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The Hawker Tempest is a British fighter aircraft primarily used by the Royal Air Force (RAF) in the Second World War.


Hawker Tempest Mk.II

The Hawker Tempest is a British fighter aircraft primarily used by the Royal Air Force (RAF) in the Second World War. The Tempest, originally known as the Typhoon II, was an improved derivative of the Hawker Typhoon, intended to address the Typhoon's unexpected fall-off of performance at high altitude by replacing its wing with a thinner laminar flow design. Having diverged considerably from the Typhoon, it was chosen to rename the aircraft Tempest. The Tempest emerged as one of the most powerful fighters of World War II and was the fastest single-engine propeller-driven aircraft of the war at low altitude.


Upon entering service in 1944, the Tempest was used as a low-level interceptor, particularly against the V-1 flying bomb threat, and as a ground attack platform, in which it supported major events such as Operation Market Garden. Later, it successfully targeted the rail infrastructure in Germany and Luftwaffe aircraft on the ground, as well as countering such attacks by German fighters. The Tempest was effective in the low-level interception role, including against newly developed jet-propelled aircraft such as the Messerschmitt Me 262.


The further-developed Tempest Mk.II did not enter service until after the end of hostilities. It had several improvements, including being tropicalised for combat against Japan in South-East Asia as part of the Commonwealth Tiger Force.


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Hawker Tempest Mk.II

In air-to-air combat, the Tempest units achieved an estimated air combat success ratio of 7:1, accomplishing a 6:1 ratio against single-seat enemy fighters. The top-scoring Tempest pilot was Squadron Leader David C. "Foobs" Fairbanks DFC, an American who joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1941. By mid-1944, he was flying with 274 Squadron. When he was shot down and made a POW in February 1945, he had destroyed 11 or 12 German aircraft (and one shared), to make him the highest-scoring Tempest ace

  • History

    Role Fighter

    Manufacturer Hawker Aircraft Limited

    Designer Sydney Camm

    First flight 2 September 1942

    Introduction January 1944

    Status Retired
    Developed from Hawker Typhoon

    Developed into Hawker Sea Fury

  • Primary Users

    Crew: One

    Length: 33 ft 8 in (10.26 m)

    Wingspan: 41 ft 0 in (12.49 m)

    Height: 16 ft 1 in (4.90 m (tail down))

    Empty weight: 9,250 lb (4,195 kg)

    Loaded weight: 11,400 lb (5,176 kg)

    Max. takeoff weight: 13,640 lb (6,190 kg)

    Powerplant: 1 × Napier Sabre IIA or IIB or IIC liquid-cooled H-24 sleeve-valve engine:, 2,180 hp (1,625 kW) Sabre IIA at + 9 lb/in² boost at 7,000 ft (2,133 m), 4,000 rpm

  • General Info

    Maximum speed: 432 mph (695 km/h) Sabre IIA at 18,400 ft (5,608 m), Sabre IIB 435 mph at 19,000 ft (700 km/h at 5,791 m)

    Range: 740 mi (1,190 km) 1,530 mi (2,462 km) with 90 gal (409 l) drop tanks

    Service ceiling: 36,500 ft (11,125 m)


    4 × 20 mm (.79 in) Mark II Hispano cannons, 200 rpg. Later models used Mark V Hispano Cannons.

    2 × 500 lb (227 kg) or 1,000 lb (454 kg) bombs

    8 × 3 in (76.2 mm) RP-3 rockets (post-Second World War)

    Provision for 2 × 45 gal (205 l) or 2 × 90 gal (409 l) drop tanks.

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By April 1944, the Tempest V had attained general acceptance and was in the hands of operational squadrons; 3 Squadron was the first to be fully equipped, closely followed by 486 Squadron (the only Article XV unit to be equipped with the Tempest during the Second World War), replacing their previous Typhoons. A third unit—56 Squadron—initially kept its Typhoons and was then temporarily equipped with Spitfire IXs until sufficient supplies of Tempests were available. By the end of April 1944, these units were based at RAF Newchurch, a new "Advanced Landing Ground" (ALG), where they formed 150 Wing, commanded by Wing Commander Roland Beamont.

Hawker Tempest Mk.II


The Hawker Tempest is a British fighter aircraft primarily used by the Royal Air Force (RAF) in the Second World War.


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