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Hawker Henley naval fighter?

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#11 Rick65


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Posted 10 March 2018 - 12:55 AM

The BP Defiant has wing fuel tanks outside the inward folding landing gear.

I suspect the Fulmar has tanks between the pilot and the observer.

#12 bearoutwest


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Posted 10 March 2018 - 02:08 AM

I sometimes wonder how a naval fighter based on the Defiant would have gone. .............

I'm not sure what colour this horse would have been.


Perhaps "Dark Horse"? Something that 1930s Batman "the Dark Knight" may have flown into battle?

There were plans for an emergency single seater Defiant fighter - like the Miles M20, in case Spitfire and Hurricane production was severely hampered by Luftwaffe bombing raids in 1940.  The Defiant one-seater would immediately replace the turret-fighter on the production lines.  The wings would be re-configured to house 6x Brownings in each, in a close grouping like the Hurricane.  (See drawing linked below or google-search 'single seat Defiant fighter'.)


I have yet to find many details on where the fuel went, but I assume into the vacant turret spot behind the pilot.

In my convaluted little alternate world of efficient RN-FAA 1940s carrier operations, I have occassioned some random thoughts on 2-seat Sea Henleys and Sea Defiants.  Sea Henleys were easier to upgrade because that internal bomb-bay gave you room for all sorts of extra (bulky if not quite heavy) items.  The Sea Defiant 2-seater was a more difficult process.  The problem was where to put the fuel AND the forward firing ordnance?

Link to regular Defiant wing structure - see the fuel stores in the wing.

Link to a cutaway drawing of the Defiant turret fighter.

Link to a photo of the Defiant TT.

I imagine the Sea Defiant 2-S to look like the TT-version, but without the TT-housing under the rear fuselage (obviously) and with the rear canopy (seen open) with more rear vision.
- keep 6-gun wing or Hurricane style 4-gun wing
- or (as in wing drawing) implement a Spitfire style cannon & mg wing
- with turret removed, the rear observer can sit higher in the rear fuselage, so there is a bit more room for a fuel tank under his seat.
- still need more fuel for a naval fighter, so introduce wing leading edge fuel tanks - like the Spitfire Mk VIII. (http://spitfiresite....-wing_small.jpg)

Some Defiant MkI (turret fighter) specs for comparison (via wiki):
Length: 35 ft 4 in (10.77 m)
Wingspan: 39 ft 4 in (11.99 m)
Height: 11 ft 4 in (3.46 m)
Wing area: 250 ft² (23.2 m²)
Empty weight: 6,078 lb (2,763 kg)
Loaded weight: 8,318 lb (3,781 kg)
Max. takeoff weight: 8,600 lb (3,909 kg)
Powerplant: 1 × Rolls-Royce Merlin III liquid-cooled V12 engine, 1,030 hp (768 kW)

Maximum speed: 304 mph (264 knots, 489 km/h) at 17,000 ft (5,180 m)
Cruise speed: 175 mph (152 knots, 282 km/h) at 15,000 ft (4,570 m)
Range: 465 mi (404 nmi, 749 km)
Endurance: 1.78 hr
Service ceiling: 31,000 ft[54] (9,250 m)
Wing loading: 33.27 lb/ft²[18] (163.0 kg/m²)
Power/mass: 0.124 hp/lb (204 W/kg)
Climb to 15,000 ft (4,600 m): 8.5 min[54]

The Defiant MkII had a Merlin XX, so was a little faster (313mph with 1280hp) and could climb at 1900 fpm (so estimated 8.9min to 15,000 ft if rate of climb could be sustained). Sea Defiant 2-S, without turret drag but with turret weight replaced by more guns and fuel, could probably go a little faster, but climb rate may be similar or slightly less.

So, takes more modification effort to produce a Sea Defiant 2-S.  Top speed better than Fulmar and as good as the Sea Henley.  It could climb better than the Sea Henley and much better than the Fulmar.  Range is abysmal compared to either Fulmar or Sea Henley (approx halved at 465 miles).  The Defiant was quite maneouverable compared to the Spitfire, so consider it to be better in combat than either Sea Henley or Fulmar, except at lower speeds when those huge Fulmar flaps give it an ace up the sleeve.  Still wouldn't want to take on large numbers of Bf109s or A6Ms, but in a 2v2 or 4v4 fight, Sea Defiant 2-S probably stood better chance.

Interesting side-thought though, at the height where it did most of it's combat, the Fulmar didn't seem that slow compared to it's opponents. However, it seemed also to be a very narrow band of height.  It just couldn't go fast enough or climb fast enough to catch anything outside that band.  (Need to check some more stats to see if that impression is correct!)


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Posted 10 March 2018 - 11:12 AM

The Fulmars were a great boost to the needs of the Fleet Air Arm in the Mediterranean when they were first introduced in 1940.

However later against the Japanese was another story:


     "However two Fulmars were shot down by the dive bombers. Once 'clean', the Val (D3A) proved to be marginally faster and

more maneuverable than the heavy British fighter."

Edited by CORSNING, 10 March 2018 - 11:12 AM.

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