Ginter Books - Naval Fighters: Ryan FR1 Fireball & SF2R1 Darkshark
It was no secret to the U.S. Navy that jet and rocket aircraft were being developed in Europe, and that once fully developed, would be of superior performance than piston engine aircraft. Because of these facts, the Navy initiated investigations into alternative solutions to counter these new jets. By late 1942, the Navy decided upon a composite-powered fighter. In December, ADM John S. McCain released the proposal to nine manufacturers, including Ryan. The Ryan proposal was accepted and a contract for three prototypes and one static test article was placed on February 11, 1943.