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Monday, October 19th 2009, 5:28pm

RAF Specifications 1938

This year's Specifications for new aircraft issued by the Air Ministry are;

F.10/38: Issued to Hawker to cover re-winged Tornado/ Typhoon powered by RR Griffon and Napier Sabre. First flight for mid 1939, 200 of each to be ordered as the Tempest.
Sidney Camm began thinking of ways to improve the Tornado/ Typhoon series under the project number P.1012. The initial thoughts were to fit a four-bladed propeller, six 20mm cannon in new wings with increased span and a new tail unit. The new wings are elliptical in planform and much thinner with 42ft span and a wing area of 300ft sq. The engine has been moved forwards to fit another fuel tank ahead of the cockpit and wing leading-edge radiators will be fitted. The Sabre powered Typhoon II offers 455mph at 26,000ft and a ceiling of 35,300ft. The Rolls-Royce Griffon will replace the troublesome Vulture on the Tornado II. The Air Ministry liked the proposals and F.10/38 has been written to cover development.

F.11/38: Issued the Vickers-Supermarine for development of the Spitfire Mk III with a Merlin V with a two speed supercharger and a revised armament of two 20mm Oerlikon cannon and four .303in Browning MGs. To enter service in 1939.

F.19/38: An interim fighter to carry the production infra-red airborne detection set as a night defence fighter. To be a conversion of existing twin-engined airframes with the detector located in the nose. Armament to be at least four 20mm cannon or eight .303in MGs.
Contenders are;
Bristol Beaufighter, a basic development of the Beaufort with IR equipment in nose, dorsal turret faired over for operators position, up-rated Hercules engines and six .303in MGs in wings (four starboard and two port wing)
Vickers Wellington with IR equipment in nose, no nose turret, tail turret faired over, dorsal turret new Boulton Paul four-gun type with .303in Browning MGs, ventral pack with four 20mm Orkileon, four crew.
The winner is ?

B.1/38: Issued to DH to cover DH.98 Mosquito bomber/ recon versions. First flight 1939, 50 on order.
B.1/38 was written in January 1938 in response to Volkert’s paper on the “Speed Bomber” and the subsequent enthusiasm for such a type within the Ministry and the RAF. In the light of probable Italian developments in their recent medium bomber contest in seems certain such a type of unarmed bomber is needed to penetrate modern fighter defences. De Havilland since last year has been developing such a “Speed Bomber” of all wooden monocoque construction for an extra smooth finish and light weight combined with great strength. Preliminary specifications for the DH.98 is; two RR Merlins, 1,500 mile range, two 500lb or six 250lb bombs, crew of two and a maximum speed of 405mph at 20,000ft. A variant will be equipped for fast high altitude day/night reconnaissance with camera equipment. Proposals the use the DH.98 as a heavy fighter are being studied.

B.4/38: Issued to Avro for Type 683 Lancaster as an interim bomber. First flight September 1940, 150 on order.

B.7/38: A Blenheim replacement with a maximum speed of at least 300mph, 1000lb bombload normally and a twin 0.50in dorsal turret. To be in service by 1940.
Contenders are; Blackburn B.28, Bristol 163 Buckingham, Handley Page unarmed bomber design and a Westland design.
Blackburn based their entry on an abortive twin-engined torpedo-bomber design. It is a twin-engined bomber with twin fins, powered by two RR Griffon inline engines for a maximum speed of 400mph at 18,000ft; armament comprises 1,000lbs of bombs in a bomb bay. A quad MG dorsal turret can be fitted but maximum speed would drop and Blackburn would prefer a new streamlined twin .50in turret to be developed or to omit all defensive guns. Wingspan is 54ft 9ins and length 39ft.
Bristol first looked at two proposals, the Type 161, a high-altitude medium bomber with a dorsal turret (four .303in MG) and two fixed rearward-facing MGs and the Type 162 based on Beaufort wings with a new twin tail, slim fuselage and Hercules radials. These studies became the 163. It is an all-new design designed to weight around 29,000lbs, powered by two new 2,520hp Bristol Centaurus II radials, it can carry 4,000lbs of bombs in a ventral bomb bay and is armed with a dorsal turret (four .303in MGs) and four fixed nose-mounted MGs and two more in a ventral blister. Provision for a torpedo may be added later. The 163 has a crew of four. Maximum speed should be 337mph at 14,400ft.
Handley Page based their design on Volkert’s High Speed Bomber proposal which he has refined with two RR Vultures for a maximum speed of 380mph. No defensive armament is fitted and only two crewmen are carried but bombload is up to 7,000lbs.
Westland offered a single-engined four-seat bomber powered by a Bristol Centaurus engine. It is a Delanne type with a tandem-wing, all bombs (1,000lb bombload) are carried internally and a four MG tail turret is fitted with excellent arcs of fire. Span of the main wing is 52ft, wing area is 360 sq feet and max weight should be 16,200lbs. Maximum speed is estimated at 290mph at 5,000ft.
The winner is ?

E.28/38: Issued to Gloster for the SS.42 variable-incidence wing research aircraft powered by the Napier Sabre and to be used for carrier trials and designed by Henry Folland. First flight planned for early 1940.
The Admiralty has called for research to examine the problem of growing aircraft weights and the problems caused during carrier take-offs and landings. This research programme will operate alongside the RAE’s with the Vickers Type 323 aircraft. The SS.42 will have variable-incidence ranges between -1 and +14 degrees and leading-edge slots and Fowler trailing-edge flaps will be fitted for maximum lift. When the plane lands the fuselage should be horizontal throughout due to the variable-incidence wing. Span will be 51ft 2ins, length 43ft, wing area 380ft sq, top speed 292mph and all-up weight 18,250lbs. This weight would give a minimum speed too great to land on a carrier with a normal wing. It is thought the SS.43 is a torpedo-bomber variant with normal wings and a dorsal turret, if development goes well an operational type with variable-incidence wings seems very likely.

C.20/38: Issued to Percival for 100 Proctors in a communications role.


Tuesday, October 20th 2009, 1:03pm

6 20mm in the wings? That will be a heavy, and draggy, installation, since the short-barrelled Hispano V doesn't exist yet (as far as anyone's seen). Sheesh, the Luftwaffe's going forward standard of 2 20mm and 2 11mm for single-engined fighters is already completely overmatched (luckily the Fw-190 has space for a second pair of 20mms in the wings).

Germany is currently keeping most all of it's night-fighter work in the lab as opposed to buying aircraft: the European situation right now isn't pushing the Luftwaffe to rush things into production when they're not happy with the current state of the art. There are contingency plans to fit the Ju-88 or the Bf-110 with radar if necessary, but Germany would prefer to wait until better airborne radars are available.


Tuesday, October 20th 2009, 3:47pm

Hrolf, the key word is intial thoughts.
Production Tempests will have four 20mm like OTL.
Won't be Hispano's though but some kind of Orklieon (don't ask which one cos' I haven't yet worked that bit out!)

I'm not building many interim NF, probably only 24 or so. Just enough to equip two sqaudrons and get some tactical work done with them. Most probably will end up with Coastal Command on on some loney Scottish airbase rusting away before 1940.


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Tuesday, October 20th 2009, 7:28pm

Hadn´t the Miles MB5s 6 20mm guns in their wings?


Tuesday, October 20th 2009, 9:06pm

The Martin Baker MB-3 & 5 did indeed have 6 20 mm canons in the wings

This post has been edited 1 times, last edit by "Vukovlad" (Oct 20th 2009, 9:22pm)


Tuesday, October 20th 2009, 9:21pm


The Martin Baker MB-3 & 5 did indeed have 6 200mm canons in the wings

Six 200mm guns in the wings?!? Might be useful for Anti-ship duties then. :D


Tuesday, October 20th 2009, 9:22pm

Edited wise guy


Tuesday, October 20th 2009, 10:00pm

According to what I can find quickly, just the MB-3 was designed with 6 20mm cannon, the MB-5 was designed with 4. And, of course, neither aircraft entered service.


Wednesday, October 21st 2009, 11:34am

You are right for some reason I thought that the MB.3 & 5 had the same wing


Sunday, October 25th 2009, 4:06pm

Martin-Baker MB.3 actually mounted 6 x 20mm cannon, as did the Spitfire with one version of the universal wing.


but Germany would prefer to wait until better airborne radars are available.

Until _any_ airbourne radars are available?

I quite fancy the Wellington night fighter, but just can't see it myself. It should be too challenging to fit a mediocre IR scope onto existing Beaufighters. I'm not sure how useful it'd be without very good control to place the fighter within 1-2miles of the target.


Monday, October 26th 2009, 12:47pm

I haven't got Beaufighters.
The Beaufort conversion would be more limited to removing the dorsal turret and fairing it over and streamlining the nose. Think of the training Beauforts used in the latter stages of the war in terms of appearance.

I'd be interested in folks thoughts about what might win B.7/38 (one of the few actual competitions this year since most specs seem to be written around exisitng designs)?
The Blackburn B.28, Bristol 163 Buckingham, Handley Page or the Westland Delanne design?

Also I forgot to mention the Boulton Paul P.94 which is a strict private venture. Ireland and Peru have placed orders and for specs see Brock's thread elsewhere. Armament will be 8x 7.7mm or 4x20mm. Engine likely to be Merlins only for the time being although I reckon a Hercules radial could be slug on the front but I don't know if that would improve it as a fighter though!


Monday, October 26th 2009, 7:12pm

For B.7/38 I reckon the Bristol 161/162 which'll merge into the Buckingham, which'll be built in small numbers due to the Mosquito... I really don't see Westland's type being built and don't particularly like the Blackburn design. Really the type isn't going to be very good, having limited armament, speed and offensive power.

The Hercules would most likely fit the P.94 but I don't see the speed improving a great deal.


Friday, October 30th 2009, 6:13pm

B.7/38: A Blenheim replacement with a maximum speed of at least 300mph, 1000lb bombload normally and a twin 0.50in dorsal turret. To be in service by 1940.
The winner is the Type 163 Bristol Buckingham to much modified (evetually) specs and 400 ordered for service from 1940. Prototype B.28 ordered (flies 1940 serial X8500).

F.19/38: An interim fighter to carry the production infra-red airborne detection set as a night defence fighter. To be a conversion of existing twin-engined airframes with the detector located in the nose. Armament to be at least four 20mm cannon or eight .303in MGs.
The winner is Vickers proposal, 24 ordered, all to be standard bomber conversions on the Weybridge line. In service 1939.

Percival P.28 Proctor; designed to fulfil C.20/38 and developed from the Vega Gull this is a three/four seat communications type with low-wing and fixed undercarriage and dual-controls. 100 are on order for the RAF. Percival is now marketing the P.30 Proctor II as a radio-trainer without dual controls and one pupil, one instructor and a pilot and the longer P.31 Preceptor radio trainer for accommodate a crew of four and a 250hp Gipsy Queen II engine.
Dimensions; 39.6/ 28.2/ 7.3/ 202 sq ft; 1x 210hp DH Gipsy Queen II; max speed 160mph; cruising speed 140mph; range 500 miles and service ceiling 14,000ft.

An update for all those wishing to keep tabs on what I have overseas.

Middle East Air Force 1938
3, 23 and 46 Sqns (Hurricane)
17, 80 and 94 Sqns (Spitfire) [2 Egypt 1 Iraq]
148, 207, 14, 45 and 47 Sqns (Wellesley) [2 Iraq, 1 Aden, 2 East Africa/ Transjordan]
4, 5, 27 and 60 Sqns (Hector) [1 Egypt, 3 Palestine and Transjordan]
88 and 226 Sqns (Battle)
30, 55, 90, 84, 113 Sqns (Blenheim) [1 Iraq, 2 Egypt, 2 Palestine]
6 and 15 Sqns (Henley)
37, 75 and 149 Sqns (Wellington) [3 Egypt/ Palestine]
22 and 217 Sqns (Beaufort) [1 Egypt, 1 Malta]
202 Sqn (Saro London) [Malta]
203, 228 Sqns (Sunderland) [1 Gibraltar, 1 Oman]
230, 231, 232 and 233 Sqns (Stranraer)
31 Sqn (Valentia) [Iraq]
216 and 117 Sqns (Bermuda) [2 Egypt]

Far East Air Force 1938
30, 33, 73, 81 and 112 Sqns (Hurricane)
54 Sqn (Spitfire) [Malaya]
101 and 166 Sqns (Wellington)
223 Sqn (Wellesley) [Malaya]
60, 11, 36 Sqns (Blenheim) [1 Malaya, 2 Singapore]
2 Sqn (Lysander) [Malaya]
100 Sqn (Beaufort) [Malaya]
219, 230 Sqns (Sunderland) [2 Singapore]
234, 235, 236, 237 and 238 Sqns (Stranraer)
70 Sqn (Valentia) [Malaya]
267 and 271 Sqns (Bermuda) [2 Singapore]


Monday, November 2nd 2009, 3:03pm

Wellington fighters = win. :D

What, no Bristol Bombays? :P


Monday, November 2nd 2009, 3:54pm

The Bombay is called Bermuda in WW