Bristol Brigand vs. DH Sea Hornet

Admiral Beez

1st Lieutenant
6,416
6,415
Oct 21, 2019
Toronto, Canada
Which is the better strike aircraft?

Bristol Brigand, introduced 1946. 362 mph max, 4 × 20 mm cannon, 8 × RP-3 rockets, 2,000 lb bombs (externally mounted). Crew, three. 147 produced.

DH Hornet, introduced 1946. 475 mph max, 4 x 20 mm cannon, 8 × RP-3 rockets, 1,000 lb bombs (externally mounted). Chew, one. 383 produced, including Sea Hornet.

I have to think with its substantial speed advantage and service with both the RAF and FAA, the Hornet wins hands down, making me wonder why Bristol bothered to make the Brigand. But the Brigand does have twice the bomb load and two additional crew to help carry the load on long strike missions. The Hornet wins on the fighter aspect, but on strike I'm not so sure. Thoughts?
 

buffnut453

1st Lieutenant
6,949
9,850
Jul 25, 2007
Utah, USA
The propensity of the Brigand to spear into terra firma due to (a) build-up of gasses in the cannon tubes which then ignited and set fire to the hydraulic system, and (b) shedding a propeller that would wrench the engine off the wing.

Personally, I'd take the Hornet any day of the week...and twice on Sundays.
 

EwenS

Staff Sergeant
1,005
1,960
Oct 19, 2021
I can’t think of two aircraft whose design origins began so far apart and which ended their careers doing the same thing.

Brigand - to meet OR.117 for a high speed Hercules engined torpedo carrier derived from the Beaufighter and also able to function as a long range fighter and dive bomber especially for operations in the Far East had the war gone on. Best performance (300+ knots) at sea level 1,500 nautical mile range. It was much changed during the development process, gaining Centaurus engines and Buckingham wings and tail to add to the newly designed fuselage before the go-ahead was given in Feb 1943.

By the time it was ready for service in 1947 RAF Coastal Command had pulled out of the strike wing business and a new role had to be found for the reduced number of Brigands then rolling off the production line. So it became a light bomber with but 3 squadrons in the Middle and then Far East between 1949 and early 1953, succeeding the Beaufighter in 2 of them and the Tempest in the other.

Yes it had its problems. The cannon problem was cured by limiting the type of ammo used to ball, and reducing the firing time of individual bursts. The prop issue was due to corrosion and was cured by improved maintenance procedures. Undercarriage problems were again down to the operating environment in the Far East. What ended its career was corrosion in the wing spars, again attributable to the conditions it was flying in.

But it performed well, providing the bulk of the RAF strike missions over Malaya in 1950/51. And in the Middle East its range was advantageous compared to the Tempest. In Britain they survived in training roles until 1958.

Hornet - to meet OR.126 for a single seat, long range day fighter designed along similar lines to the Mosquito. Best performance (480+mph at 22,000ft, 4,400fpm climb rate), 1,000 statute mile range (1,250 with drop tanks).

It entered service in RAF Fighter Command in 1946/47 replacing Mustang IV and Spitfire XVIe in the Air Defence role until 1951 when it was replaced by Meteor F.4 and then F.8. It only became a strike aircraft from April 1951 when sent out to Malaya to replace first Hawker Tempests and then Brigands and then finally to replace Spitfire F.24 in the Air Defence role in Hong Kong.

By mid-1954 however the signs of structural deterioration began to appear with wing skins detaching, main spar separation issues and failure of glued joints. The same kind of issues suffered by Mosquitos in tropical climes. By mid-1955 all the Hornets in Malaya and Hong Kong were headed for the local scrap heaps.

For the ground attack missions they were being asked to fly against tribesmen in the Middle East or insurgents in Malaya, speed was only important if responding to an urgent request for a strike. And both aircraft were plenty fast enough. More important was range. Both types had sufficient range to operate out of Tengah, Singapore during the Malayan Emergency. And both were capable of lifting very similar weapon loads for the targets they were tasked with attacking.

In the FAA the Sea Hornet F.20 only equipped one front line squadron (the other user was a display squadron) before being replaced by Sea Furies in 1951. In the night fighter role the NF.21 lasted until 1954 to be replaced by the Sea Venom FAW.20. Again their major problem was deterioration of the wooden airframes while in storage, leading to the last being scrapped 1957/58.

So despite the Hornet replacing the Brigand on the front line in Malaya, the latter outlived the former in second line roles.
 

wuzak

Captain
7,908
2,547
Jun 5, 2011
Hobart Tasmania
Which is the better strike aircraft?

Bristol Brigand, introduced 1946. 362 mph max, 4 × 20 mm cannon, 8 × RP-3 rockets, 2,000 lb bombs (externally mounted). Crew, three. 147 produced.

DH Hornet, introduced 1946. 475 mph max, 4 x 20 mm cannon, 8 × RP-3 rockets, 1,000 lb bombs (externally mounted). Chew, one. 383 produced, including Sea Hornet.

I have to think with its substantial speed advantage and service with both the RAF and FAA, the Hornet wins hands down, making me wonder why Bristol bothered to make the Brigand. But the Brigand does have twice the bomb load and two additional crew to help carry the load on long strike missions. The Hornet wins on the fighter aspect, but on strike I'm not so sure. Thoughts?

How about Mosquito FB.VI?

4 x 20mm and 4 x 0.303" plus:

2,000lb bombs or
1,000lb bombs + 8 RPs

Speed, about the same as Brigand.
 

Shortround6

Major General
19,797
11,796
Jun 29, 2009
Central Florida Highlands
If there is any sort of air opposition, I want to be in the Hornet.
Basic problem is that the Brigand is sort of a new, larger Beaufighter.
Take a Beaufort, keep the wings, tail and landing gear and put on a skinny (OK, not skinny, just less fat) fuselage and use bigger engines.

For a Brigand tank a Buckingham.
115658_800.jpg

keep the wings, tail and landing gear and put on a skinny (OK, not skinny, just less fat) fuselage and use bigger the same engines.

It was never built to be used for air to air combat.
 

Users who are viewing this thread