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Great Britain's Hawker Tempest fighter

Photos

  • Hawker Tempest Mk II fighter
  • Hawker Tempest Mk V prototype
  • Hawker Tempest Mk V fighter
  • Hawker Tempest Mk V fighter
  • Hawker Tempest Mk V fighter
  • Hawker Tempest Mk V (in front) and Hawker Typhoon at back
  • Hawker Tempest Mk V fighter
  • Hawker Tempest Mk V fighter
  • Hawker Tempest Mk V fighter
  • Hawker Tempest Mk V fighter
  • Hawker Tempest fighter
  • Hawker Tempest fighter

Design

The Hawker Tempest was to be an improved Hawker Typhoon.1,4,5 Sydney Camm designed the Tempest.2,4

Initially the design was called the Typhoon Mk II.4

The Tempest was to have a new wing and more powerful engine.1

Wings

The designer of the Hawker Tempest, Sydney Camm, said that he designed the Tempest's particular wing shape because of the RAF's fixation with the Spitfire.1 The wing was a thin elliptical, laminar flow design.1,3,4

Fuselage

The forward fuselage contained the Tempest's engine and fuel tanks.1,3,4 It also was formed from a rigid rectangular tubular structure.1 The rear fuselage was a monocoque structure with oval frames, longitudinal stringer, and stressed skin.1

Propeller

The four bladed propeller, a de Havilland Hydromatic constant speed, was on a large spinner.1

Cockpit

The cockpit was a single piece bubble canopy that had bulletproof glass.1 There was armor plating in front of and behind the pilot.1

Tail

The tail was a cantilever all metal unit with a dorsal fin extension.1 The rudder was fabric covered and the tail plane and fin were stress skin covered.1 All the control surfaces had trim tabs.1

Prototype

The first Hawker Tempest to fly, the Mk V, was converted from a Hawker Typhoon.1 The Mk V prototype first flew on September 2, 1942.2,3,4,5 The Mk I prototype flew on February 24, 1943.5 The Mk II prototype flew on June 28, 1943.5

Production

The first Tempest Mk V was completed and flew on June 25, 1943.3,5

  • Tempest Mk I prototype: 15
  • Tempest Mk II: 4523
    • Prototype: 15
  • Tempest Mk V: >8004, 8053
  • Tempest Mk VI: 1423,4
  • Total: 8002, 1,4001, 1,4183
    • Manufacturer: Hawker Aircraft Ltd.4
    • Production: ? - August 19454

Variants

  • Tempest Mk I: Sabre IV engine, 24 cylinder.3,4,5 Only a prototype built.4
  • Tempest Mk II: Had Bristol Centaurus engine, 18 cylinder.1,2,3,4,5 Was intended to fight the Japanese, but the war ended before it was ready for operational use.1,2 Entered service in 1946.1
  • Tempest Mk III: Had Rolls-Royce Griffon 12 cylinder engine.4 Design abandoned.4,5
  • Tempest Mk IV: Rolls-Royce Griffon 61.3,5 Not built.5
  • Tempest Mk V: The first to be produced.1 Sabre 24 cylinder engine.4
  • Tempest Mk V Series 1: Four long barrel 20 mm Hispano Mk II cannons.2,3 First 100 produced.3
  • Tempest Mk V Series 2: Four short barrel 20 mm Hispano Mk V cannons.2,3
  • Tempest Mk VI: Had a Sabre V engine (2,300 HP4) and a bigger radiator for use in the tropics.1

Usage

Britain and New Zealand used the Tempest.3

Pilots said that the Tempest was maneuverable, pleasant to fly, with no major handling faults.1 It was found that the Tempest could take a lot of hits and would still be flyable.1

The top Tempest ace, with 11 aircraft kills, was the American D. C. Fairbanks who was a member of the RAF.1

Total aircraft kills for all Tempests were 240 German planes, 80 Messerschmitt Bf 109s, 115 Focke-Wulf Fw 190s, and 11 / 203 Messerschmitt Me 262s.1

Tempest were used for taking down German V-1 rockets and are credited with 638 of the 1,771 destroyed.1,2,3,4 One Tempest pilot shot down 60.1 Some Tempests were equipped with additional fuel tanks so that they could stay in the air up to 4 1/2 hours waiting for V-1s.4 They would stay at around 10,000' waiting for ground radar stations to tell them where to go.4 When out of ammunition a few pilots would try to flip the V-1 with their wing.4

First Use

The No 3 and No 486 Squadrons received the Tempests in April 1944.1,2,4

Squadrons

The Royal Air Force (RAF) had 113 / 12 squadrons equipped with Tempests.2

After War Use

The Tempest was in service with the RAF until July 1955, as target tugs.1

Specifications

  Hawker Tempest
Type Fighter5, Fighter Bomber5
Crew 15
Engine (Type) 1: Nappier Sabre IIB5
Cylinders H 245
Cooling Liquid5
HP 2,4005
Propeller blades 4 blade de Havilland Hydromatic constant speed5
Dimensions  
Span 41'5
12.5 m5
Length 33' 8"5
10.28 m5
Height 16' 1"5
4.9 m5
Wing area 302 sq ft5
28.06 sq m5
Weight  
Loaded - Fighter 11,400 lb5
5,176 kg5
Loaded - Fighter Bomber
with two 500 lb bombs
12,500 lb5
5,675 kg5
Loaded - Fighter Bomber
with two 1,000 lb bombs
13,500 lb5
6,130 kg5
Performance  
Speed 435 mph5
696 kph5
Armament  
Wings 4: 20 mm Hispano5
Wings - Under 8: Rockets5
OR 2: 500 lb bombs5
OR 2: 1,000 lb bombs5
  Hawker Tempest Mk II
Engine (Type) Bristol Centaurus Mk V piston1
Cylinders 241
HP 2,3661, 2,5264
Propeller blades 41
  Hawker Tempest Mk V
Type Fighter1,2, Fighter-bomber1,2,3,4
Crew 11,2,4
Engine (Type) Napier Sabre II piston2,4
Napier Sabre IIA/B "H" piston1
Napier Sabre IIA3
OR Napier Sabre IIB3
OR Napier Sabre IIC3
Cylinders Inline2, 241, "H" 243,4
Cooling Liquid4
HP 2,1801,2,4
IIA: 2,1803
IIB: 2,2003
IIC: 2,2603
Propeller blades 41,3
Dimensions  
Span 41'1,2,3,4
12.5 m1,2,3
Length 33' 8"2,3,4, 34'1
10.26 m1,2,3
Height 16'1, 16' 1"2,3,4
4.9 m1,2,3
Wing area 302 ft2 1,2
28.06 m2 1,2
Weight  
Empty 8,980 lb1, 9,000 lb2, 9,250 lb3
4,082 kg1,2, 4,196 kg3
Loaded 11,500 lb4, 13,412 lb1, 13,540 lb2, 13,640 lb3
6,142 kg1,2, 6,187 kg3
Performance  
Speed at sea level 392 mph3
631 kph3
Speed @ 4,600' /
1,400 m
416 mph3
669 kph3
Speed @ 17,000' /
5,182 m
435 mph3
700 kph3
Speed @ 18,500' 436 mph4
Speed @ 18,500' /
5,640 m
425 mph1
686 kph1
Speed @ 18,500' /
5,660 m
426 mph2
685 kph2
Cruising speed 210 mph3
338 kph3
Climb 4,700'/minute3
1,432 m/minute3
Climb to 15,000' /
4,570 m
5 minutes2
Climb to 20,000' /
6,096 m
6.1 minutes3
Service ceiling 36,000'3, 36,500'1,4, 38,000'2
10,973 m3, 11,125 m1, 11,580 m2
Range 740 miles1,2,3, 1,530 miles4
1,190 km2,3, 1,191 km1
Ferry range 1,530 miles3
2,462 km3
Armament 4: 20 mm4
Wings 4: 20 mm2,3
4: 20 mm Hispano Mk V1
Bombs - wing racks 2: 500 lb1
2: 227 kg1
OR 2: 1,000 lb1,2,3
2,000 lb4
2: 454 kg1,2,3
OR  
Rockets 8: 60 lb1,2,3
8: 3"2
8: 27 kg1,2,3
3: 0.762 m2
  Hawker Tempest Mk VI
Dimensions  
Span 41'5
12.5 m5
Length 34'5
10.3 m5
Wing area 302 sq ft5
28.06 sq m5

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, General Editor: Jim Winchester, 2004
  2. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  3. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  4. World War II Airplanes Volume 1, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  5. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, 1989
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