British Secret Projects - Fighters & Bombers 1935-1950


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Story Transcript






MIDLAND An imprint of Ian Allan Publishing

To the designers, engineers and pilots who created these fascinating aeroplanes and projects

Contents 6

Introduction and Acknowledgements RAF FIGHTERS

British Secret Projects Fighters & Bombers 1935-1950 © Anthony Leonard Buttler, 2004 ISBN I 85780 1792


Chapter One

Single-Engined Fixed-Gun fighters

Chapter Two

Twin-Engined fixed-Gun fighters


Turret fighters


Chapter Three


First published in 2004 by Midland Publishing 4 Watling Drive, Hinckley, LEI 0 3EY, England Tel: 01455 254 490 Fax: 01455254495

Chapter Four

Light Bombers and Ground Attack


Chapter Five

Medium Bombers


Heavy Bombers Part I


Heavy Bombers Part II


Chapter Six Chapter Seven

Midland Publishing is an imprint of Ian Allan Publishing Ltd.


Worldwide distribution (except North America): Midland Counties Publications 4 Watling Drive, Hinckley, LEIO 3EY, England Tel: 01455 233 747 Fax: 01455 233 737 E-mail: [email protected]

Chapter Eight

Maritime Patrol


Chapter Nine

RAF and fleet Air Arm Torpedo Bombers


Naval fighters


Chapter Ten


North America trade distribution by: Specialty Press Publishers & Wholesalers Inc. 39966 Grand Avenue North Branch, MN 55056, USA Tel: 651277 1400 Fax: 6512771203 Toll free telephone: 800 895 4585 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or photo-copied, recorded or otherwise, without the written permission of the copyright owners.

Chapter Eleven

Jet fighters


Chapter Twelve

Jet Bombers


British Secret Fighter & Bomber Colour Chronology




Appendix One

British Military Aircraft Project Summary


Appendix Two

British 'Wartime' fighter and Bomber Project Specifications


British 'Wartime' fighter and Bomber Contracts


Bibliography and Source Notes




Appendix Three

Design concept and editorial layout © Midland Publishing and Stephen Thompson Associates. Printed by Ian Allan Printing Limited Riverdene Business Park, Molesey Road Hersham, Surrey, KTI2 4RG, England.

Photograph on half-title page: Westland Welkin DX318 banks towards the camera. Fred BaHam, Westland Photograph on title page: Hawker Typhoon R7700. BAE Systems

IIritish Secret Projects: Fighters & Bombers


Chapter One

Single-Engined Fixed-Gun Fighters

Introduction and Acknowledgements This volume completes a trilogy of British that covers the design and development of British fighters and bombers from approximately the end of the biplane era to the start of the new millennium. The sub-titl dates, 1935 to 1950, embrace the rearmament period right through to the last first flights of types developed during the war. In other words the book begins with project prepared in the knowledge that war was probably coming and ends with some aircraft which were essentially wartime designs, such as the Venom and Sea Hawk, but which did not get airborne until after the conflict had ended. In fact the Venom did not ny until 1949 but, as a development of the Vampire, it is fully representative of wartime aerodynamics, structure and technology. Perhaps the Hawker Sea Hawk, with its bifurcated intake and jetpipes develop d specifically to solve the problem of jet propulsion, represents the last word in World War Two technology and thus connects this volume to the post-1950 books. Finding a demarcation line has been difficult and some readers may disagree with the decision to omit, or discuss only brieny, some 1933/34 period designs. However, an official post-war report noted that 'even the pre-1936 heavy and medium bombers (such as the Whitley and Hampden) could only partially be adapted to 1938 standards'. The Whitley was depicted as being 'still too slow and lumbering', and so I feel that a more thorough coverage of such aeroplanes really belongs to a review of 1920s and early 1930 developments. Once war had broken out some of the pre-war ideas, such as the turret fighter, were found to be nawed, but they still form an important part of the story. Certain post-war nying boat projects propos d in the late 1940s for service in the 1950s are also mentioned brieny. Had any of these types been put into service they should have carried 1950s weaponry but when they were designed the con ept of the large militalY nying boat had become out of date, so they were omitted from the post-war fighter and bomber volumes and held back until now. I have tried to ensur that each chapter describes a specifi category of aeroplane but Secret Projects titl

at times there has been some overlap, for example similar RAF and R requirements, single and twin-engined fighters in competition, light/medium bombers, so when this happens the projects concerned are described in th most convenient place. Once again extensive use has been made of previously unpublished primary source material held by museums and record offices and in company and private collections. Much of this has actually been declassified for twenty or thirty years but rarely accessed by researchers, often because it was previously inacce sible. To keep in line with the arlier volumes, particular emphasis was yet again placed on the design competitions between projects from different companies; however the war did witness a good number of types put into the air with little or no competition and jet aircraft are perhaps the best example of this. Sadly, unlike the overall situation for postwar British projects, many designs from World War Two and before have now been lost forever. In some cases archive stored 'for safe keeping' during the war were ruined while in store but, quite understandably, it also appears that some companies soon destroyed some of their piston aircraft archives because they had been made obsolete by the advent of the jet. Nevertheless many designs have survived and a high percentage of those reproduced here have never been published before; as a con quence they form the most complete record yet written. Project data throughout is the manufacturer's estimates; if submitted to the Ministry, the figures would normally be re-assessed by specialists and often changed (w ights in particular would regularly increase) but using company data as much as possible provides a common factor to present the figures. The interest which was generated by both of my previous books on British Secret Projects has been very pleasing and rewarding and has been very much appreciated. Completing this volume has been another fascinating and enjoyable experience and I hope those of you who sample it gain as much pleasure as I have in learning about these wonderful designs.


Acknowledgements Once again I am greatly indebted to an enormous number of people who have helped me to put this work together. As before the lists of unbuilt projects in the Putnam series of books on British Aircraft Manufacturers, and selected other titles listed in the bibliography, gave the framework from which to begin my own research. After that I must thank the following for allowing me to raid their archives for information, drawings and photographs and for permission to publish material. I hope I've not forgotten anyone. Peter Amos; Fred Ballam (Westland Yeovil); Alec Brew (Boulton Paul Association); David Charlton; Duncan Greenman (Bri tol AirChive); George Cox; Ted Currier; Peter Elliot, Gordon Leith & Simon Moody of the RAF Museum; Ken Ellis (FlyPast); Steve Gillard & the staff of the BAe Brough Heritage Centre; Harry Fraser-Mitchell (Handley Page Association); Peter Green; Barry Guess and Mike Fielding of BAe Farnborough; Bill Harrison; Derek James; George Jenks (Avro Heritage); Roff Jones, Tim Kershaw & John Lewer of the Jet Age Museum; Brian Kervell; Roger Lindsay; Paul McMaster ( lster Aviation Society); Jim Oughton; Barry Pegram; Public Record Office; Brian Riddle (Royal Aeronautical Society); Ray Sturtivant (AirBritain); Chris Farara and Albert Kitchenside of the Brooklands Museum; Steve Thompson; Barry Wheeler (Air Pictorial) and Ray Williams. In addition I am particularly grateful to Joe Cherrie and John Hall for offering to make models that filled gaps in my illustrations and to Phil Butler for the contracts list and for various photographs and other material. Special thanks also to Eric Morgan and Les Whitehouse for making available their archives and to Clive Richards of MoD Air Historical Branch for alerting me to details and sources which I had mis ed. I must also thank the team at Midland for their upport and for completing another cracking production, and Keith Woodcock for his splendid front cover; once again it has been a pleasure to work with such quality folk. Tony Buttler MA. AMRaeS, AMIM Bretforton, December 2003

British Secret Projects: Fighters & Bombers

II wker Tempest I HM599. BAe Dunsfold

111' most famous British fighter of World War has to be the Supermarine Spitfire; in "d, ahead of the Hurricane wartime fighter, t lrrier jump jet and Concorde supersonic mliner, this is probably the most famous British aircraft of all time. The Spitfire's conIilluration, a single-seat high-performance mnaft with fixed machine guns or cannon all I1rill~ forward, is al 0 the classic arrangement lor
/ll/tish Secret Projects: Fighters & Bombers

the British aircraft industry has to begin somewhere and where be...

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