Manufacturer: HUGHES

Model: H-18

Name: Hussar


Date: 1946

Status: Prototype evaluation

Country: United States

Service: U.S. Air Force

Designation: XA-49


At a time when the USAF was still deciding what to do with the A-for Attack designation, Fairchild submitted an odd-looking combat type, the M-202 Kestrel, which was evaluated as the XA-46. Hughes' contender to the same specification, the Model H-18 Hussar was of similar configuration and was tested as the XA-49.

Both types were very capable aircraft, appreciated by the test pilots; the Hussar's performance was even better than that of the Kestrel, and it clearly was the Air Force's favorite, but it eventually lost out because Hughes was not considered as having the capacity to deliver with full-scale production of a fighter if it won.

Besides, Northrop had entered the competition at the very last minute with their own Salamander prototype which clearly beat all other competing designs.

Not that it mattered in the end, because the whole specification was abandoned and both aircraft programs terminated. The Air Force decided to leave the attack mission aside and go for big bombers and missiles instead. That was the end of the A- for attack class.


Famous aviator, movie-maker and billionaire Howard Hughes didn't create many aircraft, but they all stood out as exceptional. What about enriching the family a bit?

Below right is an imaginary advertisement for both the H-12 Hornet and H-18 Hussar, along with the real-life twin-boom Hughes D-2A reconnaissance aircraft (tested by the U.S.A.F. as the XF-11, then redesignated as the XR-11) — I christened it the Hawkeye here, which to me made perfect sense as a monicker for the operational version since it was a high-altitude photographic reconnaissance type.

Both the Hussar and the Hornet were directly adapted from the D-2A photo.

Viewers' comments:
  • These are you're usual absolutely top notch job!! :) Both the planes and the advertisement look work really well, and certainly looks like it could have been possible. :) I do love your style and creativity!!! Great fun! :) (dinobatfan)
  • Historians say the D-2 is the forefather of the XF-11, not the XF-11 itself. There is on the Web a photograph of the (never completed) D-2 prototype, without bubble canopy. [link] Maybe in Real-life, this was the D-5 more than older D-2, but the most important is having added a family as son and grand son, thanks for this orphan machine... (Tophe)

My comments:

Apparently the D-2 was the planned A-37, which was started but never completed. Then there was a proposal to redesignate it as the XP-73 fighter, but that didn't happen. Afterwards the aircraft was completed as the D-2A, which was the XF-11 (later XR-11 after the 1948 system change). I must admit that the allocation of the designations D-2, D-2A and D-5 by Hughes has never been crystal clear to me.

Thanks, Tophe!