It was a futuristic-looking aircraft, which Lockheed publicised as ‘a missile with a man in it’.
Although its ‘high-tech’ features, such as an auto-loader for the main armament and its ultra-compact multi-fuel engine, were superficially impressive, they proved to be complex to maintain and highly unreliable.
One of the oddest inventions was the Supermarine Nighthawk, a massive twin-engine quadruplane night fighter designed to fly patrols of anything up to 18 hours at a time, with a fully-enclosed heated cockpit and even a small sleeping berth.
The brief was simple: create an explosive device which is easy to carry and innocent in appearance. No sticks of dynamite, no ticking time-bombs.