Retired 1954 1956 - - - -  4-R
39 FH-1 111787 1948 Retired 1954 1956 - - -  787  -
40 FH-1 111788 1948 Retired 1954 1956 - - -  788  -
41 FH-1 111789 1948 Retired 1954 1956 -  789  - - -
42 FH-1 111790 1948 Retired 1954 1956 -  790  - - -
43 FH-1 111791 1948 Retired 1954 1956  791  - - - -
44 FH-1 111792 1948 Retired 1954 1956  792  - - - -
45 FH-1 111793 1948 >Storage 1949 1957 - -  601  - -
46 FH-1 111794 1948 Retired 1954 1957 - -  602  - -
47 FH-1 111795 1948 Retired 1954 1957 - -  603  - -
48 FH-1 111796 1948 Retired 1954 1957 - -  604  - -
49 FH-1 111797 1948 Retired 1954 1957 - -  605  - -
50 FH-1 111798 1948 Retired 1954 1957 - -  606  - -
51 FH-1 111799 1948 Retired 1954 1957 - -  607  - -
52 FH-1 111800 1948 Retired 1954 1957 - -  608  - -
53 FH-1 111801 1948 Retired 1954 1957 - -  609  - -
54 FH-1 111802 1948 Retired 1954 1957 - -  610  - -
55 FH-1 111803 1948 Retired 1954 1957 - -  611  - -
56 FH-1 111804 1948 Retired 1954 1957 - -  612  - -
57 FH-1 111805 1948 Retired 1954 1957 - -  613  - -
58 FH-1 111806 1948 Retired 1954 1957 - -  614  - -
59 FH-1 111807 1948 Retired 1954 1957 - -  615  - -
60 FH-1 111808 1948 Retired 1954 1956 - -  616  - -












62 -

-

- - -

54

2

2

32

2

16

Detailed Upgrades

     

Pylons    
Load

                
Fuel

F1H1A
1962

F1H1B
1962

F1H1R
1962

F1H1C
1962

F1H1P
1962













 

 

 

 

 

 

         

Ejection Seat

-

-

-

-

-

P P P P P

 

 

 

 

 

 

         

Guns installation

Modified

-

-

-

-

O P P

 

Number

 

 

 

 

 4xM2   4xM3   2xM2   4xM3   2xM3 

 

 

 

 

 

 

         

Nose

Radar

-

-

-

-

O O O P O

Nose

Recce

-

-

-

-

O O P O P

 

 

 

 

 

 

         

Wing reinforcement

-

-

-

-

-

P P P P P

 

 

 

 

 

 

         

Wing Pylon Inner

Inner

Load

-

1000 Lbs

530 L

P P P P P

Wing Pylon Inner

Inner

Wired

Missiles

-

-

P P P P P

 

 

 

 

 

 

         

Wing Pylon Outer

Outer

Load

-

500 Lbs

-

P P P P P

Wing Pylon Outer

Outer

Starboard

Radar

-

-

P P P O P

Wing Pylon Outer

Outer

Wired

Missiles

-

-

P P P P P

 

 

 

 

 

 

         

Wing Pylon Tip

Tip

Load

-

1000 Lbs

530 L

P P P P P

Wing Pylon Tip

Tip

Wired

Missile

-

-

P P P P P

 

 

 

 

 

 

         

Belly conformal fuel

-

-

-

-

1113 L

P P P P P

 

 

 

 

 

 

         

Engine

Original

-

-

-

-

J30WE20 J30WE20 J30WE20 - -

Engine

New

-

-

-

-

- - - J85GE5 J85GE5

 

 

 

 

 

 

         

The above (fantasy) data is based on researchs conducted by Nathan Decker and published on http://www.millionmonkeytheater.com/FH-1.html 

Photo-Reconnaisance
Sixteen airframes were intended to be modified as photo-reconnaissance aircrafts.  Two of the six test airframes selected to test the various planned upgrades or modifications were used for the purpose and had their nose modified to take 3 vinten cameras, one on each side of the nose, and a third one looking forward.  With sufficient volume in the nose, this modification was probably the easiest part of the work.  Incidentally, only two of the Browning .50 cal M2 guns needed to be removed, and Hispano was able to arrange the command boxes for the cameras in such a way that the lower guns would be maintained, thus somehow adressing the muzzle flash issue at the same time.   Like their fighter/attack counterparts, the M2 guns where replaced with M3s offering a higher rate of fire.

Modifiying the gun pack
Four .50 cal guns were considered too light a package for a fighter.  While installing 20mm autocannons could have been a solution, the Marinha preferred to stick to the .50 guns but was concerned about the combined rate of fire.  With a couple of P-38L interned during the war, they had had plenty of time to pounder on that aircaft gun pack (enssentially based on the same guns) and asked Hispano Aviacion to look at two options : either add another pair of guns or have the M2 replaced by M3 as they offered a much higher rate of fire (1200 rpm instead of 750).  Hispano went the easy way, and suggested to replace the guns, which had the advantage of releasing the M2 guns for the Marinha's FJ as these hulks had been acquired gunless.  And the number of guns released would be ample enough to provide for spares.   Increasing the amount of rounds was looked at briefly, but there were already enough alteration to the nose to worry about so the original 325 rounds ammo cases were maintained (still allowing for 16 seconds of fire).  Obviously less than the 26 seconds available previously, but the combined fire rate of 4800rpm was judged deadly enough a sting.

More to the point, the muzzle flash issue had to be addressed.  The Portuguese Navy had tested the aircraft upon reception prior handing them over to Hispano, and clearly in a night combat situation it proved troublesome for pilot's vision.  The solution came when dismantling the airframes.  The nose section could be separated from the aircraft and rebuilt with the guns repositioned inverted under the nose.  While the reality was somewhat more complex than just fitting back the nose section upside down, the visual effect was exactly that, with the camber of the top section of the nose now being accentuated while the bottom now ran almost flat up to the gun ports.

For a reason unknown, only two of the six test airframes, those used to test this particular modification, saw their M2 guns replaced by the more rapid firing M3s.  Most probably, these airframes being in excess to squadron needs, nobody considered it necessary and when it was enventually decided to put this airframe to some use, the gun packs were left as they were and the replacement overlooked.   It's only when the squadrons received their respective "liaison" aircrafts that the blunder was discovered : four of them still had M2s.  Then, although the gun exchange could have been performed at squadron level, again nobody seemed interrested (were the ammunition boxes ever to be filled again ?) and so the so-called F1H1As and F1H1Rs entered service with the M2 lumps in the nose, each airframe type with its own particular setup.

Radar Installation
As a standard adopted by both countries the aircrafts were to be equipped with the British Ecko ASV Mk19 radar.  This was essentially an air-to-surface radar, with only a marginal air-to-air capacity, and its main purpose was to pick up surface targets in the context of the anti-shipping role of these aircrafts.  Both the reconnaissance and the attack versions were to be equipped with this radar.  Various possible installations were examined, among them a leading edge installation, " la F4U", but more attention was paid to the available volume in the nose.  After all this radar only had a diminutive 32cm dish so basically the challenge was to pack the content of the Ecko 38 pod in the nose.  The combination of the radar installation and the revised gunpack took some tinkering but was finally arrived at, sort of imitating the F-94B layout.

The same installation could not be arranged for the reconnaissance version, and thus the Ecko 38 pod was adopted, similar to the ones used by the Spanish Armada on their own rejuvenated F6U or the German Naval Aviation on their Sea Hawk Mk101.   The starboard external pylon was thus wired accordingly.  While this wiring had de facto been installed on all six prototype airframes, and the associated scope installed in the cockpit, the fact that these airframes weren't re-engined reduced the load carrying capacity of these airframes which, in practice, could not really take this pod aloft.

Strengthening the Wings
For this subject, Hispano refrained from reinventing the wheel, and with US Government backing went straight to McDonnell for advice and redesign specifications, a task made easier by the same work work already carried out by MacDonnell as part of the F2H Banshee programme.  Either for the Recce or the Fighter/Attack version, this offered a wider range of possible weapons loads, provided a more powerful engine could be identified which was soon the be the case.   Basically, the reinforced wing could take a 200 US gallon fuel tank even if the 140 gallons (530 litres) Spanish tip tank was adopted.  There was provision for two underwing pylons, the inner one accepting a 1000 lbs load or a 530 litres fuel tank, and the outer one a 500 load.  The starboard external pylons were wired for the probable Ecko 38 radar pod, and all wing positions were wired to fire Sidewinder missiles (up to two from each under wing pylons).

As the six airframes used for various trial installation ended up keeping their original engine, only the external pylons were installed on these aircrafts and their load carrying capacity had been restriced to 250lbs.   Good enough for a rocket pod, a Mk81 bomb or an AIM-9B Sidewinder missile.

Re-Engining
Changing the Westinghouse J30WE20 engine for a more powerful one was the real challenge because if the J30 engine lacked power thrust it was of a diminutive size compared to other engines of the time, and the Phantom had be designed around it.   Ideally speaking, installing the Orpheus 804 would simplify maintenance for the Portuguese Navy, but being of larger diameter it would mean completely rebuilding the wings if not part of the fuselage, which was considered as an excessive undertaking.

A closer fit could be another British engine, the Rolls Royce Viper but it too would require some considerable reconstruction.  So, with the J30 Pratt & Whiteney engine not having had any further development, that was sort of a deadlock.   Then the US came to the rescue as General Electric was developping a new high thrust ratio engine which would be available by the end of the decade : the J85.  Neatly having the same 21 inches diameter as the J30WE, it was announced in the 863 / 953 Kgp range and probably higher if Hispano and their client could wait for a fully developped version, possiby with an afterburner.

Engine

 

Year

Power
Dry:Kgp

Power
AFB:Kgp

    
mm

Length
mm

Weight
Kg

Consumption
Kg/Hr/Kgp

-











J30WE20

1947

726

-

533

2565

320

1.180

-

Viper.202

1955

1135

-

624

1625

249

1.090

-

Or3/804

1958

2270

-

823

1916

359

0.964

-

J85GE1

1958

1180

-

533

1250

185

0.965

-

J85GE3

1959

1112

-

533

1250

185

0.965

-

J85GE4

1959

1340

-

533

1250

185

0.965

-

J85GE5

1960

1294

1748

533

1250

185

0.965

2.220

So the choice was clear and there was no beating around the bush necessary anymore.  Both Hispano and representatives of the Portuguese Navy were invited by GE to look at the engine being run on a test bed in 1957 and flown for the first time in September 1958 in its initial GE1 format.  By the time the Portugese government confirmed their approval it was further test flown in its J65GE3 format early in 1959 and an order was placed for 60 copies of that engine, soon modified to apply to the latest afterburning version, the J65GE5 offering yet more thrust at 2850 lbf, nearly doubling the available thrust (3850 lbf with reheat).   As other pilots will discover flying an Orenda or Avon powered F86F, having twice the usually available thrust in a given airframe does make a difference !

Although some modifications were brought to the wings to accept the new powerplant and withstand the increased thrust, the re-engining process went smoothely.  Like its predecessor, the engines were set at a small diverting angle to protect the aft fuselage from the blast of the engines.

Revising the Fuel Capacity and Maximum Take-Off Weight
Among the key performances for any combat aircraft, range is among the key ones.  In a way, McDonnell had already faced the issue and henceforth came with conformal belly tank to supplement the internal fuel capacity.  And indeed, there was nothing else useful Hispano could do about it, but keep the belly tanks which had been supplied along with the airframes and take advantage of both the increased thrust and the reinforced wings to further increase external fuel capacity.  While these addtional external loads took the airframe on the edge of overweight take-off possibilities, the combination of more powerful while less thirsty engines and augmented external fuel capacity provided the proper response.

With all the additional equipment weight in the nose (radar installation, ejection seat), some weigh balance has to be restored.  This was performed by a much more lightweight nose assembly, and the transfer of radio and navigation equipment to the aft part of the fuselage.

Aircraft Engine Thrust
Kgp-
Thrust
Kgp-
- Body

Motor
(Two)

Fuel:
Main

1419 L

Fuel:
Belly

1113 L

Fuel:
Tips

1060 L

Guns
1500x
.50

Pylons
Outer
500lbs
Pylons
Inner
1000lbs
Pylons
Fuselage
--lbs
Fuel
Total
Litres
Weight
Total
Kgs
















F1H1A J30/20

726
726

- Kg

2391

320
320

1078

891

-
-

173

29
29

227
227

-

-

5685

- -

1452

- L

-

-

1419

1113

-
-

-

-

-

-

2532

-

F1H1C J85GE5

1294
1294

1748
1748

Kg

2433

185
185

1078

891

454
454

173

227
227

454
454

-

-

7215

- -

2588

3496

L

-

-

1419

1113

530
530

-

-

530
530

-

4652

-

 

 Name

 Engine

 Details
1957  FH-A  J30WE20  Initial ex-factory denomination
1961  F1H1A  J30WE20    2 airframes rebuilt (wings) but not re-engined (liaison duties)
1961  F1H1B  J30WE20    2 airframes rebuilt (wings/guns) but not re-engined (liaison duties)
1961  F1H1R  J30WE20    2 airframes rebuilt as recce aircrafts, but not re-engined (liaison duties)
1961  F1H1C  J85GE5  36 airframes rebuilt and re-engined as fighter/attack aircrafts
1961  F1H1P  J85GE5  16 airframes rebuilt and re-engined as photo-reconnaissance aircrafts

F1H1C

 

 

 

 

F1H1A

 

 

 

 

 

 

F1H1P

 

 

 

 

F1H1R

F1H1C

 

 

 

 

F1H1B

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colors and Markings

Like other navies, the Portuguese Marinha tested a few camouflage scheme, among them a three-tone grey/blue with white underneath.  While not being adopted officially and discarded by the Wing Commanders of the two Fighter Groups who thought more appropriate not to argue about a two tone grey scheme, the Wing Commander of the 4th Recce Squadron exercised his privilege and adopted this striking scheme for the F1H1P of his group, considering it gave the planes a more "agressive look".  Agressive or not, this paintwork certainly made the Recce aircrafts distinctive.  The markings were otherwise up to the standard adopted between these two countries, with the Squadron emblem under the cockpit, and a repeater of the aircraft identifying number low on the ruder.  None of these aircraft retained their original US serial number.

FIH1C

7th Squadron

Fighter/Attack

F1H1A

7th Squadron Liaison

FIH1P

4th Squadron

Reconnaisance

F1H1R

4th Squadron Liaison

FIH1C

6th Squadron

Fighter/Attack

F1H1B

6th Squadron Liaison

 

___________