Originally Posted by The Kiwi
In the early 1950s, the companies producing jet engines made estimates of what the next development should able to do, and the pressure to keep up with the Red Menace was such that many designs were prepared based on those promises, so that when the latest engine was either a failure, or ended up producing far less power than predicted, the designs should have been cancelled.
But the Defense Dept was in such a rush, that tons of money would already have been spent, airframes would have been built, and rather than accept the losses, scrap the airframes, and go slower the next time, a last minute alteration in specs would be issued, to accept a lesser performance, or modify the airframes for a different engine.
The result wasn't always a disaster. The F-86D was always underpowered, but soldiered on remarkably well, as long as the pilots made appropriate allowances.
I suspect that the Cutlass design hit such a snag and was simply unable to fly adequately well with the limited power offered by the substitute.
Exactly. At the time, airframe development was outpacing engine. Other examples are the Douglas A2D Skyshark and the Convair Tradewind flying boat as well as the F3H Demon.
The problem with the Cutlass was mostly the engines; by the time better would be online, the supersonic F8U Crusader was already on the horizon and it was thus already obsolescent.