Hawker Typhoon


Typhoon Mk Ib (25 kb)
A Typhoon Mk Ib from No 175 Squadron at Westhampnett, in Autumn 1943.
In 1937, as the Hurricane was entering service with the Royal Air Force, its designer Sydney Camm was already busy with a new project: a next-generation fighter that would be powered by a 2,000 hp engine, and armed by twelve .303 cal machine guns.

Two liquid-cooled engines able to output such power were available in pre-production versions: the X-shaped Rolls-Royce Vulture and the H-shaped Napier Sabre. The Vulture-powered prototype was called the Tornado, and the Sabre-powered one was named the Typhoon. The RAF ordered 500 Tornadoes, 250 Typhoons, and 250 of the plane that would show to be the best of the two !
However, as the Vulture was heavy and very unreliable, the Tornado project was cancelled after a single plane was built.

The Typhoon was also troublesome: the Sabre engine was barely more reliable than the Vulture, and a structural weakness in the tail of the Typhoon led to several accidents. The climb rate and performance at high altitude was also inferior to what was expected. Some British officials even requested the whole Typhoon project to be cancelled.

However the Typhoon development went on, but was delayed as Hawker was ordered in 1940 to concentrate on the Hurricane production instead of working on any yet unproved design. Despite these early setbacks, and engine reliability problems which never were completely solved, the Typhoon proved invaluable for the RAF in several situations:

Typhoon Mk Ib (28 kb)
A Typhoon Mk Ib from No 1 Squadron at Lympne, in July 1943.

Development

Hawker Typhoon Mk IB
Engine Napier Sabre II, liquid-cooled 24 cylinder in H 2,180 hp
Weight empty: 3,992 kg (8,800 lb) - with full load: 6,010 kg (13,250 lb)
Armament Four wing-mounted Hispano 20 mm cannons
Performance Max speed: 664 km/h (412 mph) Ceiling: 10,500 m (35,200 ft)

Early canopy (7 kb) Standard canopy (8 kb) Late canopy (8 kb)
The first 163 Typhoons had an opaque rear canopy, but most were retro-fitted with the production-standard framed transparent canopy. The bubble canopy was only delivered from Winter 1943, and became a standard feature on the Tempest.

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(Pictures and info from "Hawker Typhoon" by Mister Kit and C.H. Thomas [Atlas])