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Text of Statement by Capt. Trapnell on B-36 and Jets
(This is the text oj a statement \ read, before the House Armed \ Services Committee yesterday by Capt. Fred M. Trapncll:) For several years now we have taken for granted that we must defend ourselves against bombers of a type which would fly at a very high altitude and at a very high speed, altitudes and speeds way above any which have been discussed in these hearings. All of our new interceptor fighter de signs provide the ability to do this, but production of such air planes is very difficult and ex pensive. If, at this late date, a potential enemy should announce to the world that he would attack us with a very large slow unescorted bomber, we would immediately be released from a considerable bur den of very costly research and development in fighter design. Yet this is precisely the relief .which we would confer on our potential enemies if we confirm our extraordinary investment in the B-36. During the past three years the Navy has acquired considerable experience in the operation of a series of jet fighters culminating in the so-called Banshee. This airplane gives us altitude per formance superior to any other United States airplane presently in service. But it is not an in terceptor fighter. It is a general purpose fighter, carrying a rather large fuel load and having com paratively great range. Nevertheless, the Banshee flies at speeds and altitudes far greater than those of which, the B-36 is capable. But we expect to be confronted with more mod ern bombers and feel that we must have the still higher per formance provided by the inter ceptors now under construction. There is every reason to believe that the enemy will have fight ers as good as ours. The British do. And the Russians have pub licly demonstrated numbers of very advanced designs. There fore, we must use our own ex perience as a measure of the least we inay expect in the op position. Gas Turbines Developed. At the close of World War II, we were deeply involved in the development of gas turbines—ours did not get into action, but they bad definitely revealed entirely new concepts of airplane per formance. As usual the Germans were ahead of us—they were able to put a very few jet fighters into action. With conventional pro peller driven fighters they had al ready stopped our unescorted day bombers. The indications were quite clear that, with large num bers of jet fighters, they would stop our escorted bombers. This did not Occur because the war ended. . Since that time, the develop ment of jet fighters has pro ceeded with striking rapidity. This type is ideally adapted to intercept tactics against bombers. No propeller-driven fighter can touch a modern jet fighter. And it is a notable fact that the de velopment of interceptors is con tinuing at an accelerated rate. The development of jet bomb ers has not been comparable to that of jet fighters, for the sim ple reason that their extreme high fuel consumption has made it very difficult to provide the range required for land based opera tions. That is a severe handicap for us—but not so for our poten tial enemies. We all know that the life of a prisoner of war in the United States would be a rather attractive prospect to an aviator from behind the Iron Cur tain. For this reason, one-way bombing missions, requiring one half the bomber performance in range, are a thoroughly practical undertaking for them, and may very soon be within jet bomber, capabilities. Sharp Disagreement. With our experience, backed by the lessons of World War II, we find ourselves in sharp disagree ment with the proponents of the B-36. This controversy has, in effect, been submitted to the press and the public. The technical de cision which a non-technical pub lic is in the process of making is based on information which is incorrect in specific particulars. The importance of interpreting all such information correctly will be apparent. Arguments in support of the B-36 program have led to errone ous impressions as to combat con ditions at 40,000 feet. These are specific examples: The false premise that radar is ineffective against the B-36. The false premise that the fighter pilot has trouble in seeing or finding his target. The false premise that the in terception can be completed only with great difficulty. The false premise that the in tercepting .fighters lack the per formance and the maneuverability to attack effectively. The false premise that the B-36 can defend itself successfully when it is attacked. And— The false premise that no night fighter in existence can make an interception. I shall attempt to discuss these erroneous theories, briefly and in nou-iecmueal terms, not on the basis of what may be available in the future, but with specific ref erence to equipment which we have actually operated. As for radar problem—at the Naval air test center we get good results in detecting, tracking and controlling jet fighters—at alti tudes well above 40,000 feet—with radar equipment that is four years old—and without any special elec tronic aids in the planes. Be cause the B-36 is a vastly more favorable target than these jet fighters, we expect even better re sults against it. From our experi ence we see no grounds for the statement that the B-36 can go undetected in enemy territoy, simply because it is flying at 40, 000 feet. In fact there is nothing signifi cant about the figure 40,000 when considered without regard to the fighters performance capabilities. As we increase altitude from 30, 000 feet to 40,000 or 50,000 there are no surprises, no sudden changes, no discontinuities. It is a gradual process—involving a progressive narrowing of the limits of speed and maneuverability un til the airplane reaches its top altitude. The top altitude of any satis factory jet fighter is far above that of the B-36. At all such al titudes, high speed and maneuver abilty are limited by those phe nomena which appear as we ap proach the speed of sound. This approach is expressed in percen tage of the speed of sound. The fighter can fly at a figure which is greater by at least one quarter than the maximum figure for the B-36. The fighter's speed is greater by a margin of 100 miles per hour. And I might mention that with our new interceptors these margins will be greatly in creased. Depends on Rate of Climb. The widespread impression that, at 40,000 feet, the fighter pilot has difficulty in seeing his target in daylight is a false one. There is no loss of visual acuity, the air is generally clearer, and in many cases the target produces vapor trails which it may not do at lower altitudes and which make it extraordinarily prominent. The B-36 is the most easily lo cated of all air targets because it is the largest. The widespread impression that interceptions at 40,000 feet can be completed only with great difficulty is a false one. It becomes solely a matter of rate of climb of the fighter. Rate of climb figures may not be released in open session but the time re quired by present Navy fighters to climb to 40,000 feet has been quoted in the press as less than 12 minutes. That’s fast enough to insure interception of any pro peller-driven bomber if the radar warning net is effective. As regards the doctrine that fighters cannot attack effectively at 40,000 feet— If you were to ride as an oV server in a B-36 at 40,000 feet during joint exercises you would see Banshees diving and zooming all around you and making re peated gunnery attacks with a speed advantage of over 100 miles per hour. You might notice that the maneuvers of these fighters were more deliberate than at lower altitudes, that their turns were not so sharp, and that they do not attack from broadside or directly overhead. On these bear ings they are restricted by the limitations previously discussed. But they do have the 'ability to make co-ordinated attacks from all other bearings, including those most favorable to the fighter. They have, in effect, the same superiority over the B-36 that the fighters had over the bombers of World War II. When these bombers were unescorted, this su periority was decisive. Same Guns on Planes. In regard to the doctrine that! the B-36 can defend itself sue- i cessfully against interceptor at- \ tack: except for the limitations! I’ve just mentioned, the effect of j altitude on the gunnery problem is negligible at the moment. Both planes will mount the guns of same calibre. Gun for gun, the interceptor is comparatively vul nerable but it is a very small maneuvering target. The B-36 is a very large one and, for all prac RESIDENTS of the STATE OF NEW YORK YOU MUST REGISTER TO VOTE ON NOVEMBER 8th LOCAL REGISTRATION at Local Precinct: New York City ond West chester County— Oct. jn, it, 12, in. I4. S P.M. to 10:30 P.M. Oct. 18_7 A.M. to 10:30 P.M. CITIES AND VILLAGES of 8,000 or more inhabitants (exeept New Pork City and Westchester County) Oct. 7, 8, 14_10 A.M. to 10 P.M. Oct. .5 - _ 7 A.M. to 10 P.M. OUTSIDE OF CITIES AND VILLAGES of 3,000 or more inhabitants—non personal refistration—Oct. 8 and 15. APPLY for ABSENTEE BALLOT when you REGISTER INFORMATION AND FREE NOTARY SERVICE AT DEMOCRATIC RATIONAL COMMITTEE Ring Bldg., 1200 18th St. N.W., Washington, D. C. PHONE: District 1717 \ JEANETTE R. TRATTON Announces A Combined ANTIQUES SHOW AND SALE Hotel 2400 and silver spring armory OCTOBER 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 11 A.M. to 11 P.M. For Further information Call TV. 2727 or GE. 7608 \ ' tical purposes, is non-maneuver ing. Interceptor superiority is fa vored by the factors of surprise, initiative, and deception, and it is assured by numbers. A Japa nese pilot, for instance, in a single Banshee would undoubtedly be destroyed, probably in collision— which would be a most economi cal way of dealing with very heavy bombers and one which is re ported to have been of Russian origin. American pilots, however, are entitled to a sporting chance and, were they attacking an enemy B-36. would consider that two Banshees provide a fair fight. Three Banshees should positively insure the destruction of the B-iy>. In larger numbers the Banshees will work progressively through a i bomber formation, concentrating on parts of it with even more fa vorable ratios. It is well to re member, too, that when a fighter plane does’ get shot down in this ;sort of action, the pilot is in friendly territory and, in most cases, merely makes a forced land ing or parachutes to safety. The bomber crew, of some 10 men, is thousands of miles from home, over enemy territory, and in most distressing positioft. you nave already received testi mony that we may not expect, for five years, yet, to encounter any night fighter capable of intercept ing the B-36. This evidence has to be reconsidered in the light of the following facts. The Corsair night fighter now in service has performance adequate to inter-, cept the B-36 at 40,000 feet. It ihas a radar which is effective with ground control. The Douglas Skynight, a two seat jet night fighter, which will soon go into service, has the per formance and has radar adequate under all conditions to intercept the B-36 at 40,000 feet. It com peted five successful night inter ceptions above 40,000 feet on its first radar test. It should be noted particularly that the target plane in this case was another small jet fighter—a poor radar target. The night fighter version of the Banshee, with overwhelm ingly superior performance, will also go into service very soon. It must be concluded that the B-36 is not even now safe from inter ception at night. Night Fighters Called Threat. To summarize these points—we i have convincing evidence that the radar will detect and track the B-36; that the fighters will find and intercept the B-36; that the unescorted B-36’s will be attacked and shot down in numbers which will be prohibitive; and that the night fighters are today, a threat that cannot be ignored. If we disregard completely the question of economy, I concur with the testimony that the B-36 has some virtues as a night bomber be cause of the complications in volved in interception and attack during; complete darkness. But our knowledge of radar definitely contradicts the qualified state- j ments made before this commit-, tee that any ground target can be bombed at night just the same as is might by daylight. In addition to the very ques tionable accuracy of any kind of bombing from 40,000 feet, it is cer-1 tain that a large percentage of strategic targets are i nareas de void of the physical characteristics which are essential if they are to be located and identified by radar. On this point alone, and without regard to the vulnerability of the B-36, the chancer of success of any strategic night bombing mis sion are extremely uncertain. The great size of the B-36 is particularly favorable to all as pects of the interception problem under all conditions. It also sug gests that, for the future, other methods of attack such as bomb ing with proximity fuses, which, highly developed against surface targets, might be very effective against the B-36—particularly in view of the fact that it is incap able of maneuvering to any signi ficant extent. Indeed, the size of the procurement program as well as the size of the bomber, is a great stimulus to the imagination in the development of new meth ods of attack—high performance in the interceptor being relatively nonessential. Fighter Use of Rockets Seen. We are nearing the time when interceptor fighters will be equip ped with rockets or missiles in lieu of the present 20-mm. cannon. This step is in progress and it is generally agreed that a great in crease in effectiveness will result. Equivalent improvement in defen sive armament of the bomber is not now feasible and the bomber will, at that time, suffer another severe setback in its contest with the interceptor fighter. In this contest with the inter ceptor, the B-36 has raised the potential bombing altitudes by not much more than 5,000 feet over that of the B-29. It has greatly extended the range with the net result that the possibility of escort is completely eliminated. The experience of the Navy in the operation of fighters at high altitude may perhaps be unique in certain respects; but, if so, it is impossible to avoid criticism of the Air Force's design policy with respect to fighters. That is a notable tendency in Air Force design to concentrate on high speed at considerable sacrifice of high altitude performance. This tendency is most inconsistent with the bomber policy exempli fied in the B-36 program. Careful Tests Urged. Many of the foregoing state ments will be challenged by pro ponents of the heavy bomber. Such controversy is not easily re solved because of the complexity of the factors involved. At this point, comparative tests, carefully run and carefully evaluated, must be made. In the light of the Navy’s experience with existing equipment at t high altitude—ex perience which has not heretofore been considered, the B-36 pro gram seems unquestionably ill advised. It is impossible to reconcile the publicity in favor of the B-36 with the reluctance to enfeage in joint comparative tests with the Navy. This employment of the equipment would be the most val uable possible training for both services. I believe, however, that it will result in cancellation of any fur ther B-36 production. EJven though this raises a picture of utter con fusion, the issue is one which must be faced. It appears that the eagerness to be free of dependence on foreign bases, and to establish a simple method of fighting a war,; has led us into error on a very' large scale. And, gentlemen of the; committee, we ought to find out! Vinson Says Pentagon Seeks Destruction Of Naval Aviation (Continued From First Page.l ---——--—■—————— Hopgood, Navy budget officer, confirmed Mr. Vinson’s informa tion that 57.2 per cent of the pro posed budget cut below the amount Congress is expected to give the Navy this year would be borne by naval aviation. But he said this was the Navy’s idea, in asmuch as there was nowhere else so much money could be trimmed at this time. 5. Mr. Matthews insisted he is not going along willingly with Mr. Johnson on the Navy reduction, has asked for and been promised a hearing, and is ready to argue “vigorously and persuasively” against the slash. 6. Capt. Trapnell reiterated the Navy's plea for a test of its fighter planes against the B-36. First of Radford's Experts. Capt. Trapnell testified as the first of a group of technical ex perts marshalled by Admiral Ar thur W. Radford, top Navy air-*1 man, to substantiate his conten tion that Air Force claims for the B-36 are grossly exaggerated and that long-range strategic bomb ing is being over-emphasized in defense planning. He branded as “false premises Air Force statements that radar detection is ineffective against the B-36 when it is flying at 40,000 feet, that interception by fighters is extremely difficult and that the B-36 can defend itself success fully. “It is impossible to reconcile the publicity in favor of the B-3f> with the reluctance to engage in joint comparative tests with the Navy,” Capt. Trapnell said. “This em ployment of the equipment would be the most valuable possible training for both services.” He expressed confidence such tests would produce “cancella tion of any further B-36 produc tion,” admittedly leading to “utter confusion,” but representing “an issue which must be faced.” Night Banshee Nearly Ready. The 47-year-old test pilot de clared the Navy has “convincing evidence that radar will detect and track the B-36; that the fighters will find and intercept the B-36; that the unescorted B-36s will be attacked and shot down in numbers that will be prohibitive, and that the night fighters are today a threat which cannot be ignored.” The present Corsair carries radar effective with ground con trol and can intercept the B-36 at 40,000 feet, Capt. Trapnell told the committee. He %aid the Sky night. a night fighter, completed five successful interceptions over 40,000 feet on its first radar test, using a Banshee as a target. And the Navy will place in! service soon the night-fighting! version of the Banshee, he added.! Two Banshees would give a; WARTEL'S FABRIC FOAM UPHOLSTERY Removes all dirt and grease and restores colors to fabric. Moth proof, NON-INFLAMMABLE, and odorless. Work Guaranteed by Pioneers of cleaning Upholstery in your home. Estimates also given on one nr more pieces. No Muss. No Fuss, Tour Furniture Can Be Used In a Few Hours. One Services Are Used By Leading Upholsterers. _ i 604 9th St. N.W. RE. 8088 I I Our Stores in Over 40 Principal Cities Assures Your Satisfaction WILFRED MCNEIL REAR ADM. H. G. HOPWOOD Assistant Secretary of Defense McNeil and Admiral Hop wood. Navy Budget officer, as they testified yesterday before the House Armed Services Committee on Naval fiscal matters. —AP Photo. B-36 “a fair fight,” he said, and three would dispose of the huge bomber. “In larger numbers, the Ban shees will work progressively through a bomber formation, con centrating on parts of it with even more favorable rations,” he said. Appropriation Tied Up. This is the situation with re spect to armed services budget de velopments, as they affect the Navy: 1. The Defense Department is operating on the cuff. It hasn't received its money for the fiscal year which began July 1. The ap propriation bill is tied up in a Senate-House conference, where there is a difference of opinion over whether the Air Force shall be given money for 48 or 52 air groups this year. The Navy’s op erating large aircraft carriers would be reduced from 11 to 8 under the bill, with corresponding plane reductions. 2. Mr. Johnson wants to save $800,000,000 of whatever total is appropriated, with the Navy trim ming its budget about 9 per cent, the Army 8 per cent and the Air Force approximately 3% per cent. If, as expected, naval aviation would have to bear the brunt of the Navy’s economies, there would be 570 new naval planes bought ! during the year, instead of the 843 provided for in the budget. 3. Then, according to Mr. Vin son’s information, next year’s budget for the Defense Depart ment would give the Navy money to operate only six large carriers, and carrier air groups would be reduced from 14 to 6, with Marine air squadrons being reduced from 23 to 12. Opposes Johnson’s Cut. Mr. Vinson has declared Mr. Johnson should not be permitted to make cuts in funds allotted by Congress for specific purposes. He has indicated it might be ad visable for Congress to amend the Armed Services Unification Act to require the defense chief of obtain congressional concur rence in any such major econ omies affecting the strength of a service. “The Navy would become a protective convoy to move troops; and fight submarines,” in the present trend in Pentagon think ing if its role in warfare were not j altered, he said. Mr. Vinson asked Mr. Matthews: if the proposed cuts to be made administratively this year went through, would it curtail the Navy’s fighting ability? “Yes,” Mr. Matthews replied. Mr. Vinson then asked if this meant “the security of the coun try” would be impaired. “That’s our opinion,” Mr. Mat thews said. Mr. McNeil emphasized that the apportionment of economies was merely tentative. He said all serv ices would have opportunity to present their views on possible ad verse effects on their fighting pow er. “At the risk of being critical," he said, he did not think that the Navy’s case ever had been “pre sented adequately” to Mr. Johnson. ! At the same time, he added, he could not recall of any instance in which the Navy had been dis criminated against in overall de fense planning. "I am hopeful that as a result of these hearings there will oome a proper solution of these prob lems and the Nation’s fighting strength will not be impaired," J Mr. McNeil said. New Engines Tested In Stratojef Bomber By the Associated Press MOSES LAKE, Wash., Oct. 8.— The Boeing XB - 47 stratojet bomber, which can attain a speed of at least 600 miles an hour, made its first test flight today with a new set of more powerful | engines. The Air Force said the six new General Electric J-47 turbo-jet engines give the plane 25 per cent more power than those used when it made a record three-hour, 46 minute Transcontinental flight last January from the State of Washington to Andrews Air Force Base, near Washington, D. C. With the new engines, the Air Force said, the bomber has a power potential of more than 49, 200 pounds of thrust with rocket assists. At the controls of the bomber on the 37 minute test flight were John B. Fornasero, chief of Boe ing’s test section, and A. M. “Tex” Johnston, also of Boeing. The Air Force describes the XB-47 as its newest medium jet bomber. Its overall dimensions are generally similar to those of the B-29. Its wingspan is about 116 feet and its length about 108 feet. Gets Post at Cornell U. Miss Jean Grove Taylor, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frank R. Taylor. Dunn Loring, Va„ has accepted a teaching assistantship at Cor nell University, where she will take graduate work in psychology. 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