Manufacturer: MARTIN

Model: unknown

Name: Meerkat


Date: 1950

Status: Experimental

Country: United States

Service: U.S. Air Force

Designation: XA-47


After the Model 234 was cancelled as the XA-45 attack and redesigned to fit the bomber mission as the XB-51, Martin Aircraft submitted a smaller, more agile and versatile aircraft they called the Meerkat. The two jet engines were positioned close to the bottom fuselage, under the wings, in a manner that was reminiscent of Bell's XP-83.

Two prototypes were ordered as 47-421 and -422. The first one was test-flown for the first time on September 20, 1948, but by that time, it had become clear that the A- for attack mission was becoming obsolete with the Air Force. The second prototype was scrapped before completion, and the Meerkat remained but a footnote in history.


On the right is the Martin XB-51 photograph I started from. Virtually everything has been changed: shortened fuselage, shortened nose, narrower fin, reduced fuselage diameter (to make it rounder), pointed tail, larger cockpit (to signify smaller size of the whole aircraft), markings of course... The serials given above are described in records as pertaining to a "cancelled contract".

Being pretty close in configuration and size to a Bell XP-83, I'd say the Meerkat seems pretty viable a design. It would most probably have suffered the same trouble as the Bell XP-83 too: the jets being too close and vibrating heavily into the fuselage.

Viewers' comments:
  • I found A-47 better than B-51 (Slerski)
  • I really like the XA-47 Meerkat design -- it looks really nice. (KJ_Lesnick)
  • Just so good!! (Lauhof)
  • As for calling your XA-47 a 'Meerkat', you have all of the UK readers thinking the crew would talk with a Russian accent! (PR19_Kit)
  • There's is something very 'eye-catching' about it which I can't quite put my finger on, sort of Voodoo-ish. Very nice though. (kitnut617)

My comments: