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Westland Interceptor

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Top speed  309 km/h
Length  7.73 m
Manufacturer  Westland Aircraft
Wingspan  12 m
First flight  1929
Designer  W.E.W. Petter
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Obm aircraft westland interceptor


The Westland Interceptor was a fighter developed by the British company Westland Aircraft to Air Ministry Specification F.20/27. When tested in 1929 and 1930, it showed unsatisfactory handling characteristics and was rejected by the RAF in favour of the Hawker Fury biplane fighter.

Contents

Development

Specification F.20/27 was for a fighter operating in the daylight interception role. The main requirement was that the F.20/27 fighter would be able to overtake, in the shortest possible time, an enemy aircraft passing overhead at 150 mph at an altitude of 20,000 ft. This put the emphasis on high speed and rate of climb.

Design work on the Interceptor started in late 1927, and it made its first flight in early 1929, with Lt. L.G. Paget at the controls. The Interceptor was a low-wing monoplane with an all-metal structure and wire-braced wings, covered mostly in fabric with the exception of the front fuselage. It had a fixed undercarriage. The single prototype was powered by an uncowled Bristol Mercury IIA, later replaced by a Mercury III. It was armed with two 7.7 mm Vickers Mk.II machine guns, installed in the sides of the fuselage with the breeches within reach of the pilot. The guns were synchronized to fire through the propeller, and heated to improve their operation at high altitude. The RAF had intended to call for four-gun armament in Specification F.20/27, but after an administrative mix-up it was sent out to manufacturers calling for only two guns.

The handling characteristics of the Interceptor have been described as "alarming." In steep turns the elevator became ineffective, and the aircraft was prone to enter a spiral dive or a spin from such flight attitudes. The Mercury II engine suffered from persistent high oil temperatures. Test pilots gave a negative assessment of the Interceptor, causing it to be withdrawn from the F.20/27 competition.

The aircraft continued to fly until 1935, but no orders were placed. Significant aerodynamic modifications were made to improve the handling characteristics, including a considerable increase in the height of the tailfin and rudder, to improve spin recovery. The troublesome Mercury engine was exchanged for a Bristol Jupiter VII, and later fitted with a Townend ring to reduce drag.

The Interceptor and two of the competing F.20/27 designs, the Vickers Jockey and de Havilland DH.77, were historically important because they were monoplane fighter prototypes, after a long period during which the standard fighter design was a biplane. However, all three were found lacking in overall performance and handling during the test flights, showing that the aircraft designers had failed to reach the project goal. The F.20/27 competition was won by the Hornet, which entered service under the name Hawker Fury.

Specifications

Data from Airwar.

General characteristics

  • Crew: one
  • Length: 7.73 m (25 ft 4 in)
  • Wingspan: 11.58 m (38 ft o in)
  • Height: 2.94 m (9 ft 8 in)
  • Wing area: 19.88 m (214 sq ft)
  • Empty weight: 1,066 kg (2,350 lb)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 1,508 kg (3,325 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Bristol Mercury IIA Radial engine, 440 HP (328 kW)
  • Performance

  • Maximum speed: 309 km/h (192 mph)
  • Cruise speed: 264 km/h (164 mph)
  • Range: 620 km (385 miles)
  • Armament

  • Guns: Two fixed forward firing .303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers machine guns.
  • References

    Westland Interceptor Wikipedia


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