Category Archives: Fighterbomber

Fighterbomber

Hawker “Typhoon” Mk. IB, 143th SQN (Airfix)

TYPE: Interceptor, fighter bomber

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot only

POWER PLANT: One Napier “Sabre” IIC liquid-cooled engine, rated at 2,180 hp

PERFORMANCE: 412 mph at 19,000 ft

COMMENT: The Hawker “Typhoon” (“Tiffy” in RAF slang), was a British single-seat fighter bomber, produced by Hawker Aircraft. It was intended to be a medium–high altitude interceptor, as a replacement for the Hawker “Hurricane” but several design problems were encountered and it never completely satisfied this requirement.
The “Typhoon” was originally designed to mount twelve Browning Machine guns and be powered by the latest 2000 hp engines. Its service introduction in mid-1941 was plagued with problems and for several months the aircraft faced a doubtful future. When the Luftwaffe brought the formidable Focke-Wulf Fw 190 into service in 1941, the “Typhoon” was the only RAF fighter capable of catching it at low altitudes; as a result it secured a new role as a low-altitude interceptor.
By contemporary standards, the new design’s wing was very “thick”, similar to the “Hurricane” before it. Although the “Typhoon” was expected to achieve over 400 mph in level flight at 20,000 ft, the thick wings created a large drag rise and prevented higher speeds than the 410 mph at 20,000 feet achieved in tests. The climb rate and performance above that level was also considered disappointing. When the “Typhoon” was dived at speeds of over 500 mph, the drag rise caused buffeting and trim changes. These compressibility problems led to Hawker designing the “Typhoon II”, later known as the “Tempest”, which used much thinner wings with a laminar flow airfoil.
By 1943, the RAF needed a ground-attack fighter more than a “pure” fighter and the “Typhoon” was suited to the role and less-suited to the pure fighter role than competing aircraft such as the Supermarine “Spitfire” Mk IX. The powerful engine allowed the aircraft to carry a load of up to two 454 kg bombs, equal to the light bombers of only a few years earlier. The bomb-equipped aircraft were nicknamed “Bombphoons” and entered service with No. 181 Squadron, formed in September 1942
Starting in January 1943, a “Typhoon” was used to test a new, clear, one piece sliding “bubble” canopy and its associated new windscreen structure which had slimmer frames which, together with the “cut-down” rear dorsal fairing, provided a far superior all-around field of view to the car-door type. From November 1943 all production aircraft were to be so fitted. However, the complex modifications required to the fuselage and a long lead time for new components to reach the production line meant that it took some time before the new canopy became standard. Production of the “Typhoon”, which was entirely the responsibility of Gloster Aircraft, totaled 3,330 machines (Ref.: 24)

De Havilland DH.100 ‚Vampire‘ Mk.I (Heller)

TYPE: Interceptor fighter, fighter bomber

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot only

POWER PLANT: One de Havilland ‘Goblin’ 3 centrifugal turbojet engine, rated at 1,500 kp

PERFORMANCE: 548 mph

COMMENT: The de Havilland ‘Vampire’ was a British turbojet fighter developed and manufactured during the WW II to harness the newly developed turbojet engine. The ‘Vampire’ entered service with the RAF in 1945 and was the second jet fighter, after the Gloster ‘Meteor’, operated by the RAF, and its first to be powered by a single jet engine. After Air Ministry specification E.6/41 was raised to provide official support for two prototypes of the jet fighter, design work on the DH.100 began at the de Havilland works in mid-1942, two years after the ‘Meteor’. Originally named the ‘Spider Crab’, the aircraft was entirely a de Havilland project, exploiting the company’s extensive experience in building with moulded plywood for aircraft construction. Many of the basic design features were first used in their famous ‘Mosquito’ fast bomber. It had conventional straight mid-wings and a single jet engine placed in an egg-shaped, aluminum-skinned fuselage, exhausting in a straight line. Armament was four 20mm Hispano Mk V cannon under the nose, with air brakes in the wings to slow the aircraft so as to be able to get into a firing position behind slower aircraft – a feature also incorporated in the ‘Meteor`. The Vampire was considered to be a largely experimental design due to its unorthodox arrangement and the use of a single engine, unlike the Gloster ‘Meteor’ which was already specified for production. The low power output of early jet engines meant that only twin-engine aircraft designs were considered practical; but as more powerful engines were developed, particularly Halford’s H.1 (later known as the ‘Goblin’), a single-engined jet fighter became possible. De Havilland were approached to produce an airframe for the H.1, and their first design, the DH.99, was an all-metal, twin-boom, tricycle undercarriage aircraft armed with four cannon. The use of a twin boom kept the jet pipe short, avoiding the power loss of a long pipe that would have been needed in a conventional fuselage. The DH.99 was modified to a mixed wood-and-metal construction in light of Ministry of Aircraft Production recommendations, and the design was renumbered to DH.100 by November 1941. The first prototype made its maiden flight on September 1943, only six months after the ‘Meteor’s’ maiden flight. The first Vampire flight had been delayed due to the need to send the only available engine fit for flight to America to replace one destroyed in ground engine runs in Lockheed’s prototype XP-80. The production Vampire Mk I did not fly until April 1945, with most being built by English Electric Aircraft factories due to the pressures on de Havilland’s production facilities, which were busy with other types. Although eagerly taken into service by the RAF, it was still being developed at war’s end, and never saw combat in the Second World War (Ref.: 24).

De Havilland D.H.103 ‘Hornet’ F.1 (Frog)

TYPE: Long-range fighter and fighter-bomber

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot only

POWER PLANT: Two Rolls-Royce ‘Merlin’ 130/131 liquid-cooled engines, rated at 2,030 hp each

PERFORMANCE: 472 mph at 22,000 ft

COMMENT: The de Havilland D.H.103 ‘Hornet’ was perhaps the most graceful twin-engined monoplane to be produced by any combatants during WW II. The experience gained by the company with the de Havilland ‘Mosquito’, coupled with a need for a long-range, single-seat fighter for the use in what appeared likely to be a prolonged island-hopping in the South Pacific against the Japanese, led to the design of an unusual clean ’Merlin’-powered aircraft. The first prototype D.H.103, officially to be named ‘Hornet’, was flown on July 1944. Production of sixty ‘Hornet’ F.1s was commenced late in 1944, and the first aircraft off the line flew on February 1945. The prototypes of the ‘Hornet’ had achieved the phenomenal speed of 485 mph and with full operational equipment the production ‘Hornet’ F.1 was only a shade slower at 472 mph. The ‘Hornet’ was too late to see operational service during WW II, however, the first squadron, No 64, re-equipped early in 1946. A conversion of the ‘Hornet’ F.1 initiated before the end of war was the navalisation of two machines for use on carriers. Equipped with folding wings, these aircraft were named ‘Sea Hornet’ (Ref.: 12)

Supermarine ‘Spitfire’ F Mk. XIV, 610 SQN (Fujimi)

TYPE: Interceptor fighter, fighter bomber

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot only

POWER PLANT: One Rolls-Royce ‘Griffon III’ liquid-cooled engine, rated at 1,735 hp

PERFORMANCE: 448 mph at 18,000 ft

COMMENT: In order to boost the performance of the Spitfire Mk. IV it was intended to replace the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine by a single stage Rolls-Royce Griffon IIb liquid-cooled engine, driving a four-blade airscrew. In order to avoid confusion the Griffon engine prototype was redesigned as Spitfire Mk. XX. So in consequence all Griffon-powered Spitfires would be designated in the Mk. XX series, but this plan was not adhered to when the interim Griffon-powered Mk. XII, XIV, XVII and XIX were produced. The Spitfire Mk. IV alias Mk. XX was made the subject of production contracts during the period that the prototype was under development, and 750 were ordered in autumn 1941. But in fact, none was produced in this form. In spring 1942 the need arose suddenly for a high-performance low-altitude fighter to combat the low-flying Focke-Wulf Fw 190. The availability of the improved version of the two-stage Griffon engine led to an interim variant of the Spitfire, designated Mk. XIV. As initially produced, this aircraft had what was, apart from some strengthening of the fuselage, a standard Mk. VIII airframe married to a Griffon 65 engine which drove a five-blade Rotol airscrew. The vertical surfaces were enlarged and the “C” wing was used. In total 975 Spitfire Mk. XIV were produced, 527 fighter and 430 fighter-reconnaissance aircraft. The Spitfire Mk. XIV gained the distinction of destroying the first Messerschmitt Me 262 in fighter-versus-fighter combat, this event taking place on October 5, 1944 (Ref.: 12).

Westland Whirlwind Mk.I (Airfix)

TYPE: Escort fighter, fighter-bomber

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot only

POWER PLANT: Two Rolls-Royce Peregrine liquid-cooled engines, rated at 885 hp each

PERFORMANCE: 360 mph at 15,000 ft

COMMENT: The Westland Whirlwind was a British twin-engine heavy fighter developed by Westland Aircraft.. A contemporary of the Supermarine Spitfire and Hawker Hurricane, it was the Royal Air Force’s first single-seat, twin-engine, cannon-armed fighter. When it first flew in 1938, the Whirlwind was one of the fastest and most heavily-armed combat aircraft in the world. Protracted development problems with its Rolls-Royce Peregrine engines delayed the project and only a relatively small number of Whirlwinds, in total 116 aircraft, were built. During the Second World War, only three RAF squadrons were equipped with the Whirlwind, and despite its successful use as a fighter and ground-attack aircraft it was withdrawn from service in 1943. At least 67 Mk.I fighters were converted into Mk.II aircraft, nicknamed “Whirlibombers”. Lessons learned from the Whirlwind influenced the development of the high altitude fighter Westland Welkin (Ref.: 23).

Hawker P.1030 Super Tempest (Unicraft, Resin)

TYPE: Fighter, fighter bomber. Project

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot only

POWER PLANT: One Rolls-Royce R. 46 supercharged, liquid-cooled engine, rated at 2.500 to 4.000 hp

PERFORMANCE: 508 mph at 25.000 ft

COMMENT: In 1944, in response to F.13/44 specification of the Air Ministry Sydney Camm, chief designer of the Hawker Aircraft Company, started a design, the P.1027, for a slightly enlarged “Tempest” fighter powered by a Rolls-Royce R. 46 engine, which was projected to develop around 2.500 to 4.000 hp. The engine would have driven eight-blade contra-rotating propellers. The radiator was to be moved into a ventral bath under the rear fuselage and wing center section. This design was soon rejected in favour of the P.1030, which featured wing leading edge radiators and larger overall dimensions. Top speed was expected to be app. 508 mph with a rate of climb of 6.400 ft/min and a service ceiling of about 42.000 ft. Both projects were dropped in favour of more promising turbojet engine designs Camm and his team was working on (Hawker P.1048) (Ref.: Unicraft)

Hawker Tempest V (Matchbox)

TYPE: Low- and medium-altitude fighter, fighter bomber

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot only

POWER PLANT: One Napier Sabre IIB liquid-cooled engine, rated at 2,200 hp

PERFORMANCE: 435 mph at 17,000 ft

COMMENT: The Tempest V preceded the Tempest II into production and squadron service, and was, in fact, the only variant of the Tempest series of fighters to be employed operationally during WW II. The Tempest V employed the well-tried Napier Sabre II engine of the Typhoon yet, despite its close family resemblance to the earlier fighter and the use of the same engine, it possessed a markedly superior performance, being an object lesson in aerodynamic refinement. The first production tempest V flew on June 1943 and the type entered service in April 1944. Within a couple of months the Tempest V was the fastest low-medium altitude fighter available to the RAF and had become the mainstay of Britain’s fighter defence against the German Fieseler Fi 103 Flying bomb (V 1). In total 801 Tempest V had been built. A further development of this famous fighter was the Tempest VI (Ref.: 12)

 

 

Hawker Tempest II (Matchbox)

TYPE: Interceptor, fighter bomber

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot only

POWER PLANT: One Bristol Centaurus V radial engine, rated at 2,520 hp

PERFORMANCE: 440 mph at 15,900 ft

COMMENT: The Tempest II was developed in parallel with the Tempest I and Tempest V, and owed much to experience gained with the Centaurus-powered Tornado prototype. The first Tempest II prototype flew initially on June 1943, being followed on September 1943 by the second prototype, but production priority was given to the Tempest V, and deliveries of the Tempest II did not commence until October 1944. The Tempest II was the most powerful fighter powered by a single piston engine to see service with the R.A.F. and was intended primarily for operations against the Japanese in Far East where its excellent range would undoubtedly have proved most useful. It was proposed that a wing of fifty Tempest IIs be sent to the Pacific in May 1945, but in the event, hostilities terminated before the fighter had been issued to the squadrons. A total of 462 Tempest II had been built (Ref.: 12).

Hawker Tempest Mk. VI with two 40 mm cannon (Matchbox)

TYPE: Low- and medium-altitude interceptor fighter, fighter-bomber

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot only

POWER PLANT: One Napier Sabre VA liquid-cooled engine, rated 2,340 hp

PERFORMANCE: 435 mph at 17,000 ft

COMMENT: The Tempest VI was derived from the Tempest Mk. V and was powered by a Napier Sabre VA engine. The prototype flew for the first time on May 1944. It showed an excellent performance and exceeded those of the Tempest V. Consequently, orders were placed, but the Tempest VI was too late to see operational service. It was the last piston-engine fighter of the RAF entering series production before the end of WW II and 142 Tempest VI were delivered. (Ref.: 13)

Hawker “Fury (Centaurus)” (Frog)

TYPE: Interceptor fighter, fighter bomber

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot only

POWER PLANT: One Bristol Centaurus XV radial engine, rated at 2,400 hp

PERFORMANCE: 455 mph at 24,000 ft

COMMENT: The fortuitous presentation of a Focke-Wulf Fw 190A-3 to the RAF in 1942 had profound influence on fighter-design thinking in the U.K. The authorities were surprised by the maneuverability, speed, and handling characteristics of this light-weight fighter. Thus, specification F.6/42 was released and Hawker Aviation offered a design called “Tempest Light Fighter (Centaurus)”. Earlier in 1941 the Hawker design team already had several projects as follower of the Hawker “Tempest”, a Sabre IV-powered P.1018, the Griffon 61-powered P 1019, and the Centaurus IV-powered P.1020. But all these remained in a project status. Early 1943 it was decided to combine the new specification F.2/43 for a land-based fighter and N.7/43 for a naval interceptor. Thus the responsibility for the development and construction of the land-based fighter (“Fury”) was taken by Hawker and Boulton-Paul accepting the task of adapting the aircraft for shipboard operations (“Sea Fury”). By December 1943 six prototypes had been ordered, two of these being powered by the Griffon, two by the Centaurus XXII, one by the Centaurus XII, the remaining prototype being a test structure. In April 1944 orders were placed for 200 F2/43 fighters for the R.A.F. and 200 fighters for the Royal Navy. The first flight of the Centaurus-powered prototype flew on September 1944, the second on November that year with the Griffon 85 engine, driving three-blade contra-rotating propellers. However, the third Fury prototype flew on July 1945 with the Centaurus XV engine. With the termination of the hostilities, the R.A.F. by now committed to a jet programme, cancelled all production contracts except a small number of “Sea Fury’s” for other foreign Allied Air Forces. (Ref.: 12).