Air and Space Photos from Alternate Worlds.


777 Sqd American Volunteers Hurricane

Link: www.whatifmodellers.com/index.…

Hawker Hurricane IIC, 777 Sqd American Volunteers, Vaenga, Socialist Union, March 1944
Personal mount of James "Python" Pynchon

777 Sqd was a bit of an embarrassment to the United States government. The activities of these American airmen and ground crew who volunteered to fight alongside the Reds was little publicised in the West, but received a great deal of attention within the Socialist Union. A rebellious lot, the men and women and 777 Squadron did little to endear themselves to their own government. They refused to fly American built planes. They adopting parody makings that combined the red star with U.S. national markings. They also chose to fly at Vaenga near Murmansk whenever convoys were expected so that they could interact with the incoming Western sailors.

Formed in late 1941, 777 Sqd initially flew Yak-1s and switched to the Hurricane II in 1942. The Yak-9 was used from April 1944, the unit converting to the Yak-3 in the winter of 1944-45.

After the Western Allies came to peace terms with Germany's post-Nazi regime in August, 1944, there were demands from the White House for the volunteers to honour America's truce and leave the Socialist Union, but few did (and most of those who did were State Department and Pentagon plants). When the European war finally ended in August, 1946, 777 Sqd was based in Poland. Rather than being disbanded, the unit became a permanent fixture for American Red volunteers and remains to this day, having seen action in Europe (1950-52), North Africa (several deployments between 1954 and 1981) and Korea (2002-2003).

The 777 designation was chosen, in part as a parody of USAAF squadron numbers, but also for the fact the unit was formed with 7 pilots and 7 ground crew on the 7th October, 1941.

Grumman P-74D Bobcat

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Grumman P-74D Bobcat
Escuadrón 102, Mexican Air Force
Ellmore Field, Mindoro, The Philippines, 21 June, 1945
Personal aircraft of Captain Antonio Andrade

Aircraft history
When the British Purchasing Commission was seeking additional manufacturers to build the Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk for the RAF, both Grumman and North American made alternative proposals. While North American designed the NA-73, which went on to become the P-51 Mustang, Grumman suggested licensed manufacture of the Supermarine Spitfire, alligning itself with the Packard company to produce the Rolls Royce Merlin engine. Both offers were accepted. When the Lend Lease program was initiated in 1941, the USAAF cancelled the twin engined Grumman XP-50 and, in a bureaucratic slight of hand, ordered the Spitfire as the P-50. Grumman wen on to produce 13,568 Spitfires, some as P-50s to British specifications and others as P-73s to USAAF standards. To Grumman personell, both types were known as Spitcats.

When the P-73 was ordered, Grumman proposed an advanced development with laminar flow wings and a packard built Griffon engine. This was accepted and two prototypes were ordered as the XP-74. Running well ahead of Supermarine's similar Spiteful design, the first XP-74 was flown in July 1942 and the first P-74A Bobcats saw action in Europe in January 1944. 7,591 Bobcats were produced before production was cancelled on VJ Day, August 1945, with 2,573 being sent on Lend Lease terms to the Socialist Union, 100 to the Free French, 100 to Mexico and 45 to Venezeula during the war. Both the P-74A and C were mass produced day fighter-bombers, while the P-74B (with APS-4 ASH radar) and P-74D (with APS-6 radar) were night fighters. Both the C and D models were refinements of the A and B respectively, with more powerful engines, a small fin fillet, more internal and external fuel (including a Hellcat-style central dop tank) and four 20mm cannon replacing the original six .50 MGs. Although only 258 B and D night fighters were built, they met an urgent USAAF interim requirement for more night fighters when the P-61 program was running into dificultines. Just two XP-74Es with a P-51 style ventral cooling system, taller fin, larger fin fillet plus contra-rotating props were built.

Mexican P-74Ds against the Japanese

Escuadrón 102 of the Mexican Air Force began operations from Ellmore Field on the Phillipino nisland of Mindoro in mid February, 1945. Flying P-74D night fighters, they initially flew in direct support of US operations in the Phillipines, but from April undertook other operations. When A Royal Navy task force was suffering from sustained air attacks off the coast of Formosa, Escuadrón 102 was ordered to provide long range nocturnal air defence. The mission subsequently evolved into an operation against Japanese conventional and kamikaze sorties from Formosa against the American invasion of Okinawa. From April through to late June, the pilots of Escuadrón 102 accounted for over 50 Japanese aircraft. The unit's top scorer was Captain Antonio Andrade, who claimed 12 Japanese planes, including 3 Bettys on the night of 21/22 June.

In mid-July, Escuadrón 102 moved to Okinawa, where they flew a mix of air defence and escort missions. It was on one of the latter that Captain Andrade scored his last kill, claiming a Yokosuka P1Y2-S Frances night fighter over Honshu on 4 August.

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Luftwaffe 1946, Issue No.2
Me-163U -
U-boat mount version of Me-163C
This is the best image of the Komet that I have, so...
 
View attachment 565566 Luftwaffe 1946, Issue No.2
Me-163U -
U-boat mount version of Me-163C
This is the best image of the Komet that I have, so...
I have seen this one before, and have to say I've found it to be the dumbest idea of the whole series (at least, what I''ve seen). Why use such a shoooooort ranged rocket plane?! It would take longer to open and deploy the thing that it would take to fly it!
 
I have seen this one before, and have to say I've found it to be the dumbest idea of the whole series (at least, what I''ve seen). Why use such a shoooooort ranged rocket plane?! It would take longer to open and deploy the thing that it would take to fly it!
A V-1 rocket might be useful.
 
Could this have been used to launch limited raids on the East Coast?
That was the idea but, apparently, the greatest obstacle was inter-service political crud; the V-1 was an air force project and Goering never cooperated with anyone, when it came to giving up stuff. It was a problem that crippled over water air ops during the entire war...
 
That was the idea but, apparently, the greatest obstacle was inter-service political crud; the V-1 was an air force project and Goering never cooperated with anyone, when it came to giving up stuff. It was a problem that crippled over water air ops during the entire war...
Would a V-1 cause significant damage to let's say New York, Boston, or Washington?
 
Would a V-1 cause significant damage to let's say New York, Boston, or Washington?
Nope, the warhead is about a ton of explosives. The psychological effects on the other side... and the need to divert forces to protect against such attacks, turn one or two raids more than profitable.
 
Germany thought of it, check the Rocket U-boat

And the USN actually did it, post war. This is the USS Cusk, firing a LTV-N-2 Loon copy of the V-1

Yeah the Germans experimented with Nebelwefer rockets in 42 and tests were successful but it never went beyond the testing phase.
u511_rocket_trials.jpg
U-511-loading-launcher.jpg
U-511 rockets being fired..jpg

There was talk near the end of the war to use V-1's but nothing came of that idea too.
 
Nope, the warhead is about a ton of explosives. The psychological effects on the other side... and the need to divert forces to protect against such attacks, turn one or two raids more than profitable.
This, Also, I've read theories on how such a weapon could carry chemical/bacterological warheads, or even a dirty Uranium-covered bomb. I shudder to think of the US retaliation to that...
 

Desert Flogger for Anthony P

link: www.whatifmodellers.com/index.…

MiG-27 Flogger D
White 15, 3rd Fighter Escadrille, Albanian Red Army Air Force
Meknes, People's Revolutionary Republic of Morocco
30 June, 1977

Although not part of the glorious Socialist Union, the Socialist Republic Albania left its Stalinist perversions through the dialectic of Permanent Revolution during the late 1950s. Incorporated into the ComIntern in 1961 and the Partnership for Peace in 1963, by the 1970s Albania was an active and valued ally to the Socialist Union. Before their 1977 deployment to the People's Revolutionary Republic of Morocco, the men and women of Albanian Red Army Air Force's fighter-bomber escadrille had struggled to defend the North African Front Line Revolutionary States in 1967 (with Fresco fighter-bombers), 1969, 1972 and 1974 (each of these using progressively refined Fitters).

The Flogger D was introduced to the 3rd Fighter Escadrille in early 1975, with initial training on the type undertaken in the Socialist Union. Numerous exercises followed, including Green Flag in the Kazakh Socialist Republic, Red Flag in the Socialist Union and Purple Flag in the Socialist Republic of Spain. In January, 1977, the unit continued their historic mission to defend to Revolution by deploying to Meknes in the People's Revolutionary Republic of Morocco for 6 months.

During their deployment, the men and women of the 3rd Fighter Escadrille flew hundreds of patrols, strikes and close air support missions against reactionary counter revolutionary insurgents and their capitalist United Nations backers. This aircraft, White 15, is seen as it was photographed before its last combat sortie of the deployment, a dawn patrol on the 30 June, 1977. Taking off in the pre-dawn cool, it carried a pair of UB-32-57 rocket pods, a single RBK-250 cluster munition and a R-3P air-to-air missile. This mixed load reflected the need to respond to the variety of reactionary threats that could be encountered during a patrol. The 3 drop tank load was standard for dawn patrols. Scabbed low on the rear flanks are chaff/flare dispensers.

On this mission, White 15 was piloted by Escradrille Leader Aferdita Shala. On returning to Mecknes, she told waiting Party Officials, comrades and journalists from the Albanian Information Ministry and Pravda that the mission had been a “glorious success... We engaged a small force of reactionary terrorists with our rockets, cannon and bombs... We left them as holes in the ground and smudges upon the landscape.” The latter part of this quote has become famous as the title of Aferdita Shala's 1986 combat biography, Smudges on the Landscape.


Fw 190D-9/U5
Link: www.whatifmodellers.com/index.…

Black 40, 310 Sqd, Czechoslovakian Air Force, Plzeň-Lině, Czechoslovakia, August 1945

Following the Separate Peace of August 1945, the new German government quickly set about restoring Czechoslovakia’s sovereignty. With aircrew demobilised from the R.A.F., the Luftwaffe and the Nazi-era Slovak air arm, the Czechoslovakian Air Force was established as a fighter force, initially equipped with the Bf 109G-6 but receiving a mix of Bf 109G-10s (and later K-2s) and Fw 190D-9s late in the year. Because Czechoslovakian Communist units flying with the Socialist Union Air Force were already using the nation’s pie-chart tri-colour national marking, the anti-Red air force adopted a roundel similar to the R.A.F.’s.

Named after a Czech squadron formed in the R.A.F., 310 Squadron was established September 1944 with second-hand Bf 109G-6s and was staffed by ex-R.A.F. personnel. In December, they began to convert to the Fw 190D-9. With the launch of the Red’s night bomber offensive in April, 1945, the unit began flying Wilde Sau-like missions and began receiving the Dresden radar equipped U5 night fighter in May. The Dresden radar was small and could be operated by the pilot of a single seat fighter; it was similar to the American ASH airborne radar and also fitted to the Ta 183A-1/U1.

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Luftwaffe 1946, Volume 2, Issue No.5

(Wanted to post Wunderwaffen images, but they where to large :( ) - So where's a link: https://images-wixmp-ed30a86b8c4ca887773594c2.wixmp.com/f/b85ac569-0b46-4e07-a1fa-849fcc1030be/dcpyv5k-fd8440d2-1755-4c35-b37b-8e7ecc087cdf.jpg/v1/fill/w_1024,h_1451,q_75,strp/wunderwaffen_tome_1_pg_23_by_sport16ing_dcpyv5k-fullview.jpg?token=eyJ0eXAiOiJKV1QiLCJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJzdWIiOiJ1cm46YXBwOiIsImlzcyI6InVybjphcHA6Iiwib2JqIjpbW3siaGVpZ2h0IjoiPD0xNDUxIiwicGF0aCI6IlwvZlwvYjg1YWM1NjktMGI0Ni00ZTA3LWExZmEtODQ5ZmNjMTAzMGJlXC9kY3B5djVrLWZkODQ0MGQyLTE3NTUtNGMzNS1iMzdiLThlN2VjYzA4N2NkZi5qcGciLCJ3aWR0aCI6Ijw9MTAyNCJ9XV0sImF1ZCI6WyJ1cm46c2VydmljZTppbWFnZS5vcGVyYXRpb25zIl19.VwZf-EE3gbp-p8An5r-FGPENs6GGvKRfSW6lqilq34k
 
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Kamikaze 1946, Issue No.1

Convair F-106H Mystic Mission
Link: www.whatifmodellers.com/index.…

Convair F-106H Mystic Mission
a/c 63-460 EL “Mutha” personal mount of Captain Joseph Motherwell (Pilot) and Major Gordon Roberts (Weapons Systems Operator)
34th Bomb Squadron, November 1966
Dogondoutchi Air Base, Niger

Denied Area Mobile Interdiction Techniques (DAMIT) was an ambitious Pentagon program to interdict nocturnal Red logistical activity deep within the enemy’s integrated air defence zones that spread across much of North Africa and into the “Red Lake” of the Mediterranean. DAMIT was a significant prime mover for the PAVE (Precision Avionics Vectoring Equipment) programme that sought to bring greater accuracy to all-weather navigation and weapons delivery. Various USAF aircraft were used to execute DAMIT strikes, including the B-57B Pave Box Canberra, the B-66F Destroyer, the B-58B Pave Hook Hustler, the B-72D Storm and the F-106G Mystics River and F-06H Mystic Mission models of the Delta Dart.

After the initial F-106A/B (single seat/two seat) interceptors, the F-106C/D were Vulcan cannon-armed fighters that toted combinations of AIM-4, AIM-9 and AIM-7 air-to-air missiles on their air superiority missions. The F-106E was a two-seat all-weather attack plane, which had been ordered as a smaller, cheaper partner to the same company’s conventionally armed B-58B Hustler and as an interim solution to the requirement that led to the North American B-72 Storm. At the heart of the F-106E was the AN/ASB-13 all-weather blind-bombing nav/attack system, which for risk reduction and haste was based on the AN/ASB-12 nav/attack system of the North American A-5 Vigilante. Based on the two-seat F-106D tactical fighter trainer, the F-106E had the missile bay area converted to fuel tankage, the ordinance being mounted on triple ejector (TER) or multiple ejector (MER) racks carried on inner-underwing or centreline pylons. It was powered by a 24,500 lb thrust J75-P-19 turbojet. The RF-106F was a high-speed all-weather photo and radar reconnaissance plane with the more powerful 29,500 lb thrust Pratt & Whitney J75-P-5W turbojet. The F-104J was an export interceptor for Japan with AIM-4 and AIM-7 missiles and an internal 20mm Vulcan cannon.

The F-106G was a development of F-106E that featured the improved AN/ASB-13C nav/attack system and J75-P-5W engine. The F-106G Mystic River was a top-secret sub-version of the F-106G customised to engage time-sensitive and mobile targets in denied airspace (principally at night) as part of the DAMIT program. The Mystic River version of the F-106G lacked flight controls in the rear seat, this gear being replaced by controls for additional avionics. Initially considered a mere post-production modification of the F-106G, the Mystic River would become the F-106H (codenamed Mystic Mission) when it was contracted as a production line model. The full-spec F-106H added several additional navigational and communications features to the basic F-106G avionics suite, including:

- AAA-4B Pave Mouse mounted under the nose, which was an AAA-4 IRST modified to detect and track IR and ultraviolet navigation and targeting beacons
- Pave Cut astronavigation system (star tracker) mounted under a bulged, retractable fairing ahead of the cockpit
- Pave Bounce direction finding radar receiver to home in on the emissions of DAMIT “surface activity sensors” and covert radio navigation/targeting beacons.
- Comfy Chime secure radios for communication with special forces
- LORAN-C radio navigation receiver
- Pave Tile reconnaissance pod built by Texas Instruments with a downward-looking infrared linescan sensor and Q-band sideways looking reconnaissance radar with a moving target indicator mode. The pod’s nose and tail cones carried a “threat emission alert and location system” (TEALS, otherwise known as a RHAWS - Radar Homing And Warning System). Pave Tile’s sensors could be monitored from the cockpit and the pod was usually only carried by leadships.

The otherwise similar The Pave Club pod was also carried by the F-106H Mystic Mission. Pave Club featured a nose-mounted infrared (IR) and low-light level TV (LLTV) cameras, plus a laser rangefinder, but this proved to be unreliable and had poor image quality and was not the aircrews’ pod of choice. The definitive targeting pod carried by the Mystic Mission was the Pave Splinter, which combined side looking radar with IR and LLTV cameras with a laser rangefinder and laser designator for the delivery of Paveway laser-guided bombs. This became available in February 1968 and was more reliable than the Pave Club.

Other sensors and pods carried by the Mystic River and Mystic Mission jets during their combat deployments between 1964 and 1971 included Pave Crow (to detect vehicle ignition systems), Pave Fire (LLLTV), Pave Light (laser illuminator pod with a direct viewer) and Pave Sword (pod-mounted laser seeker). Many of these systems were carried as technology combat evaluations and were issued in small numbers. Various ECM pods were carried, including the ALQ-87 and (as seen here) the ALQ-101.

The Mystic Mission planes gave up some internal fuel in the former missile bay to accommodate the black boxes for this extra kit. To more than make-up for the displaced internal fuel a 600 US gallon fuel drop tank could be mounted under the fuselage, this usually being carried in combination with bombs, napalm or cluster bomb units arming the inner underwing pylons. AIM-9 Sidewinders were usually carried by the Mystic Missions (except by the leadships).

The front and rear cockpits of the Mystic Mission aircraft were significantly reconfigured to make room for the varied control panels, screens and boxes associated with this plethora of additional equipment. In his autobiographical article Mystic Mission: Nocturnal Interdiction Across North Africa (Wings, Vol. 39, No.2), Major Gordon Roberts (Retd.) recounted his experiences flying the F-106H Mystic Mission as a rear seat Weapons Systems Officer (WSO) during Operation Olympic Shot, the DAMIT campaign against Red nocturnal movements across North Africa. He commented that the “cockpit was an ad-hoc crazed puzzle of lights, switches, buttons, dials, screens that were a nightmare to operate at night just feet away from probable death. Unfortunately, half of it was junk.” Apparently, DAMIT worked well in the exercise areas of Arizona and Nevada, but the necessary coordination between special forces and aviators frequently broke down, some equipment proved unreliable under field conditions and even the most covert systems were soon compromised by the Reds through jamming, spoofing and the deployment of decoys.

Operation Olympic Shot presented many challenges and required close coordination between a wide range of air and ground assets. US Army and Marine Corps special forces were used to monitor enemy movements and call-in USAF attack aircraft to engage convoys and significant troop movements. They used several covert navigation, pathfinder and target marking technologies to aid the aviators, including infrared, ultraviolet and radar reflecting beacons. Additional air support for the attackers included EB-66B and E Destroyers for EW, KB-66B “combat air refuelers”, EC-121J Warning Stars for AWACS services, plus EF-106G for SEAD and F-106C or F-4C or Ds for fighter top cover.

This F-106H Mystic Mission is kitted for an Olympic Shot leadship sortie. It carries the Pave Tile pod on the centerline, six Briteye MLU-32/B99 balloon-borne 5 million candle power flares on a MER and an SUU-23/A 20mm Vulcan cannon pod (the internal cannon having been removed on the F-106H to make way for fuel and mission equipment. It was the task of the leadship crews to be on scene first and identify the target, illuminating it with the flares for follow-up attack ships. The Vulcan pod could be used to initiate an attack, to (in the words of Major Gordon Roberts) “evaluate the validity of a target (the Reds used many decoys)” and to suppress ground fire. It was also used for air-to-air self-defence on several occasions and was credited with three air-to-air kills, including a Hip helicopter. The F-106H attack ships were armed with Mk 82 bombs, BLU-1 napalm tanks and a variety of cluster munitions and mines. They were also used to drop the various acoustic, magnetic, seismic and smell sensors that formed electronic detection corridors for Olympic Shot.

Operation Olympic Shot and the entire DAMIT program was of questionable value. Although promoted as a successful military campaign and as a cutting-edge technology scheme, much of the technology was unreliable and, in general, under-performed in combat. There were also questions raised about the high costs in lives and money spent to destroy trucks and engage infantry at considerable distances from the front. Nevertheless, the program continued, albeit under different names, until 1979.

Although the aircrews involved in Olympic Shot have been portrayed as an elite of swashbuckling fighter jocks (most notably in the Frederick E. Smith's 1987 book Dare Raiders and the movie and TV series of the same name that followed), many of the 34th Bomb Squadron’s personnel during the late ‘60s were retreads. The pilot of Mutha, Captain Joseph Motherwell, was a former C-135A and KC-135A pilot and Weapons Systems Operator Major Gordon Roberts was a former EC-47P electronics operator who then qualified as navigator on EC-47Ps, RC-130Bs and KC-135As. What they lacked in combat experience they made up for in flight hours, technical skills and maturity.

(and now a new modeler!!) - Dizzyfugu

Westland Whirlwind Mk. I(c)/Trop, 73 Sq., NA 42
Link: www.flickr.com/photos/dizzyfug…

Some background:
The Westland Whirlwind was a British heavy fighter developed by Westland Aircraft. It was the Royal Air Force's first single-seat, twin-engine, cannon-armed fighter, and a contemporary of the Supermarine Spitfire and Hawker Hurricane.

A problem for designers in the 1930s was that most agile combat aircraft were generally small. These aircraft had limited fuel storage and only enough flying range for defensive operations, and their armament was relatively light, too. A multi-engine fighter appeared to be the best solution to the problem of range, but a fighter large enough to carry an increased fuel load might be too unwieldy to engage successfully in close combat. Germany and the United States pressed ahead with their design programs, resulting in the Messerschmitt Bf 110 and the Lockheed P-38 Lightning.

The Westland Whirlwind was one of the British answers to more range and firepower, and the first Whirlwind prototype (L6844) flew on 11 October 1938. Construction had been delayed chiefly due to some new features and also to the late delivery of the original Peregrine engines. The Whirlwind was of all-metal construction, with flush riveting, and featuring magnesium skinning on the rear fuselage. The control surface arrangement was conventional, with large one-piece Fowler flaps inboard and an aileron outboard on each wing, with the rear end of the engine nacelles hinging with the flaps; elevators; and a two-piece rudder, split to permit movement above and below the tail plane. Slats had been fitted on the outer wings at the outset as a stall protection measure, but they were soon locked down, having been implicated in an accident. Service trials were carried out at Martlesham Heath, where the new type exhibited excellent handling and was very easy to fly at all speeds. It was one of the fastest aircraft in service when it flew in the late 1930s, and was much more heavily armed than any other fighter, toting four 20mm cannons.

However, protracted development problems with its Rolls-Royce Peregrine engines delayed the entire project. The combat radius also turned out to be rather short (only 300 miles), and the landing speed was relatively high, which hampered the type's utility. The major role for the Whirlwinds, however, became low-level attack, flying cross-channel "Rhubarb" sweeps against ground targets and "Roadstead" attacks against shipping.

Time went by and worked against the Whirlwind, though: By 1940, the Supermarine Spitfire was mounting 20 mm cannons as well, so the "cannon-armed" requirement was already met by lighter and simpler aircraft. Furthermore, the role of an escort fighter was becoming less important by this time, as RAF Bomber Command turned to night bomber missions.

The main qualities the RAF was looking for now in a twin-engine fighter were range and carrying capacity, e .g. to allow the large radar apparatus of the time to be carried as a night fighter. Concerning these requirements, the bigger Bristol Beaufighter and the fast De Havilland Mosquito could perform just as well as or even better than the Whirlwind.

Anyway, the Whirlwind's potential had not been fully exploited yet, and it was decided to adapt it to new roles and specialized duties, which would exploit its good low altitude handling. Such an opportunity arose when Allied Forces prepared for Operation Torch (initially called Operation Gymnast) in 1942, the British-United States invasion of French North Africa: the somewhat outdated aircraft was retrofitted for a new task as a dedicated tank hunter.

Background was the experience with the Hawker Hurricane Mk. IID, which had become operational at that time. The Mk IIDs were dedicated to ground support, where it was quickly learned that destroying German tanks was difficult; the Hurricanes’ standard 20mm cannons (the same the Whirlwind fighter originally carried) did not have the performance to punch through Gerrnan tanks’ armor, and bombing small tank target successfully was almost impossible.
The solution was to equip aircraft with 2 pounder (40 mm) cannon in a pod under each wing, reducing the other armament to a single Browning in each wing loaded with tracers for aiming purposes.

This equipment was originally tested on a converted Mk IIB in late 1941, and proved to be successful. A new-build Hurricane version of what was known as the Mk IID started in 1942, which, beyond the modified armament, also included additional armor for the pilot, radiator and engine. The aircraft were initially supplied with a pair of Rolls-Royce 'BF' ('Belt-Fed') guns and carried 12 rounds, but this was soon changed to the 40 mm (1.57 in) Vickers S gun with 15 rounds. The weight of the guns and armor protection had a detrimental effect on the aircraft's performance, though, and for the African environment it was feared that the liquid-cooled Merlin engine was too complicated and would hardly cope with the higher ambient temperatures.

A fallback option was needed, and the Whirlwind appeared to be a sound basis – even though the troublesome Peregrine engines were rejected. In a hurry, a Whirlwind Mk. I (P7102) was modified to carry a pair of 40 mm guns, but this time in the lower nose. Compared with the Hurricane’s wing-mounted pods the Whirlwind could carry a slightly bigger load of ammunition (20 RPG). For aiming purposes and against soft targets, a pair of 0.303" (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns with tracer ammunition was mounted above them.

In order to make the aircraft more resilient to the North-African temperatures and against damage, the Whirlwind's touchy Peregrines were replaced by a pair of Bristol Taurus radial engines under relatively narrow cowlings. The engine nacelles had to be widened accordingly, and the Peregrines’ former radiator intakes and installations in the wing roots were removed and simply faired over. Similar to the Hurricane Mk. IID, additional armor plating was added around the cockpit and the engines, raising overall weight.

Flight and weapon tests were conducted in early 1942. While the radial-powered Whirlwind was not as nimble and fast as the original, Peregrine-powered fighter anymore, the aircraft proved to be a stable weapon platform and fully suitable for the ground attack role. Due to its characteristic new nose with the two protruding gun barrels and their separate fairings, the machine was quickly nicknamed “Walrus” and “Buck teeth Whirlwind”.

For operation Torch and as a field test, a total of eleven Whirlwind Mk. Is were converted to Mk. Ic standard. The machines received new serials and were allocated to RAF No. 73 Squadron, which was preparing for deployment to Northern Africa and the Middle East after having been engaged in the Battle of Britain.

The squadron's Whirlwinds and Hurricanes (including some cannon-armed Mk. IIDs, too) were shipped to Takoradi on the Gold Coast onboard HMS Furious, and were then flown in stages across Africa to Egypt. No. 73 Squadron took part in the series of campaigns in the Western Desert and Tunisia, helping cover the supply routes to Tobruk and taking part in various ground-attack operations. Both types undertook an anti-tank role in limited numbers during the North African campaign where, provided enemy flak and fighters were absent, they proved accurate and highly effective, not only against armored vehicles but all kinds of motorized transport.

The converted Whirlwinds proved, thanks to their robust engines, to be very reliable and had a better operational status than the Hurricanes. The second engine boosted the pilots' confidence. In direct comparison, the cannon-armed Whirlwind proved to be a better weapon platform than the Hurricane – mainly because the heavy guns were mounted closer to the aircraft’s longitudinal axis. Both aiming and accuracy were better than the Hurricanes’ wing-mounted weapons.

Nevertheless, there were several drawbacks: the Whirlwind’s two engines meant that more service hours had to be spent on them for maintenance, binding ground crew capacities. This was very inconvenient during the highly mobile Northern Africa campaign. Additionally, the Whirlwind's higher fuel consumption and the limited fuel provisions in the Northern African theatre of operations with dispersed and improvised airfields eventually meant that, despite positive results, no further machines were converted. The high landing speed also persisted, so that operations were hazardous.
Eventually the Hurricane Mk IID was adopted for the tank hunter role, with ensuing series production, since it was regarded as the more versatile and also more common type.

The radial-powered Whirlwind Mk. Ic remained operational with No. 73 Squadron until June 1943, when the squadron converted to the Spitfire and moved from Northern Africa to Italy in October. Until then, only six Whirlwinds had remained airworthy.

General characteristics:
Crew: One pilot
Length: 31 ft 7 1/4 in (9,65 m)
Wingspan: 45 ft 0 in (13.72 m)
Height: 11 ft 0 in (3.35 m)
Wing area: 250 ft² (23.2 m²)
Airfoil: NACA 23017-08
Empty weight: 9,400 lb (4,267 kg)
Loaded weight: 12,158 lb (5,520 kg)
Max. take-off weight: 13,120 lb (5,946 kg)

Powerplant:
2× Bristol Taurus II 14-Cylinder sleeve valve radial engines, 1,015 hp (760 kW) each

Performance:
Maximum speed: 400 mph (644 km/h) at 15.000 ft (4.570 m)
Stall speed: 95 mph (83 knots, 153 km/h) with flaps down
Range: 800 mi (696 nmi, 1.288 km)
Service ceiling: 33.500 ft (10.970 m)

Armament:
2x belt-fed two pounder (1.57 in/40 mm) Vickers S cannon, 20 RPG each
2x 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns, 500 RPG (typically armed with tracer rounds)
Option for 2x 250 lbs (115 kg) or 500 lbs (230 kg) bombs under the outer wings
 
I was half-expecting you'd say this is a photo from the 2050s Philippines. ;)

Either way, these small copter projects are interesting.

I think the only issue is that they will be always rather niche, given that they can't carry that many people.
The F/A-18 for Philippine Air Force almost became a reality had it not for the 1997-98 Asian Financial Crisis.

The quad copters are interesting and it kinda reminds me of the bladeless helicopters seen on Independence Day: Resurgence.

Source: http://www.khang-le.com/independence-day--resurgent.html
 
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