Belgium's incredible R-36/37/38

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PanzerKing
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Belgium's incredible R-36/37/38

Post by PanzerKing » 27 May 2008 22:21

It never ceases to amaze me that so many countries of small size all developed modern aircraft programs: Yugoslavia's Ik-3, the Netherlands's Fokker G.I, Romania's IAR 80 just to name a few.

Does anyone have any interesting information on the Renard R-36 program that is not already know around the internet?

It seems like it would have really helped the Belgian air force!

http://www.aviastar.org/air/belgium/renard_r-36.php

http://www.aviastar.org/air/belgium/renard_r-38.php

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Re: Belgium's incredible R-36/37/38

Post by phylo_roadking » 27 May 2008 23:22

P-K, as I've noticed recently, a LOT of the stuff on the Net seems to be cribbed straight from Green & Swanborough's All the World's Fighters (Salamander, 1994), so what I have is identical to these two laboriously-typed-up entries LMAO...but I CAN add the R-37 for you!
With an airframe fundementally similar to that of the R-36, the R-37 differed primarily in having a close-cowled 1,100 hp Gnome-Rhone 14N-21 14-cylinder radial engine. Cooling air reached the engine via a narrow annulus, was mixed with exhaust gases and ejected through two groups of nozzles to provide some thrust augmentation. The proposed armament consisted of four 7.7mm or two 13.2mm machineguns mounted in the wings. Although the R-37 was displayed statically at the Salon de Bruxelles in July 1939, no attempt had been made to fly this prototype before the German occupation of Belgium in May 1940. The R-37 was discovered at Evere by the occupation forces and a Luftwaffe pilot - possibly unaware that the aircraft had not previously been flown - flew the aircraft to Beauvechain. There was no subsequent flight testing, although it is known that the R-37 was taken to Germany. Prior to the German occupation, Alfred Renard had prepared a project for a two-seat version, the R-37B, for use as a ground attack aircraft.
Looks like an R-36 that's had a punch on the nose! It was developed alongside the R-38, BUT though the R-38's Merlin was of a slightly smaller capacity, it produced another 10 knots at the same altitude.

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Tim Smith
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Re: Belgium's incredible R-36/37/38

Post by Tim Smith » 21 Jun 2008 19:39

Thanks for this thread, nice to know that Belgium had the potential to produce her own fighter aircraft. Possibly a home-designed fighter could have been in production by May 1940 if the Belgian government had given more support to the project (e.g. commissioning multiple prototypes so that if one was lost in a crash it wouldn't delay the program.)

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Re: Belgium's incredible R-36/37/38

Post by phylo_roadking » 21 Jun 2008 20:27

The problem THEN arises of...was Renard a big enough concern to handle series production? Not much point in designing an aircraft if you can only build a couple a month :( The truly expensive thing is tooling up a production line; this tooling cost is what buying bespoke saves, if you only want a relatively small number of each - and the Hurricane filled an almost identical performance slot if only enough could have been supplied and well enough in advance to be worrked into a coherent defence plan.

That's why you see American companies - Curtiss, Seversky, Republic, North American etc. - producing lots of models in a couple of prototypes each in the late 1930s; they were relying on the purchase price to fund any new tooling needed for series production. It's also why some prototypes like the Bell Airacobra well-outperformed the production item; a prototype is like a Formula One racing car or the Space Shuttle - a hand-built masterpiece...and when adapted for series production and reliability across hundreds or thousands of flying hours are downtuned and compromised tad (if not a lot like the Airacobra LOL)

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Re: Belgium's incredible R-36/37/38

Post by daveh » 22 Jun 2008 12:56

There was another version of the R 36/37/38 series namely the R40. This was a pressurised high altitude fighter fitted with a Merlin engine and an ejectable pilot capsule. Described as being externally similar to the R38 an R40 was transported to France for trials. This version was ordered by the French.
Green Fighters Vol 1

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Re: Belgium's incredible R-36/37/38

Post by phylo_roadking » 22 Jun 2008 13:56

Dave, have you anything else on this? I can't find reference to it. The R-38 only flew in August 1939...with the sole prototype of it being flown to France in may 1940 and later destroyed at Bordeaux to stop the Germans getting it. Both the R-37 and R-38 were still "live" projects as of May 1940, with Alfred Renard only starting to work on a two- seater ground attack version of the 37, designated the 37B, as his "current" project.

(Although the Belgians never flew the R-37 prototype - the GERMANS did, once - from Evere to Beauvechain...possibly unaware it had NEVER flown before! :lol: :lol: :lol: )

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Re: Belgium's incredible R-36/37/38

Post by daveh » 28 Jun 2008 11:50

Warplanes of the Second World War volume 1 Fighters by W Green in the entry on the Renard R 40
"One further version of the design was built. this, the R 40, was ordered by the French Air Force....

according to
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/i ... ;topicseen
This prototype was destroyed near the city of Tournai, Belgium, when the Renard firm evacuated to France during the invasion in 1940.

There are plans of the R36, R 37, R 38 and R 40 on
http://www.fnar.be/

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Tim Smith
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Re: Belgium's incredible R-36/37/38

Post by Tim Smith » 28 Jun 2008 14:22

phylo_roadking wrote:The problem THEN arises of...was Renard a big enough concern to handle series production? Not much point in designing an aircraft if you can only build a couple a month :( The truly expensive thing is tooling up a production line; this tooling cost is what buying bespoke saves, if you only want a relatively small number of each - and the Hurricane filled an almost identical performance slot if only enough could have been supplied and well enough in advance to be worrked into a coherent defence plan.
Good point. A small Belgian manufacturer like Renard could only fund the series production if they had sufficient orders for the aircraft.

However, Fokker in the Netherlands managed to produce enough aircraft for the Dutch Air Force - so given sufficient orders, Renard could have done the same, through the use of other Belgian companies like Hanriot.

The problem with small countries ordering British or French fighters like the Hurricane and Morane is that the home air forces take priority over overseas orders, and also that if you are reliant on foreign aircraft for defence, that gives the producer political power over you.

What if Belgium had ordered Hurricanes from Britain in 1939, and then Britain had said to Belgium "We'll sell you Hurricanes for a cheap price, but only if you join the Allied alliance and declare war on Germany"? Neutral countries have to be wary of being pressured or blackmailed by foreign suppliers - that's why countries like Sweden and the Netherlands were so keen to produce their own aircraft, even if they weren't as cheap as overseas designs. It helps maintain your independence if you can produce arms for your own military.

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Re: Belgium's incredible R-36/37/38

Post by phylo_roadking » 28 Jun 2008 18:20

However, Fokker in the Netherlands managed to produce enough aircraft for the Dutch Air Force - so given sufficient orders, Renard could have done the same, through the use of other Belgian companies like Hanriot.
Fokker is a different case; it had a very large and bouyant civil aviation catalogue, AND while the domestic Dutch Air Force was relatively small - the KNIL, the Colonial Air Force was MUCH bigger, big enough to issue its own specifications, such as that resulting in the D.XXI. Also, it did manage to sell its aircraft abroad very well - let's face it, they had the name - Denmark and Spain bought the D.XXI, with straight sales AND a manufacturing licence going to Finland, which bought 36 and licence built-another 35. Ditto with the G.1, that attracted sales and license enquiries and purchases from Spain, Denmark and Hungary.

P.S. Hanriot was French.
The problem with small countries ordering British or French fighters like the Hurricane and Morane is that the home air forces take priority over overseas orders,
This is not necessarily true - it depends on the speed of production on a matured production line...AND how many a domestic air force could actually order and PAY for :lol: For example - the Hurriance 1 was ALSO sold in 1939 and 40 to Turkey (15), Romania (12), Poland (1), Finland (12), Yugoslavia (24) and 20 more completed under licence by Zmaj. Remember - Canadian Car and Foundry built 1391 Hurricanes, and Gloster built 1924 Hurricane Is, while Hawker built only 1924 Hurricane Is of the total.

As well as the 15 actually delievered to Belgium out of 20 ordered - Belgium ALSO bought a manufacturing license...eighty were planned by Avions Fairey, the British subsidiary in Belgium, but only three were ever completed.
What if Belgium had ordered Hurricanes from Britain in 1939, and then Britain had said to Belgium "We'll sell you Hurricanes for a cheap price, but only if you join the Allied alliance and declare war on Germany"?
Like everyone else - they'd have bought AMERICAN :lol:

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Re: Belgium's incredible R-36/37/38

Post by Juha Tompuri » 28 Jun 2008 20:54

phylo_roadking wrote: the D.XXI, with straight sales AND a manufacturing licence going to Finland, which bought 36 and licence built-another 35.
Actually Finland bought 7 planes and licence built 90 planes,
phylo_roadking wrote: Like everyone else - they'd have bought AMERICAN :lol:
Like they did.

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Re: Belgium's incredible R-36/37/38

Post by phylo_roadking » 28 Jun 2008 21:13

Just checked up on that again. Finland did indeed take delivery of 7 complete aircraft, and manufactured 35 Mercury-engined D.XXIs...

But VL restarted production on its own after the fall of Holland, and produced a further 55 with the P&W R-1535-SB4-C and -G Twin Wasp Junior engine, Fokker having initially done the design work on this installation. However, it was actually slower and less manouverable than the Mercury engined model - 272 mph as against 286 mph - their maximum speed vs altitude was brought down from 16,400 to 9000 feet, and the aircraft itself was 300lbs heavier.

These aren't normally listed as Fokker D.XXIs, you'll find them in reference books etc. as VL D.XXIs. I wonder what the legal ramifications of this licenced production after the fall of Holland were...

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Re: Belgium's incredible R-36/37/38

Post by Juha Tompuri » 28 Jun 2008 21:52

phylo_roadking wrote:Just checked up on that again. Finland did indeed take delivery of 7 complete aircraft, and manufactured 35 Mercury-engined D.XXIs...
Yes.
phylo_roadking wrote:But VL restarted production on its own after the fall of Holland, and produced a further 55 with the P&W R-1535-SB4-C and -G Twin Wasp Junior engine
No. They were built under licence bought from Fokker.

phylo_roadking wrote:These aren't normally listed as Fokker D.XXIs, you'll find them in reference books etc. as VL D.XXIs. I wonder what the legal ramifications of this licenced production after the fall of Holland were...
Actually they were "legal" Fokkers, built under the unlimited licence bought from Fokker 15th June 1937.

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Re: Belgium's incredible R-36/37/38

Post by phylo_roadking » 28 Jun 2008 22:31

But VL restarted production on its own after the fall of Holland, and produced a further 55 with the P&W R-1535-SB4-C and -G Twin Wasp Junior engine
No. They were built under licence bought from Fokker.
As I was saying - Fokker did the design work on the engine mountings to suit the P&W engine (but NOT specifically to Finnish request - it was one of the fitment options advertised by the factory) but I'm not aware of them doing any of the prototype fabrication work at all, or designing the ancillary changes. This was carried out by VL with no assistance from Fokker after the Fall of Holland, and VL- designed work included the longer cockpit glazing, smooth cowl, large ventral air intake under the cowl, and enlarged vertical control surfaces - and of course changing from the Dutch LVA's 7.9mm FN-Brownings to 7.7mm Brownings. The Twin Wasp-engined prototype flew in January 1941.

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Re: Belgium's incredible R-36/37/38

Post by Juha Tompuri » 28 Jun 2008 23:22

phylo_roadking wrote:
But VL restarted production on its own after the fall of Holland, and produced a further 55 with the P&W R-1535-SB4-C and -G Twin Wasp Junior engine
Nope again.
The the licence production continued, engine type was changed and some improvements were made.
phylo_roadking wrote:
No. They were built under licence bought from Fokker.
As I was saying - Fokker did the design work on the engine mountings to suit the P&W engine (but NOT specifically to Finnish request - it was one of the fitment options advertised by the factory) but I'm not aware of them doing any of the prototype fabrication work at all, or designing the ancillary changes. This was carried out by VL with no assistance from Fokker after the Fall of Holland, and VL- designed work included the longer cockpit glazing, smooth cowl, large ventral air intake under the cowl, and enlarged vertical control surfaces - and of course changing from the Dutch LVA's 7.9mm FN-Brownings to 7.7mm Brownings.
No Dutch guns nor guns of that caliber were fitted to Finnish Fokker DXXI.
phylo_roadking wrote:The Twin Wasp-engined prototype flew in January 1941.
Actually there was no prototype, nor did the Twin Wasp engined DXXI first fly in 1941, but 29th October 1940.


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Re: Belgium's incredible R-36/37/38

Post by phylo_roadking » 28 Jun 2008 23:40

Nope again.
The the licence production continued, engine type was changed and some improvements were made.
In relation to "VL restarted production on its own after the fall of Holland", what part of "Fokker did the design work on the engine mountings" and "I'm not aware of them doing any of the prototype fabrication work at all, or designing the ancillary changes. This was carried out by VL with no assistance from Fokker after the Fall of Holland" - is unclear?

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