Fairchild J83

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Type Turbojet
National origin United States
Manufacturer Fairchild Engine Division
First run 1950s
Major applications XSM-73 Goose
Developed from Fairchild J44

The Fairchild J83 turbojet was developed starting in 1955 to power cruise missiles used as un-armed decoys for bomber aircraft. The engine's development was terminated in November 1958.

Design and development[edit]

In March 1953, the United States Air Force released General Operational Requirement (GOR) 16, which called air- and ground-launched decoy missiles to increase the effectiveness of Strategic Air Command bombers by confusing and saturating an air defense system. In December 1955, Fairchild was awarded a contract to develop the ground-launched decoy Weapon System 123A which included the XSM-73 Goose. McDonnell Aircraft was chosen in February 1956 to build the ADM-20 Quail air-launched decoy.

Two engine contracts were awarded in November 1954 to minimize development risk for both decoys. Each engine was in the 2,450 lbf (10.9 kN) thrust class with a thrust to weight ratio goal of 10:1. General Electric was awarded a contract for the development of the J85 and Fairchild was awarded a contract for a competing engine, the J83. Fairchild proposed a lightweight engine of conventional design. GE used a more advanced design which yielded a higher thrust to weight ratio.

A J83 was operating by early 1957. A B-57 Canberra was modified and used as a flying engine testbed for the J83. The J83 powered the XSM-73 Goose on 15 test flights.

Fairchild competed with two other engine manufacturers to provide the powerplant for the Canadair Tutor. A license-built J85 was chosen. The Northrop XQ-4A, was developed to use the J83 engine, but when the engine could not be developed in time the XQ-4A was canceled.

In November 1958, the J83 was canceled one month before the XSM-73. The USAF determined that the J85 had a higher probability of meeting the desired performance goals. The J85 could also be used to power the ADM-20 Quail decoy, the XSM-73 missile, and the T-38 Talon trainer. The J83 could only be used to power the XSM-73.

After the J83 was canceled, Fairchild had no other applications for the engine. As a result, operations at the Fairchild Engine Division plant at Deer Park in Long Island ended in the summer of 1959.



General characteristics

  • Type: turbojet
  • Length:
  • Diameter:
  • Dry weight: 363 lb (165 kg)


  • Compressor: seven stage transonic axial flow compressor
  • Combustors: annular combuster
  • Turbine: two-stage turbine
  • Fuel type: JP-4


See also[edit]

Related development

Comparable engines

Related lists


  • The History of North American Small Gas Turbine Aircraft Engines, William Fleming and Richard Leyes, AIAA, 1999