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Aerfer Leone

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Raptor_Fulcrum #1 Posted 17 February 2012 - 12:03 AM

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It's time to talk about my favorite supersonic prototype: th Aerfer "Leone"  :Smile_honoring:


All information that I use come from this book (http://www.aerei-ita...bri/Libro40.htm) and this web site: http://xoomer.virgilio.it/aviostoria/

With the coming of the F-104, the entire aviation world change. The performance of Aerfer “Ariete” was no longer adequate and he planned to "Ariete II" but it was not enough. The engineer Stefanutti then to turn to the planning and production of a new version. His jet aircraft would be substantially renewed and made considerably larger.
It would have been characterized by a new arrow wing at an angle of 50° having a "greater area and an inner wing dihedral, as well as much longer fuselage with a substantially consistent external diameter, which would therefore have made it much slimmer and sharper than the “Ariete”.
The front air intake would have been of the new type particularly suitable for highly supersonic flight. Its circular inflow section would in fact have been shut by a choke capable of bringing about favorable shock waves of deceleration and the compression of the air let in. It would also have been capable of containing a radar antenna with considerable range.
The aircrafts flight deck would also have been equipped with a locking canopy and the overall aspect and performance Stefanutti’s new fighter would have been very similar those of the more advanced versions of the contemporary Soviet MiG 21.


It would still have had the mixed type of rocket and turbojet power unit. This would initially have consisted of a British Siddley “Orpheus” B. Or. 12 with an afterburner, capable of producing a maximum thrust of 3089 kg., and later on a more powerful De Havilland “Gyron Junior” with a 3180 kg. thrust.
They would still have been placed in a tilted position in the lengthened bow of the aircraft, but in a position that was further back and at much less of an angle than was the case with the “Orpheus” and the “Ariete 2°”.


Also the related ventral flue for the propulsive jet would have been considerably lengthened and equipped with a much less pronounced crank connecting with the turbojet engine.
The jet power unit used would have been boosted by a De Havilland “Spectre” rocket motor, with an increased thrust of 4540 kg., for the bursts of acceleration at well over supersonic speed. The power unit would still have been placed at the end of the tail and fed with kerosene and hydrogen peroxide.
Stefanutti calculated a bisonic maximum speed at sea level, a time of climb to 21000 m. of 4 minutes and 55 seconds and a maximum absolute ceiling of 25000 m. for the new machine. Five prototypes would have been built.
The launchable weapons would also have been propelled with the use of two examples of the new De Havilland “Firestreak” air-to-air missile which would also have armed the British Electric “Lightning”.
Therefore the mock up of the aircraft on a full scale was built and work was started on the first prototype. However only 80% of its structure was completed.
Work on the Aerfer “Leone” ("Lion") was in fact interrupted because further funds from the state and NATO were not forthcoming. The existing funds were instead used to allow Italy to participate in the program to produce the then highly advanced “Hawk” anti-aircraft missile in Europe.

In the meantime in 1958-1959 Stefanutti had also started designing a V.T.O.L. version of the Aerfer “Leone”, which would have taken off and landed vertically. It would still have been equipped with a Bristol Siddley “Orpheus” turbojet, this time with an adjustable direction of thrust, while the rocket motor would have been replaced by a more powerful Napier rocket engine with a 7250 kg. thrust. However, also this futuristic project was interrupted because it was not favorably received by the decision makers in the upper echelons of the Aeronautica Militare.
It was in such a way that the unfortunate story of the super-sonic airplanes planned and produced by Sergio Stefanutti ended.

Technical data:


During my search for images, I found some beautiful representations of the Leone on this page. They are amazing.


Edited by Raptor_Fulcrum, 22 July 2012 - 05:10 PM.

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