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Hawker Tornado

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The Tornado was intended to be powered by the Rolls-Royce Vulture engine and a large order for the type was placed. However the Vulture engine program would be cancelled and as a result only four would be built. The Hawker Tornado did provide the base for two other successful Hawker aircraft, the Typhoon and Tempest.

Quick Facts
Hawker Tornado side profile image
First flight
6th October 1939
Entered service
Total built

Front view
Sorry, no view photo available
Side view
Sorry, no view photo available
Rear view
Sorry, no view photo available

With the Hawker Hurricane just entering operational service and proving successful thoughts naturally turned to a successor and with this Hawker submitted two new types as potential replacement aircraft, these were the Type N powered by a Napier Sabre engine and the Type R powered by a Rolls-Royce Vulture engine.

The two aircraft would be produced to meet the Air Ministry Specification F.18/37 so would be fitted with twelve 0.303-in machine-guns and on the 3rd March 1938 an order for two prototypes for each design were ordered. The two aircraft were similar to each other with the Type R similar in appearance to the Hurricane whilst the Type N had a chin to house the radiator and it was this prototype that was to become the Hawker Typhoon.

The maiden flight of the first prototype, the Type R, took place on the 6th October 1939 with P.G. Lawrence at the controls but after flight testing showed problems with the airflow around the radiator it was moved to the chin and this new version flew on the 5th December 1940. Intended armament was twelve 0.303-in machine-guns.

During late 1939 an order was placed for 500 Tornado's however the Rolls-Royce Vulture program was cancelled and only one aircraft was produced which flew on the 29th August 1941, before the Tornado order was cancelled. A third prototype Tornado did in fact fly on the 23rd October 1941 with a 2,120-hp Bristol Centaurus CE.4S powerplant and the Hawker Tempest Mk II would have its origins in this aircraft.

Technical Details

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Top Speed Range Service Ceiling Armament
Tornado Mk I Only one production example made.


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See This Aircraft

(C) = Cockpit only exhibit. (F) = Fuselage only exhibit. (R) = Remains of an aircraft.

No known examples currently on public display in the UK.

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