Why did the British airforce adopted highly similar Hurricane and Spitfire at the same time?

Nodeo-Franvier

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In contrast to Germans who totally cast aside He112 and He100 in favor of Bf109,The British decided to adopted both the Hurricane and Spitfire at the same time. Why is that?
 

tomo pauk

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IMO:
Hurricane was manufactured as an old-tech aircraft (over-simplifying it: metal frame covered by canvas wherever is possible), meaning that RAF will be receiving their modern fighters in a timely manner. Spitfire was a step ahead, in aerodynamics and performance, and also in stressed-skin structure. RR having the Merlin in series, and then in mass production certainly helped (Merlin was being installed in a lot of other aircraft, even in the dark days of 1940).

The He 112 prototype was an under-performer when tested, a lot to do to it's huge wing. It took time for Heinkel to came out with the He 112A with a smaller wing, and then with the He 112B with an even smaller wing, by what time the Bf 109 was not just in production, but also in service. The He 100 probably hit the brick wall of the availability of the DB 601 engines, and the Bf 109 was probably judged as good enough, with 109E in testing and production, and 109F being thinkered about. During 1939, DB 601 was used not just for 109s, but also for the Bf 110s and He 111s, the engine itself being a couple of years past Merlin in production and service. By 1939, Luftwaffe was also very interested in the Fw 190 that was supposed to be powered by the BMW 139 of 1500 HP.
 
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pbehn

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In contrast to Germans who totally cast aside He112 and He100 in favor of Bf109,The British decided to adopted both the Hurricane and Spitfire at the same time. Why is that?
They only look similar. The Hurricane was bi plane technology that meant it could be put into production easily and produced in large numbers from the start. It only got metal skinned wings in 1939-40, before that they were "linen" and dope. The Spitfire took much longer to sort out and get into production, when war was declared just over 100 were in squadron service. The Hurricane allowed the RAF to build up squadrons and numbers while the Spitfire was sorted and the Casle Bromwich factory got into production. The Germans may have cast aside the He 112 but they put the Fw 190 into production which first flew in June 1939. Hawkers and everyone else saw the Hurricane as a stop gap, little was done on the Hurricane design because they were working on what should have been the next generation of fighters: the Typhoon and Tornado which first flew on Feb 1940 and Oct 1939 respectively. These first flights should have been earlier, the fortunes of the planes was decided by their engines.
 

pbehn

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Without a war being fought you only have ideas of what will work, some dieas like the Defiant didnt work, others may have done like the Whirlwind but had to be abandoned. When you suddenly find war is declared you order everything you can and then decide later if you can use it or what you use it for.

Although the Spitfire is seen as successful and the Hurricane not so, but in total numbers of single engine fighters Hawkers produced almost as many as Supermarine, they just had different names. Hurricane 14,500, Typhoon 3,300, Tempest1,700, Sea Fury 864. The Sea Fury is obviously a different plane to a Hurricane, but a Mk 24 Spitfire is also completely different to a Mk I.
 

tomo pauk

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Without a war being fought you only have ideas of what will work, some dieas like the Defiant didnt work, others may have done like the Whirlwind but had to be abandoned. When you suddenly find war is declared you order everything you can and then decide later if you can use it or what you use it for.

It would've been a good idea to test the ideas (doh).
If your 300 mph 'day' fighter has problems to catch a 270 mph bomber, while your 315-320 mph and 350-360 mph fighters don't have these problems, then why make the 300 mph fighter in the 1st place?

lthough the Spitfire is seen as successful and the Hurricane not so, but in total numbers of single engine fighters Hawkers produced almost as many as Supermarine, they just had different names. Hurricane 14,500, Typhoon 3,300, Tempest1,700, Sea Fury 864. The Sea Fury is obviously a different plane to a Hurricane, but a Mk 24 Spitfire is also completely different to a Mk I.

I'm not sure what amount of cool aid is required to say that that Hawker's fighters from Hurricane to Sea Fury "just had different names".
 

GrauGeist

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The He112B had a performance profile similar to the Bf109 at the time with just a little better range, so there was no real advantage to having it introduced.

The RLM was interested in the He100 and told Heinkel they might purchase it if it could use a Jumo engine instead of the Daimler-Benz.
Since the He100 would require extensive rework to accept the Junkers engine, Heinkel abandoned it.
 

pbehn

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It would've been a good idea to test the ideas (doh).
If your 300 mph 'day' fighter has problems to catch a 270 mph bomber, while your 315-320 mph and 350-360 mph fighters don't have these problems, then why make the 300 mph fighter in the 1st place?



I'm not sure what amount of cool aid is required to say that that Hawker's fighters from Hurricane to Sea Fury "just had different names".
The Defiant was overtaken by development of others, many things were, like "fast bombers". It should have been used in places like Scapa Flow and London Docks where the bombers come to the target.

The Tempest and Typhoon and Fury were variations on a theme, my point was that in total numbers Hawkers werent far behind Supermarine and actually the MkI and Mk 24 Spitfires were as different as a Hurricane and Tempest, they just look similar. Hawkers strategy of making a stop gap and then the next generation of fighters worked, it would have worked much better if the Sabre and Vulture were anything near their projected performance and production numbers.
 

tomo pauk

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The Defiant was overtaken by development of others, many things were, like "fast bombers". It should have been used in places like Scapa Flow and London Docks where the bombers come to the target.
The 270 mph bomber (Blenheim) was a British product. Defiant was not the best use of British resources, to be polite.

The Tempest and Typhoon and Fury were variations on a theme, my point was that in total numbers Hawkers werent far behind Supermarine and actually the MkI and Mk 24 Spitfires were as different as a Hurricane and Tempest, they just look similar. Hawkers strategy of making a stop gap and then the next generation of fighters worked, it would have worked much better if the Sabre and Vulture were anything near their projected performance and production numbers.

What of the listed aircraft were stop-gap?
Engine choice was problematic for the Typhoon, however the engine companies were not to blame for the thick airfoil Camm used, nor they were to blame for the tails falling off under the high G loads.
There was far greater commonality from Spitfire I towards Spitfire 24, than it was even with Hurricane and Typhoon, these two sharing weapons, radios and some gauges - nothing airframe-related. Tempest introduced a whole new wing vs. Typhoon.
 

pbehn

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The 270 mph bomber (Blenheim) was a British product. Defiant was not the best use of British resources, to be polite.



What of the listed aircraft were stop-gap?
Engine choice was problematic for the Typhoon, however the engine companies were not to blame for the thick airfoil Camm used, nor they were to blame for the tails falling off under the high G loads.
There was far greater commonality from Spitfire I towards Spitfire 24, than it was even with Hurricane and Typhoon, these two sharing weapons, radios and some gauges - nothing airframe-related. Tempest introduced a whole new wing vs. Typhoon.
In desperate times you make use of what you have, the Gladiator was also used as a fighter. However an airforce has a use for a lot of aircraft, they found a use for the Defiant as a night fighter and target tug, since only two fighter squadrons were formed with Defiants I think it was realised very quickly what the short comings were.
The Hurricane was a stop gap, Hawkers started work on the Typhoon and Tornado as soon as the Hurricane flew. The various types of the P-51 are all called P-51s despite changes to the engine fuselage and wings, the Typhoon Tempest and Fury could also have kept the same name. A Sabre engined Typhoon and Tempest look much more alike than Sabre and Centaurus engined Tempests do.
 

pbehn

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Source?



They certainly could.
What do you mean "source"? It was old technology, it wasnt the future in any way. The future (as seen at that time) was to be fighters with 2000, BHP engines like the Sabre and Vulture not the 1000BHP Merlin. The preliminary designs for the Typhoon and Tornado were submitted in 1937 and already designated N and R for their engine manufacturer. The Sabre first ran in Jan 1938 and the Vulture in May 1937 The prototype Hawker Tornado first flew in Oct 1939 and by then the war had already intervened with pre war planning.
 

Snowygrouch

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What is your source for the claim that Hurricane was a stop-gap?
Well, everything is a stop-gap to the next thing, really.

By the same token, its very easy to prove that well before the war, the Spitfire and Hurricane were BOTH seen as stopgaps
before the 2000hp class took over. It just didnt really happen as the engines were not mature, and the Merlin proved
dramatically more able to be developmed that anyone expected.

1670868081723.png
 

tomo pauk

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Well, everything is a stop-gap to the next thing, really.

By the same token, its very easy to prove that well before the war, the Spitfire and Hurricane were BOTH seen as stopgaps
before the 2000hp class took over. It just didnt really happen as the engines were not mature, and the Merlin proved
dramatically more able to be developmed that anyone expected.
Thank you for the excerpt.

Have you during your ... battle with the mountains of archival stuff encountered someone from the brass saying in a document that Spitfire and/or Hurricane are stop-gaps?
 

Snowygrouch

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Thank you for the excerpt.

Have you during your ... battle with the mountains of archival stuff encountered someone from the brass saying in a document that Spitfire and/or Hurricane are stop-gaps?
Hmm bit of a big search to see if that EXACT phrase was used. I don't have the Hurricane Air Ministry "Type file", which is probably needed to answer that.
 

pbehn

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Thank you for the excerpt.

Have you during your ... battle with the mountains of archival stuff encountered someone from the brass saying in a document that Spitfire and/or Hurricane are stop-gaps?
Tomo, that isnt how the phrase is used. Literally a "stop gap" fills a space or hole. In terms of this discussion the pre war thinking was that the future battles would be fought with 2,000 BHP engines, but they were still on the drawing board. In fact they were correct they just didnt think at the time that a Merlin or Griffon type would produce 2,000BHP, even if you have proved the Merlin can run and produce more power on 100 Octane you then have to ensure you can get enough 100 Octane to make the change. It is rare to actually see the phrase "stop gap" used in documentation, things allude to it though, like the first line in the Wiki article on the Tornado says (my bold) "Even before Hurricane production began in March 1937, Sydney Camm had embarked on designing its successor. " In peacetime during a depression that is unusual and suggests that the Hurricane was just made to cover the short term need to expand the RAF. As ordered with fabric and dope wings, a fixed pitch prop and running low Octane fuel the Hurricane wasnt a "high speed aircraft". It did allow the RAF to train a lot of pilots and ground crew though, and with 100 Octane fuel metal wings and CS props was just to say good enough in 1940.
 

EwenS

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Hmmmm. Not sure how convincing that is.

Camm wasn’t working by himself. He had a whole design team behind him that needed to be kept occupied. With the Hurricane reaching the production stage that team, or at least parts of it given the design of the Hurricane metal wing, would be looking to the next project. For a fighter team, where do we go next? What is possible? What is needed? What power plants are going to become available?

Then consider that during this time the aircraft companies didn’t just sit waiting for the next OR or Spec to be issued by the Air Ministry. There was communication, with some companies having a closer relationship than others. I’ve read of occasions where that closeness led to one or more companies getting a head start on something that the Air Ministry were going to request next. There was a risk that it might not be issued in the expected form but that was business.

And finally, aircraft design advanced at an increasing pace during the 1930s. Add to that more money becoming available for rearmament. So naturally the period between one design and the next could be shortened.

None of that suggests that the Hurricane to a 1934 Spec could be considered a “stop gap” pending a 1937 Spec being issued.
 

Thumpalumpacus

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I’ve read of occasions where that closeness led to one or more companies getting a head start on something that the Air Ministry were going to request next. There was a risk that it might not be issued in the expected form but that was business.

Weren't some designs originally private-venture, that ended up having official specs issued that were based around that particular design because they were so intriguing? I seem to remember reading a thing or two about that.
 

pbehn

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Camm wasn’t working by himself. He had a whole design team behind him that needed to be kept occupied. With the Hurricane reaching the production stage that team, or at least parts of it given the design of the Hurricane metal wing, would be looking to the next project. For a fighter team, where do we go next? What is possible? What is needed? What power plants are going to become available?

Then consider that during this time the aircraft companies didn’t just sit waiting for the next OR or Spec to be issued by the Air Ministry. There was communication, with some companies having a closer relationship than others. I’ve read of occasions where that closeness led to one or more companies getting a head start on something that the Air Ministry were going to request next. There was a risk that it might not be issued in the expected form but that was business.

And finally, aircraft design advanced at an increasing pace during the 1930s. Add to that more money becoming available for rearmament. So naturally the period between one design and the next could be shortened.

None of that suggests that the Hurricane to a 1934 Spec could be considered a “stop gap” pending a 1937 Spec being issued.
Hawkers submitted preliminary designs for the Typhoon and Tornado prior to the specification being issued in 1937 metal skinned wings didnt start being fitted to the Hurricane until 1939 and was still going on during the BoB. Accepting the Hurricane with linen and dope wings while work went ahead with the next generation of fighters is exactly what I see as it being a stop gap. The priority was just to get planes into production and pilots and crews trained. Then the war intervened and with improvements to the Merlin 100 Octane fuel etc it could be made a competitive aircraft. By the time the Tornado flew and was ordered the orders were subcontracted so as not to interfere with Hurricane production and then cancelled with the Vulture engine.
 

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