From the early postwar years until well into the late 1950′s, Convair-San Diego spent a great deal of effort studying and proposing turbojet powered seaplanes. Roles covered the spectrum from small fighters to Mach 4 bombers to cargo lifters. Sadly, nothing came of these efforts, and nobody except the Russians ever fielded a fast jet seaplane.


One of the earliest of these concepts I’ve seen is this 1947 design for a single engine jet fighter seaplane, apparently the first of the “Skate” series (which ran into the 1950′s and included bombers and passenger planes). This is a highly aerodynamic vehicle, with shaping taken as far as doing away with the normal bubble canopy by making the pilot lie prone. A similar design was produced with the same basic geometry but with two jet engines exhausting near the wing trailing roots.


The plane was certainly well armed. Four .50 caliber machine guns and two 20 mm cannon, with an alternate load of 30 5-inch “spinner rockets” fired from wing-embedded “rocket guns.” The rockets look like they would have been atrociously inaccurate, so the load was almost certainly not for shooting down other fighters. However, for taking down bombers, cargo aircraft or ships, these probably would have packed a hell of a punch.