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Old 4th November 2014, 14:46
GuerraCivil GuerraCivil is offline
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North American NA 16-15?

One option offered to Finnish Air Force (FAF) in their purchase competion of 1936 was North American NA 16-15 (or NA-50?, in USA P-64?). It was mentioned to be reasonably fast (430 - 440 kph at 3000-4000 meters) and it would not have been expensive (it was cheaper than the chosen Fokker D XXI with fixed landing gear and slower speed).

However, I wonder if NA 16-15 was just a paper plane in 1936/1937 because wikipedia suggests that the maiden flight of this type was made as late as in May 1939. Here a wiki entry related to NA 16-15: . IIRC, Peruvian Air Force used this fighter in Peruvian-Ecuadorian war in 1941.

As a base to this fighter served the North American NA-16 trainer plane and this is what wiki tells about it: "NA-16 evolved into a series of aircraft that were some of the most widely used advanced and basic training aircraft produced by any country, and provided the basic design for a single-engined fighter intended for small countries that needed a simple aircraft with modern capabilities and features."

The wiki description of NA 16-15 seems to indicate that it would have been a ideal choice for Finnish Air Force and perhaps also for Polish Air Force to modernize their fighter force with reasonable plane and reasonable price before WW2.

The NA 16-15 with max speed of 430/440 kph was maybe not the cutting edge of aviation technology by 1939, but the truth is that most small or medium-sized European countries had very slim chances to have Spitfires or Bf 109 E´s or any planes comparable to them by 1939. The very top technology was not in sale for lesser countries and their defense budgets were limited.

The Polish tried to build a modern monoplane fighter PZL 50, but unarmed prototype was ready only by spring 1939 and it could not make more than 430 kph. Hawk 75 was a flying machine and decent airframe by 1937/1939 standards, but it was quite expensive. And the orders of Hawk 75 should have been placed well before the French placed their big orders, otherwise Hawks would not have arrived to Finland/Poland in due time. Taking this in account NA 16-15 would perhaps been reasonable choice in second half of 1930´s to modernize fighter forces of air forces of small or medium-sized countries. Specially if there was an option for license build it (both Poland and Finland had their own aircraft industry).

But would NA 16-15 have been really available and delivered in time with considerable numbers for Polish Air Force or Finnish Air Force before the outbreak of war? If it just a "paper plane" on drawing board in 1936, then NA-16-15 would have arrived too late to Poland or Finland to take part in WW2 / Winter War.
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