The Hawker Typhoon 

Great Britain
Great Britain

side view front view under view

At the time that the first hawker Hurricane rolled out of the factory in 1937, Hawker started thinking of a successor. They wanted to create a more advanced fighter to replace the Hurricane when the time wasd there. The design team, headed by Sydney Camm, thought up a fighter that was very close to the F.18/37 requirement of the British Air Ministry. This requirement was looking for an advanced fighter, powered by the Rolls Royce Vulture X-type or the Napier Sabre H-type engine, and heavier armament in the way of 4 × 20 mm cannons. Hawker decided that 12 × 0.303 inch (7,7 mm) guns would also increase the firepower by 50%, so they included that option as well.
Two airframe variants were developed, the R-type (for the Rolls Royce Vulture engine), and the N-type (for the Napeir Sabre engine). These were to be named the 'Tornado' and Typhoon' respectively.
The design emphasized on strength and maintainability, in stead of elegance, and was also one of the first design to have a 'bubble'-like cockpit like also seen on the North American P-51D or the Focke-Wulf Fw 190.
The Rolls Royce Vulture was the most promising of the two prototypes, so the Tornado took to the air before the Typhoon in October 1939. Initially 1.000 aircraft were ordered: 500 Tornado's and 500 typhoons. After the invasion of the Low Countries in May 1940 the order for the Typhoon was canceled so Hawker could concentrate on the Hurricane in stead. After the defeat of the Luftwaffe in October 1940, the order was reinstated again. Soon after the first production aircraft of the Tornado was delivered, the cancellation of the Rolls Royce Vulture engine made sure no other Tornado's would fly.


Further pictures:

Hawker Typhoon in full flight
Hawker Typhoon in full flight


Technical data on the Hawker Typhoon Mk IB
Powerplant 1 × Napier Sabre IIA, IIB or IIC: IIA rated at 2,180 hp (1.265 kW), IIB rated at 2,200 hp (1.640 kW), IIC, rated at 2260 hp (1684.81 kW) Role during war
  • Fighter
  • (Ground) Attack Fighter
  • Fighter-bomber
Length 31 ft 11 inch Height 15 ft 4 inch
Empty weight 8840 lb Operational weight 13980 lb max
Wing Span 41 ft 7 inch Wing Aspect ratio 6.2
Wing Area 479 sq ft Service ceiling 35200 ft
Maximum speed 412 mph at 19000 ft Cruising speed 330 mph at optimum altitude
Initial climb rate Climb to 15,000 ft in 5 min 30 sec Range 510 miles typical,
980 miles max
Fuel capacity internal 150 Imp gal (180 US gal) Fuel capacity external 180 Imp gal (216 US gal) in 2 drop tanks
Machine guns - Cannons 4 × 20 mm Hispano Mk II fixed forward-firing, 140 rounds each
Bomb load Up to 2,000 lb carried on 2 underwing hardpoints, rated at 1,000 lb each. General load out:
2 × 1,000 lb or 500 lb bombs
Torpedoes/rockets 8 × 60 lb rockets in stead of bombs
Crew 1 Naval or ground based Ground
First flight (prototype) 24 Februari 1940 Operational Service September 1941 - 1947
Manufacturer Hawker Aircraft Co. Ltd. Number produced 3.330 total, 3.225 this version
Metric system
Length 9.73 m Height 4.67 m
Empty weight 4010 kg Operational weight 6341 kg max
Wing Span 12.67 m Wing Aspect ratio 6.2
Wing Area 44.5 m² Service ceiling 10729 m
Maximum speed 663 km/h at 5791 m Cruising speed 531 km/h at optimum altitude
Initial climb rate Climb to 4.570 m in 5 min 30 sec Range 821 km typical,
1577 km max
Fuel capacity internal 682 liters Fuel capacity external 818 liters in 2 drop tanks
Machine guns - Cannons 4 × 20 mm Hispano Mk II fixed forward-firing, 140 rounds each
Bomb load Up to 907 kg carried on 2 underwing hardpoints, rated at 454 kg each. General load-out:
2 × 454 kg or 227 kg bombs
Torpedoes/rockets 8 × 27 kg rockets in stead of bombs

Here is a quick overview of all different versions, without the full technical specifications:

Different versions of the Hawker Typhoon 
Hawker Tornado The Tornado was the Rolls Royce Vulture powered twin of the Typhoon. Since the Vulture was discontinued due to severe problems, there was only one production aircraft of the Tornado
Number built: 1
Hawker Typhoon Mk IA This version was het initial typhoon version, and paved the way for the following aircraft in becoming great Ground-attack aircraft. Initially meant as an interceptor, the climb rate was thought to be inadequate, and aerodynamical issues caused by the Chin form radiator under the nose made the RAF Command decide that the Typhoon was not suited for this role and should be used as a ground-attack aircraft instead.
This version was armed with 12 × 0.303 inch (7,7 mm) guns in stead of the planned 4 × 20 mm cannons, because the production of feeder mechanisms for the cannons lagged behind too strong.
Number built: 105
Hawker Typhoon Mk IB The disappointing results and problems with structure and tail of the Mk IA made the Air Ministrry consider to drop the Typhoon alltogether. However, Wing Commander Beaumont stated correctly that the failing performance at altitude was the result of the very thick wing, and this would not matter at low altitudes.
because of this it was decided to use the typhoon as a ground attack fighter, and proviions were made. Not only could the guns be replaced by 4 × 20 mm cannons, but also provisions were made to carry bombs on two underwing hardpoints. This version also had the first 'clear-vision' cockpit, solving poor visibility problems of the Mk IA version. More, the Mk IB received a four-bladed Rotol or De Havilland propeller in stead of a three-bladed one.
Number built: 1
Hawker Typhoon FR.Mk IB Some Typhoons were converted for reconnaissance purposes. It could either house two vertical cameras in the rear fuselage, or could accomodate a forward facing cine camera in place of the inboard port 20 mm cannon. To retain the balance in the latter case, the inboard starboard cannon was removed as well.
Number converted: 60


The Typhoon had it's share of teething problem, not the least because of the relatively unknown Napier Sabre engine. After the problems were solved, the aircraft turned out to be an excellent ground-attack fighter (in stead of the interceptor role it was planned for). It was put to good use against German trains and Armor, and Typhoons claimed a record number of 135 German tanks on a single day in August 1944! The Typhoon had it's own tactic when attacking ground targets: the 'Cab rank'. In this tactic waves of Typhoons formed up to await their turn in hitting the targets.





© by Frans Bonné, 2000
Last revision: 11/8/00