The Boeing XF8B (Model 400) was a single-engine aircraft developed by Boeing during World War II to provide the United States Navy a long-range shipboard fighter aircraft. The XF8B was intended for operation against the Japanese home islands from aircraft carriers outside the range of Japanese land-based aircraft. Designed for various roles including interceptor, long-range escort fighter, dive-bomber and torpedo bomber, the final design embodied a number of innovative features in order to accomplish the various roles. Despite its formidable capabilities, the XP8B-1 was fated to never enter series production. (WikiPedia)
The success of the Beaufighter as a torpedo bomber lead to the development of an aircraft dedicated to this role. Developed from the Bristol Buckingham bomber, the Brigand used most of the Buckinghams flight surfaces. Deliveries of the TF.1 Model (Torpedo Fighter Mk I) were made to 36 and 42 Squadrons but with the war over the future of this aircraft was in doubt. It was decided that the type was versatile enough to be rebuilt for a different role. The Brigand was removed from service and rebuilt as a bomber with a clear view canopy and other detail changes and returned to service in Malaysia and Kenya. This robust aircraft served with distinction until eventually replaced by the Canberra.
The XP-56 “Black Bullet” was conceived of at a time where almost any concept could find official backing. This environment led to some interesting designs and one of the strangest was Northrop’s model N2B (later given the designation XP-56).
Based on earlier design studies, the Shinden was conceived of by the Yokosuka Air Technical Depot in early 1943. The canard design had been proven by the J.N.A.F Aeronautical Engineering Arsenal using three tail first gliders (designated MXY6) built by the Chigasaki Manufacturing Company in 1943.
Originally receiving the designation of X-18, the design eventually ras re-designated the J7W1 and allocated the name Shinden (Magnificent Lightning). The Japanese Naval Air Force was so impressed with the design that the type was ordered into production before the first prototype was completed. The production contract was awarded to Kyushu Hikoki K.K. and construction of the two prototypes was commenced on June 4, 1944 at their Zasshonokuma factory.
The first prototype flew for the first time on August 3, 1945 at the Mushiroda J.A.A.F. base in Northern Kyushu. Both the Kyushu Zasshonokuma factory and Nakajima’s Handa factory had reached advance tooling stages by this time with an estimated production rate of 150 aircraft per month.
Initial flight tests proved successful with only minor, and correctable, problems encountered. The second prototype was barely completed but never flew since the war ended Japanese combat aircraft development.
The XA-41 was initially designed in November 1942 as a dive bomber. This role was changed to low level ground attack in the spring of 1943 after experience showed that the dive-bomber was less effective than previously thought. Only one prototype was built before the program was cancelled and this was later used as an engine testbed.
Bachem Ba 349 Natter “Viper”
A design born of desperation, the Natter was designed to be a point defense fighter to be stationed in the path of bomber formations. The fighter would wait for the formation to pass over and then launch vertically. As the Natter neared the formation the pilot would fire his rockets and then climb above the formation and swoop down for a ramming attack. The pilot would trigger a release mechanism immediately before impact and the cockpit section would seperate from the main fuselage.
Extensive testing was done, in which more than one pilot died, but the Allies overran the factory and launch sight and no combat missions were flown.