The Long and Winding Road: an analysis of British Built Naval plane construction 1930-45

Great spot. 👍 . Corrected
You've also missed a late 1930s specification for a helicopter designed by Raul Hafner. I don't have my copies of the Air Britain Specifications book or Ray Sturtivant's British R&D Aircraft book handy because I'm down the pub. However, I'm rather certain that his PD.6 helicopter got as far as an order for a prototype which was given an Air Ministry serial number.

AIUI there was little difference between the state of the art in helicopter development in the USA and UK in September 1939. What led to the Americans taking the lead was Raul Hafner being interned for 4 years because he was an Austrian emigre and the Weir family (rightly or wrongly) deciding that their firm would help the war effort better by doing something else.

I did write a timeline where Hafner wasn't interned and Bristol took his company over 4 years earlier with the result that the prototype of a helicopter like the Sycamore flew in 1943 and was built instead of the imported Sikorsky Hoverflies and the Supermaine Sea Otter amphibian. This was followed by a Sikorsky S-55 analogue built by Bristol and Westland instead of the Dragonfly, Whirlwind and OTL Sycamores. It also produced a twin rotor helicopter that flew earlier than the OTL Bristol 173 that was built with a turbosaft version of the Mamba or the OTL Bristol Janus instead of the 18 Bell HSL helicopters that were to have been supplied under MDAP and the Short Seamew.
 
I think you missed my favourite plane. The gloster F.5/34 (Goshawk)
So I did. Fixed now

Looking at the design a good lightweight plane but the single spar across both wings probably means
that if navalised it would not get fully folding winds only the outer tips.
Iromically thats what the Zero could take as well
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Initially powered by a Bristol Mercury IV radial engine capable of producing 840 HP and a top speed of 315 mph. You switch the Mercury with say a Centuraus engine? Nothing in the Axis air forces would match it in 39-41. Good visibility better than the Hurricane and spitfire. Excellent rate of climb and very short take off and very manoeuvrable at high speed.
 
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Sounds like an excellent idea 🍻
Back from the pub.

According to my copy of the British Aircraft Specification File...
Page 273
Specification 10/39
Hafner PD6 Helicopter
Dated 26/04/39
File no. B992247/39/RDTI
Issued on 10/05/39 to Hafner/Short Brothers

One PD 6, T3005, was ordered from Shorts, but was not completed, Raoul Hafner having been interned under Defence Regulation 18B.

According to British Research and Development Aircraft by Ray Sturtiant the P.D.6 was also designed to Specification 10/39 and P.D. = Power Driven and that T3005 was ordered to Contract 972107/38.

The Air Britain book says that Hafner AR.IV or AR.Vg prototypes with the serials V8906 and V8909 were ordered from Shorts in January 1940 to Specification S.22/38. Sturtivant wrote that both serials were allocated to AR.V aircraft ordered to Contract 541316. He also wrote that 2 rival aircraft with the serials P9635 and P9636 might have been ordered from Cierva to Contract 968954/38 but that one of those serials appeared on an ex-civil Cierva C.40/Rota II.
 
Initially powered by a Bristol Mercury IV radial engine capable of producing 840 HP and a top speed of 315 mph. You switch the Mercury with say a Centuraus engine? Nothing in the Axis air forces would match it in 39-41. Good visibility better than the Hurricane and spitfire. Excellent rate of climb and very short take off and very manoeuvrable at high speed.
Probably true if you can get the Centaurus in 1938-40
and the "nameless fighter" can take the extra weight without too many changes.
(the mercury was <1000lbs the Perseus a bit heavier but Centaurus over 2500)

Myself I'd settle for a reliable version of a smaller Double Row Radial from Bristol for the Mark I production.
Even a Taurus II would give 1100 HP weighing 1300 lb
a Hercules II over 1300 HP for 2000lb
 
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Back from the pub.

According to my copy of the British Aircraft Specification File...
Page 273
Specification 10/39
Hafner PD6 Helicopter
Dated 26/04/39
File no. B992247/39/RDTI
Issued on 10/05/39 to Hafner/Short Brothers

One PD 6, T3005, was ordered from Shorts, but was not completed, Raoul Hafner having been interned under Defence Regulation 18B.

According to British Research and Development Aircraft by Ray Sturtiant the P.D.6 was also designed to Specification 10/39 and P.D. = Power Driven and that T3005 was ordered to Contract 972107/38.

The Air Britain book says that Hafner AR.IV or AR.Vg prototypes with the serials V8906 and V8909 were ordered from Shorts in January 1940 to Specification S.22/38. Sturtivant wrote that both serials were allocated to AR.V aircraft ordered to Contract 541316. He also wrote that 2 rival aircraft with the serials P9635 and P9636 might have been ordered from Cierva to Contract 968954/38 but that one of those serials appeared on an ex-civil Cierva C.40/Rota II.
OK will add that since a VTOL Helicopter has obvious uses in ASW
 
OK will add that since a VTOL Helicopter has obvious uses in ASW.
It has to be able to carry a depth charge or dipping sonar.

The Admiralty did order 500 Sikorsky R-5 helicopters through Lend Lease but the war ended before any were delivered and the contract was cancelled.
 
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It has to be able to carry a depth charge or dipping sonar.
Perhaps - on at least two levels IMHO
  • IMHO the only weapon any ASW aircraft ABSOLUTELY has to carry is the DEADLIEST of all.. a radio
  • I have a few different possibilities in mind for attacking a submerged submarine
  • dipping sonar means hovering .. I'd rather have V/STO+V/SL in service earlier than wait for hovering
The Admiralty did order 500 Sikorsky R-5 helicopters through Lend Lease but the war ended before any that were delivered and the contract was cancelled.
Thanks again .. I'll include that in my autogyro+chopper investigation and posting
 
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Initially powered by a Bristol Mercury IV radial engine capable of producing 840 HP and a top speed of 315 mph. You switch the Mercury with say a Centuraus engine? Nothing in the Axis air forces would match it in 39-41. Good visibility better than the Hurricane and spitfire. Excellent rate of climb and very short take off and very manoeuvrable at high speed.
Nose heavy and too much torque through the prop. Redesign wings and strengthen barrel, enlarge tail control. Adds weight. Vicious spiral. It has to be fixed in the prototype by proper calculation to address these issues. Just saying that maybe a clean sheet around the Centaurus as Grumman had to do when it redesigned the F2 into the F4 is required?
 
Nose heavy and too much torque through the prop. Redesign wings and strengthen barrel, enlarge tail control. Adds weight. Vicious spiral. It has to be fixed in the prototype by proper calculation to address these issues. Just saying that maybe a clean sheet around the Centaurus as Grumman had to do when it redesigned the F2 into the F4 is required?
Initially I think the Gloster F5/34 would have gone into service with the same 900(ish)hp* Perseus engine as the Skua and Roc rather than the Mercury for spare commonality. Later if kept in production an American engine would probably be used.

*I've seen differing figures ranging from 890hp to 915hp. Also that's on prewar Avgas when they change to 100octain fuel the numbers will increase. Just to clear I see the Gloster as an alternative to the Sea Gladiator that the navy gets only because the RAF doesn't want it.
 
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Follond left Gloster aircraft in January 1937 to set up his own company. My pet FAA POD is that he gets an Admiralty contract to built a naval fighter based on his Gloster F5/34 design but using the Alvis Pelides engine. Also the Bristol 148 had real potential as a useful army co-operation plane but also as a two seat naval fighter bomber with either the Bristol Taurus engine or the Alvis Pelides engine. This gives a radial engined alternative to the Merlin powered Hawker Henley and Hurricane.
 
Just passing observations.

a. Nobody has a reliable helicopter that can be risked at sea 1938-1944.
b. Autogyros can carry radios and maybe small bombs. Magnetic anomaly detector? Ehh... no.
c. Dipping sonar is probably too heavy and unreliable for dunking from anything aloft. From ships?
d. Sonobuoys ARE possible in the 1938-1944 time-frame. Drop those from Fulmars.
e. Think about what is in the inventory and look to improve it pays immediate dividends. Example missed was the DEVASTATOR.
f. The PoD for fleet air arm choices goes to the ministry of aviation and is a political matter that should have been solved in 1930 to bear fruits by 1940.
g. Expecting RAF types to know NAVAL aviation may have been an HMG mistake.

This is only my opinion (MOO) and your mileage could and should vary.

McP.
 
Also the Bristol 148 had real potential as a useful army co-operation plane but also as a two seat naval fighter bomber with either the Bristol Taurus engine or the Alvis Pelides engine. This gives a radial engined alternative to the Merlin powered Hawker Henley and Hurricane.
I'm quite fond of the 148 as well, it had real potential.

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