POWER PLANT: One Rolls-Royce Griffon 83 liquid-cooled engine, rates at 2,340 hp, driving three-bladed contra-rotating propeller
PERFORMANCE: 460 mph at 20,000 ft (estimated)
COMMENT: There are some speculations concerning the existence of a further development of the British Martin-Baker MB 5. This latter was the ultimate development of a series of prototype fighter aircraft built during the WW II. But neither the MB 5 nor its predecessor Martin-Baker MB 3 ever entered production, despite what test pilots described as excellent performance.
The Martin-Baker MB 6 was designed as a two-seat variant of the MB 5 to be used as night fighter or as a trainer version for the MB 5. All dimensions as well as engine, two three-bladed contra-rotating propellers were similar to the original prototype. A second seat for the instructor was positioned behind the student’s seat and an elongated canopy covered the cockpit.
However, it is uncertain whether the Martin-Baker MB 6 really was designed nor whether the aircraft was named Sky- or Night Ferret.
Although the Martin-Baker MB 5 was considered as a superlative piston-engined fighter, better in many ways than the British Supermarine Spitfire or the US North-American Mustang, no orders for serial production were placed. Possibly, Martin-Baker may have lacked both facilities and sufficient government support to engage in large production numbers. The company’s slow progress with the machine could have been due to a lack of facilities. Instead, the RAF directed their attention towards the incoming turbojet-powered fighters and in fact, some postwar informations hypothesise the existence of a Martin-Baker MB 6 project of a tailless, deltawing configurated and turbojet-powerded aircraft. No further details are known (Ref.: 24).
POWER PLANT: One Rolls-Royce Griffon liquid cooled engine, rated at 1,600 hp
PERFORMANCE: 470 mph at 15.000 ft
COMMENT: In 1941 a proposal was submitted to the Ministry of Aircraft Production for a high-speed single-seat fighter powered initially by a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine, and later – when in full production – by a more powerful Rolls-Royce Griffon engine. The aircraft was of wooden construction with the exception of the wing spars, which were of metal. Rather unusual it was fitted with a reverse tricycle undercarriage, the rear unit of which was provided with two positions, giving either a horizontal or a tail down attitude to the fuselage. The main undercarriage was folded inwards into the wings, giving a wide track. In order to reduce the frontal area, the windscreen and canopy were very low. To enable the pilot to have an adequate view for take-off and landing, he could raise his seat, the top of the canopy hinging up to form a windscreen. The wings were of elliptical planform, the root thickness rather high. The wing area was substantially less than on other existing fighter, resulting in a higher wing loading. The M.23 was not ordered, possibly because it was of wooden construction and possibly because the Ministry did not believe that, even with a Rolls-Royce Griffon engine, a speed of 470 mph would be attainable with a 20 percent thick wing (Ref.: Unicraft).
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)
POWER PLANT: One Rolls-Royce Griffon inline engine, rated at 1,730 hp, and one Whittle W.1A turbojet engine, rated at 390 kp
PERORMANCE: No data available
COMMENT: In 1939 the British Air Ministry issued Specification F.18/37 for a heavily armed interceptor. Beside the Bristol Aircraft Company, Gloster Aircraft proposed a design that, a novelty at that time, was to be powered by a Rolls-Royce Griffon piston engine and additionally by the brand new Whittle W.1A turbo engine. At least Hawker Aircraft Company submitted the best design that later became the Hawker Tornado. So in 1940 development of the Gloster Boosted Fighter was cancelled.
POWER PLANT: Two Rolls-Royce Merlin III engines, rated at 1,030 hp each
PERFORMANCE: No data available
COMMENT: Prior to WWII, the major world powers knew they needed long-range fighters to escort their bombers deep into enemy territory. To this end, the British aircraft company Martin Baker submitted an innovative design for a tailless, twin-engine fighter armed with 12 heavy machine guns. Its rudder gone to help reduce drag, the plane would use the trailing ends of its engine nacelles for lateral control supplemented with ducted engine exhaust gases as well as propeller induced air stream. Although seriously evaluated by the RAF, the Martin Baker 12 Gun Fighter never made it past the design stage.
POWER PLANT: One Rolls Royce “Griffon II”, rated at 1,760 h.p., driving contra-rotating three-bladed propellers
PERFORMANCE: 335 m.p.h. at 17,000 ft
COMMENT: In 1942 the Air Ministry’s Specification F. 6/42 called for a highly maneuverable, single seat, low attack aircraft and the P.100 was one of several designs submitted by Boulton Paul. The P.100 was one of the most advanced and unorthodox projects the aircraft industry responded with at that time. It had a canard – pusher layout to give the pilot the best possible view. The project was never realized. Instead, for ground fighting roles the Hawker “Hurricane” and “Typhoon” as well as the Supermarine “Spitfire” were used.
POWER PLANT: One Rolls-Royce “Griffon II” engine, rated at 2,220 hp
PERFORMANCE: 315 m.p.h. at 17,000 ft
COMMENT: The Boulton Paul P.99 was one of several high-performance fighter projects of the Royal Air Force during WW II. The P. 99 was a twin-boom design, the Griffon engine was mounted in the rear driving two contra-rotating pusher propellers. This arrangement allowed the pilot an excellent visibility.
POWER PLANT: Two Rolls-Royce Merlin liquid-cooled engines, rated at 1,240 hp each
PERFORMANCE: 450 mph at 15.000 ft
COMMENT: The Supermarine Type 324 and Type 325 were British two-engined fighter designs proposed as the replacement for the Supermarine Spitfire and Hawker Hurrican. Neither of them nor a revised design – the Type 327 – to carry cannon was accepted for development and production.
As an aircraft to succeed the Hurricane and Spitfire then entering service, Air Ministry specification F.18/37 required a 400+ mph (at 15,000 ft) fighter with twelve .303 inch machine gun armament.
Hawker Aircraft submitted a single seat, single engine design with two possible engines, the Hawker Typhoon powered by the Rolls-Royce Vulture and the Hawker Typhoon, with Napier Sabre engine.
Gloster submitted two similar twin-boom designs with 12 Browning machine guns in the nose and a pusher Napier Sabre engine as well as an adaptation of their proposal to F.9/37 with nose-mounted armament.
Bristol’s design was one airframe offered with three alternative engines.
In 1938 Supermarine submitted brochures describing the Type 324 (under the company specification No.458) along with the Type 325. Both were compact twin-engine designs – one tractor and one pusher – with either Rolls-Royce Merlin or Bristol Taurus engines.
Hawker’s designs – which Sydney Camm had been working on since April 1937 – were accepted and prototypes of each ordered.
The Type 324 was a low-wing, twin-engined monoplane featuring the elliptical wing shape of the Spitfire, with retractable tricycle undercarriage.
Twin engines were expected to give a maximum speed of 450 mph. In addition, the twin layout gave the usual advantages of torque cancellation, improved pilot view, tricycle landing gear, performance, improved take-off performance and allowed the use of the proven Rolls-Royce Merlin engine.
The structure of the aircraft was Alclad aluminium alloy. The wing was designed in sections, so that alternative engines (Bristol Taurus) or armament could be accommodated. Fowler flaps were fitted for take-off/landing. Spoiler flaps were fitted to improve performance.
A number of armament types were considered. The main was 12 Browning in two packs of six in each wing outer section; these could be removed complete with ammunition to allow rapid rearming and servicing of the weapons.
When the Air Ministry felt progress on the Westland Whirlwind cannon-armed fighter was too slow, they asked for the F.18/37 tenders to be revised with 20mm cannon armament. Supermarine dropped the pusher design and proposed a six-cannon fighter as the Type 327 Spito. The Ministry did not feel its advantages outweighed other considerations, and that the Whirlwind – or the adaption oft he Bristol Beaufort – would enter service before Supermarine’s design could (Ref.: 24).
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