The first research assignment specifically created for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics’ (NACA) new Aircraft Engine Research Laboratory was the integration of a supercharger into the Allison V–1710 engine. The military was relying on the liquid-cooled V–1710 to power several types of World War II fighter aircraft and wanted to improve the engine's speed and altitude performance. Superchargers forced additional airflow into the combustion chamber, which increased the engine’s performance resulting in greater altitudes and speeds. They also generated excess heat that affected the engine cylinders, oil, and fuel.
In 1943 the military tasked the new Aircraft Engine Research Laboratory to integrate the supercharger, improve the cooling system, and remedy associated engine knock. Three Allison engines were provided to the laboratory’s research divisions. One group was tasked with improving the supercharger performance, another analyzed the effect of the increased heat on knock in the fuel, one was responsible for improving the cooling system, and another would install the new components on the engine with minimal drag penalties.
The modified engines were installed on this 2000-horsepower dynamotor stand in a test cell within the Engine Research Building. The researchers could run the engine at different temperatures, fuel-air ratios, and speeds. When the modifications were complete, the improved V–1710 was flight tested on a P–63A Kingcobra loaned to the NACA for this project.