AHC: Peerless Air Ministry

If you want the Defiant to be able to climb higher a simple expedient of extending the wingtips several feet may help. The drag from the turret that is now gone was probably also a major cause of the poor performance in comparison to the Hurricane or Spitfire. Having said that the Defiant was not the poor aircraft as often thought.
 
If you want the Defiant to be able to climb higher a simple expedient of extending the wingtips several feet may help. The drag from the turret that is now gone was probably also a major cause of the poor performance in comparison to the Hurricane or Spitfire. Having said that the Defiant was not the poor aircraft as often thought.
Certainly a better production optimised design than it's peers.
 
In 1939 the Hurricane was updated with stressed metal sheet wings. What sort of in-service upgrades could be applied to the Defiant? It is already stressed skin and made up from sub-assemblies, so maybe make it lighter and sleeker/smoother? For such a wingspan it has quite a low service ceiling.
As noted above, more power is always good. The service ceiling was useful for the day, a better engine can help out.
The wing was already big (too big for my taste, but then again OTL Defiant was a heavy aircraft). Wing profile choice - how much it is behind the Spitfire, or even behind the Bf 109 (not something that can be easily rectified)? Something needs to be done with Hurricane-style radiator system, perhaps install the radiator in the elogated leading edge (like on the Mosquito), or as a beard radiator? More flush ram air intake? Better carb and better exhausts will help. So will the retractable tail wheel. Having no turret simplifies the task of finding the right position for the antenna, do it without the mast this time?
 
What would have been the likely net change in weight from removing the turret and its accompanying gear and gunner, along with other changes made?
Turret, equipped, plus gunner = around 750 lbs; supporting structure = ?? lbs. Good article.
The OTL Defiant was 1700-1900 lbs heavier than the Hurricane I or Spitire I. Deleting the turret, and installing an 8 .303 barttery in the wings still means more than 1000 lbs than the BoB Dynamic Duo.
RAF needed far more the trained pilots and change in fighter tactics (Vic -> finger four) than it needed a fighter that is 3rd best after Spitfire and Hurricane, with even more pronounced performance disadvantge vs. Bf 109E than it was the case with Hurricane I. UK was out-producing Germany anyway by mid-1940 in fighters, thanks both to the UK getting it's act together, and Germany investing too much in Bf 110.
 
The Defiant ITTL is a four 20mm cannon armed fighter, Having shed the heavy and drag inducing turret, the clean Defiant was not much slower than the Hurricane. The most noticeable difference dimensionally was that the Defiant had a fuselage a full one yard longer. with four cannons, armour and self sealing tanks plus other additions the Defiant had gained weight since prototype stage just as had the Hurricane and the Spitfire. the Performance balance of all three aircraft in 190 has been regained by an almost 20% increase in engine power and the adoption of constant speed propellers. So in the summer battles of the BoB ITTL the Defiant has performance not far of that of the hurricane but carries a much bigger punch. The Luftwaffe bomber crews hate this aircraft and claim that they were always attacked by Defiants as it was hard to distinguish between a Hurricane and a defiant in the stress of combat. The poor hurricane Pilots were well pissed of as Luftwaffe pilots who were captured always claimed to have been shot down by a Spitfires and the Bomber crews always claimed they were hit by a Defiant! By late 1940 it was cleat to the PAM that the Defiant and the Hurricane could no longer compete against the latest generation of Luftwaffe fighters, However both aircraft when fitted with hard points for bombs, fuel tanks and other warlike stores still had a role as fighter bombers especially in more distant theatres. In these circumstance any four cannon armed fighter capable of 300mph plus was a useful machine. Until production capacity was required for better aircraft it was decided that rather than lose the aircraft production redirecting the available airframes would be more profitable to Britains war effort. Most of this has been already hinted at in the PAM narrative but will be clarified soon later posts.
 

Hecatee

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I could see the Defiant playing an interesting role in the desert or even in the Pacific... Maybe to re-equip the Dutch in emergency ?
By the way, while the larger losses of the Luftwaffe have been discussed as well as the slightly better situation for allied pilots recovered/not lost, I don't recall seeing discussion on how much better is the airframe situation for the British. Do they have more planes they can send earlier to other theaters ? In which proportion ?
 

Driftless

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From the link tomo pauk listed:
The weakness of the Defiant was from below. 264 Squadron was to suffer a similar fate in August 1940. The Defiant was to prove, that a fighter not noted for its manoeuvrability and with all its armament concentrated in a turret instead of in the wings, was proven tactically wrong.
Was that most likely a matter of inertia (due to the mass/weight), or other issues?
 

Driftless

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Even with it's limitations, I could see a useful second act for the Defiant in North Africa, or SE Asia - if either comes to pass in this TL's universe. Plenty of firepower and a sturdy airframe, and it could make a decent CAS tool on those fronts, till it's successor(s) come into service.
 

perfectgeneral

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The P-47 showed that good control surfaces (in this case landing flaps) can make a big aircraft more nimble than it's lighter competitors. A Merridith behind the cockpit cooling system will save 20mph in drag. A lower thickness wing will probably get you a higher cruise speed, extending range. A MkII Defiant FB will maybe reach 350mph and cruise at 275mph out to bingo at 750 miles. Maybe 1,000 if you use a paper mache drop tank and extra within the body and wings too. So not much payload over the Hurricane, but 36,000ft ceiling and 1,000 mile range (operational radius).
 
Perfectgeneral, you have just described the MB3 fighter in the PAM, 2,000 plus Hp, thin wing , Meredith effect radiator and seven league boots.
For a winning combination twin that with the Tornado, same engine, thicker wing, more war-load and almost the same range, Oh! and tough as nuts as well!
 
Just IMO - the peerless Air Ministry should be looking at 400 mph as the next milestone (even for the 1-engined FBs), 350 mph was achieved by 1938 historically. Don't let the Germans be there 1st :)

The P-47 showed that good control surfaces (in this case landing flaps) can make a big aircraft more nimble than it's lighter competitors. A Merridith behind the cockpit cooling system will save 20mph in drag. A lower thickness wing will probably get you a higher cruise speed, extending range. A MkII Defiant FB will maybe reach 350mph and cruise at 275mph out to bingo at 750 miles. Maybe 1,000 if you use a paper mache drop tank and extra within the body and wings too. So not much payload over the Hurricane, but 36,000ft ceiling and 1,000 mile range (operational radius).
P-47 was nimble over 20000 ft, when it's power loading was amazing for the day vs. the everyday LW opposition (= Fw 190). The Bf 109 was problem if unseen coming down from 30000 ft, the altitude where Fw 190As were hopeless in late 1943-1944.
Range is not equal to operational radius, the later was often 35% or the former.
 

perfectgeneral

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Range is not equal to operational radius, the later was often 35% or the former.
This is why I specified operational radius (the layman's idea of range) over ferry range and brought up the issue of bingo (head home before it is dangerous to head home, because you have no fuel to fight). The 4/10ths mark works well as a rough guide. Changing winds, mechanical problems and the enemy make any estimate a rough guide only.
 
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I think the Defiant could have a useful role as a naval fighter instead of the Sea Hurricane. It's got more development potential and has plenty of room for extra fuel tanks in place of the turret.
 
I will not give too much away but the PAN TL will see lessons learnt due to analysis of the Luftwaffe fighter combat over England in this version of the BoB, but I will keep my powder dry till that post is ready!
 
I think the Defiant could have a useful role as a naval fighter instead of the Sea Hurricane. It's got more development potential and has plenty of room for extra fuel tanks in place of the turret.
Of course the question related to this is will it fit on the RN's carriers and more specifically their elevators without serious rework
 
A Defiant is shorter than a Fulmar so no problem there, and they have a few inches less wingspan than the Hurricane. The actual Defiant was slower than the Hurricane, but the proposed single seat P94 version had an estimated top speed of 360mph. So a naval fighter would fit on most British Carriers even without wing folding, have a heavy armament, be reasonably quick and has the potential for long range, seems like a good candidate for a naval fighter to me. There's even a natural place for a wing folding mechanism.

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A Defiant is shorter than a Fulmar so no problem there, and they have a few inches less wingspan than the Hurricane. The actual Defiant was slower than the Hurricane, but the proposed single seat P94 version had an estimated top speed of 360mph. So a naval fighter would fit on most British Carriers even without wing folding, have a heavy armament, be reasonably quick and has the potential for long range, seems like a good candidate for a naval fighter to me. There's even a natural place for a wing folding mechanism.

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Ah now that shows promise and assuming the RN stations the Glorious,Courageous, and Furious with the Home Fleet and puts the Armored Fleet carriers with the Mediterranean Fleet will make the RN have a much happier life when the Luftwaffe comes a knocking
 

perfectgeneral

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Ah now that shows promise and assuming the RN stations the Glorious,Courageous, and Furious with the Home Fleet and puts the Armored Fleet carriers with the Mediterranean Fleet will make the RN have a much happier life when the Luftwaffe comes a knocking
Except they will still have problems with training and doctrine. I'd still expect three fleet carriers to be lost in surface engagements (two to subs, one to battleships) due to poor CAP and picket discipline. The carrier system is a group, not just the carrier ship, not just the airgroup, not just the flotilla.
 
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