The United States aviation industry witnessed tremendous changes in the 20th century, especially after the events leading to the Second World War. Air warfare became an indispensable part of major wars since this period, providing many countries with the needed advantage over their enemies. The number of planes made during this time stands out as the highest ever to be recorded in the history of the United States. Between the years 1938 and 1944, the aviation industry is estimated to have made more than 40,000 aircraft, one of the highest numbers of planes made by a country within a period of six years. Annual reports from these periods reveal an increase in the number of employees recruited by aviation companies in the United States as well as an increase in the number of government contracts to both private and public organizations with the main aim of increasing the number of airplanes in the country. Most newly employed workers received attractive compensation to ensure that they remained within the industry. Most of these employees came from rural areas. The main aim of increasing the number of planes during this period was to aid the military in the Second World War. The effectiveness of planes was higher as compared to other methods. The North American Aviation (NAA), the manufacturers of warplanes, was determined to see the United States through the Second World War with new improved airplanes that could prove their dominance in the combat field. Therefore, they invested in more resources to ensure that the new plane models were more effective. Most agreements for the manufacturing of these planes directly came from the government.
Before the Second World War, the aviation industry was considered one of the smallest growing industries in the whole of the United States. However, the intensification of activities resulting in the world war increased the number of planes’ designs and investment in this industry. The success of the United States aviation industry trickled down to one company, North American Aviation. Before the entry of this giant, the country had been ranked as the 41st in the whole world. From 1939 to 1944, where NAA handled most activities of the aviation industry, this status changed to the first position in the whole world. The company moved the plane capacity from the mere 3,000 in 1939 to 300,000 planes over a span of six years, a feat never achieved by other companies in the world.
The company ensured that its employee’s efforts would double those of other countries participating in the war. However, the profit motive remained one of the major driving factors. At some point, the production levels were so high that other countries, such as France and Britain, exported planes from the United States Company. The company also developed new models that were used by other countries. The rise in the production of some planes increased Americans’ capabilities in the air, making it a dominant force in the Second World War. Thus, North American Aviation played a vital role in developing planes that were vital for the United States in the Second World War and Post War.
The aviation industry was able to adapt to the large demands for the war. Most contracts in 1939 were classified as a single shift. The number of trained workers increased, and most factories operated on three shifts. The government played an important role in providing the required skills and the capacity to fulfill different objectives. More importantly, the government was known for what was commonly known as educational orders with different manufacturers. The government was also interested in the development of new private firms that could provide support to NAA. The industrial success of the company also played another important role in the development of military airline. Other important factors that shaped the military during this period were the improved workforce, which had received numerous offers, and the greatest forms of comradeship that had never been witnessed among the employees working in this sector. NAA had managed to bring together all actors on board and ensured that they understood the importance of winning the war by the United States. This inspired most employees to become better individuals, especially in doing their various jobs. In the end, the various forms of aircraft that came out of the aviation industry played a major role in ensuring that the United States was victorious in the war.
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Three aircraft stand out from the rest. These warplanes are P-51 Mustang, B-25 Mitchell Medium Bombers, and the Cold War aircraft that remains one of the prominent fighter jets in the United States history. B-25 is widely known for carrying two military pilots. These are examples of planes that were modeled by NAA. Most planes model made between the Second World War and Post War periods proved vital for the country in the coming years. Today, the United States aviation industry is ranked among the best across the world courtesy of the revolution that was initiated by NAA.
World wars largely shaped product development by NAA. During the First World War, countries never placed emphasis on air warfare. During this period, wars were mainly fought on land and water. However, after the end of the First World War, most countries began equipping themselves with modern warfare equipment. Greater advancements were made towards the development of warplanes. The United States fell behind the hierarchies because it had never been engaged actively in the First World War. As the arms race continued, the country became a target for different countries. The establishment of the NAA proved to be the turning point for the United States. Within some years into its establishment, the company increased the number of planes to 300,000 from a mere 30 units. This effectively catered for most of the air force’s needs in the United States.
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After this, the company went into the development of customized plans. Twin-engine planes, which were more effective as compared to single-engine planes, were developed. Additionally, the company developed different types of warplanes for specific purposes. These planes included heavy bombers, fighter jets, medium and light bombers, and all of them were designed for specific purposes. Furthermore, support aircraft were made. They were used for transport, communication, and servicing other planes. All of the above planes were made for the Second World War and future wars. Although the number of planes decreased after the Second World War, product development remained a key component that was never left out. The company quickly shifted into nuclear development and space programs. The two are used to protect the United States now.
NAA annual reports indicate the profit made by the company in the development of different planes. The information provided in different reports helps reveal the growth of the company and the important role it has played in the United States. In 1940, the company stated that its net income was 7,090,336. The report states that the sale of airplanes hit a high point for the first time in history, being 29 times higher as compared to the initial years. This forced the company to expand its operation, increasing the number of employed individuals as well as its resources. In 1943, significant changes were made to P-51 Mustang, one of the most utilized planes by the United States during the Second World War. This highlights the important role that NAA played in product development. The wingspan was changed to increase the effectiveness of the plane, an advantage that their enemy planes had never had. In 1944, the net income of the company was started as being $718,003,498. These profits and investment in the company grew rapidly in the next 4 years. Higher profits directly translated to manufacture and the improvement of various planes. More to say, this was the period of heightened activity regarding the Second World War. The example in the above reports shows the growth status of a company during the Second World War. Important information is incorporated in the areas below.
T-6 Texan military plane emerged from the three top plants in California, Texas, and Kansas and it was one the most famous airplane models in the Second World War period and may be of the time. This North American-made aircraft was manufactured in higher numbers as compared to other aircraft it trained aviators for or against it. NAA together with the other foreign companies that made the Texan under the Texan authorization overseas had made an approximated 17,096 Texans. The figure does not include the planes that were reconstructed from the already existing airframes or the other crafts that utilized T-6 technology as their foundation. T-6 was purposely meant for basic training, but it also found other uses such as advanced air trainer, fighter bomb, fighter, and forward air control plane interceptor, and counter-insurgency aircraft.
Apart from its use in North America, other countries throughout the world also imported the aircraft to use during World War II, so it was used by more than 55 air forces around the world. One of the T-6 Texan trainers sank the enemy’s submarine off the Mexican coast on July 5, 1945. Apart from the use by the military, the T-6 had been used by civilians in areas such as pylon racer, mail carrier, airline, and sports aircraft. The T-6 aircraft introduced by NAA during World War II still serves as the foundation of the many new Texans as well as many other aircrafts made for trainer purposes.
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In July 1942, the first P-51 Mustang was introduced by the British Army Cooperation Command. In the following months, the North American fighter with Allison Engine participated in the raid of the great Dieppe, and it was successful in bringing down the latest Nazi fighter called Focke-Wulf 190. A group of the Mustangs piloted by the RAF pilots established an air history, whereby they attacked the enemy objectives within the German borders. Mustang was said to be the first lone engine aircraft created in Britain to penetrate Germany. In the meantime, a significant development was being made at home where the P-51 was being fitted with exceptional strategic functions. One of these developments was the installation of Rolls Royce Merlin engine designed for higher heights attacks. That Mustang brought to the RAF pilots by the end of the year was by far superior as compared to its competitor from England, as explained by the spokesman from the War Department. More competitive models came into existence in 1943, whereby several improved P-51 Mustangs were throughout the year in California section, and the latter manufacturing in those years was complemented by the plant in the Texas division. The cost for production of the Mustang together with other aircraft types amounted to $2,300,000 and a total of 15,000 improved aircraft were produced. Throughout the history of World War II and beyond, the Mustang aircraft had been improved to cater to the rising needs of the military. During this time, several services planned to help the workers through the wartime hardships were provided in every plant, and they included transportation, rationing amenities, and the assistance to the working mothers who could face childcare difficulties. The impacts of the improved services to the workers were extended to the post-war periods and even today. In 1944, Dallas’s production of the P-51 continued, but the production of AT-6 reduced.
B-45 Mitchell was officially introduced in 1942, as per 1942 NAA manuals, and it performed several attacks at the enemy objectives in this year all over the South Pacific. B-45 attacked Rommel’s African lines both on land and water, and this played a great role in the success of America in North and West Africa. These aircraft under the control of the Russian Air Force released thousands of explosives on the German territories around. Moreover, B-45 from North America was found in every part where World War II raged, and the aircrafts displayed such an outstanding performance that no other war aircraft could match. The 1943 manual reported that many company’s divisions, such as California and Kansans, produced tremendous numbers of B-25 Mitchell double-engine bombers. These improved models were designed for almost every tactical task; a good example was an airplane with 72mm cannon and it was the first aircraft in history to possess such a big cannon. The center fuselage of B-25 ran from the nose the bomb bay end. It was integrated with the center section of the wing and had an array of four longeron’s stringers and frames. The bomb bay roof served as the crawlway floor to allow the crew to travel forward and backward. The center section of the wing consisted of two upper spars to prevent bending loads and six ribs that spread the landing. Apart from contributing massively to the Second World War, B-25 Mitchell manufacturing led to the increased and improved terms of employment in the NAA sector and increased the total production of the aircraft by NAA.
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An excess of 6,000 F-86s was made at the beginning of the year 1944 by NAA at the plants in Los Angeles, Columbus, California, and Ohio. These planes recorded consistent triumphs against the Russian-made MiG fighters in the period of the Korean War after World War II. Four types of F-86 were under daylight, and fighter-bombers category, and the other three categories were all weathered versions. In 1947, an operational saber called XF-86 was put under trial by NAA under the stewardship of George Welch. Several saber models set numerous new speed records for six years in a row. In 1948, an F-86 recorded a new world record at 570 mph. The record was improved by another F-86 model – F-86D that had a speed of 698 mph in 1952, which later improved its record in 1953 by setting a new speed record of 715 mph. In the subsequent years, NAA made other new models of F-86 “all-flying-tails.” The production of the Sabre jets by NAA ended at the end of the year 1956, and NAA manufactured F-100 Super Sabre to replace the F-86.
The program to assemble the XB-70 Valkyrie started in 1955 when the USAF authorized for long-range and high altitude bomber possessing Mach 3 with dash capability and strength to carry standard war load and hefty nuclear warheads. The new airplane was built to succeed in the subsonic B-52. Both Boeing and NAA provided their proposals following this request by the USAF. The projected airlines from both companies met the takeoff weights of about 450 tons as well as the capability to dash at Mach 3. However, these proposed aircraft could not fit the USAF hangars and some of the other facilities that had been constructed to fit B-52 because XB-70 Valkyrie was gigantic. In September 1964, the North American Aviation’s XB-70 Valkyrie became the biggest experimental research airplane in the world. Although they aimed to cruise at Mach 3, the first aircraft had the poor directional stability that was above Mach 2.5 and its speed never exceeded Mach 2.55 during the flight trials at NASA FRC from 1967 to 1969. Following this failure, the studies on the wind tunnel conducted by NASA Ames prompted NAA to build a sitter ship with an additional 5 degrees of dihedral wings. XB-70 Valkyrie introduced some technologies such as compression lift. Moving at the supersonic velocity, B-70 fuselage would generate a shock wave.
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The front inlet wedge would produce a disturbance in the created shock wave that would lead to a slowing of the pale while building the pressure beneath the wings, therefore, generating an estimated 40 pounds in every square foot of the extra lift at Mach 3. Up to now, the XB-70 Valkyrie remains the heaviest aircraft ever to take off at Mach 3. In 1966, an accident occurred that left two pilots dead and two aircrafts destroyed. The main post-war impact of XB-70 Valkyrie was its role in the establishment of the Russian Mikoyan-Gurevich Mig 25 Foxbat. Russians were highly concerned about the threat posed by the XB-70 Valkyrie and in 1964 Russian authorities promptly ordered the construction of an interceptor with or that could exceed the specifications of XB-70 Valkyrie. As a result, a significantly enhance all-weathered interceptor modification of MiG 31 and MiG 25 was made and tested in 1975, and eventually entered into service in 1982. Up to today, this indomitable aircraft still forms a significant strategic quota of the Russian Air Force.
The United States has achieved a massive feat during the Second World War, courtesy of the development in the aviation sector by NAA. The company became a massive producer of various designs of planes just before the start of the war and provided the country with much-needed assistance is required in terms of firepower. The designs formulated during this period are still in use. The rise of the NAA is associated with the increase in different plane designs, making the United States one of the powerhouses in airfare. The growth of the industry was also coupled with an increase in the levels of employment opportunity. The advances made in the early years have been re-extended to cover such aspects as nuclear development and space explorations.