Originally designed as a replacement for the Hawker Hurricane, the Typhoon never fulfilled this intention, plagued as it was with engine, design and structural problems for much of its service life. Although it eventually found a niche as a fighter-bomber, Typhoons were retired almost as soon as the Second World War ended while the Hurricane continued in service in some cases until 1946 or later.
First flying in late 1941, the Typhoon proved to be a disappointment as a fighter and it wasn't until 1943 when it was tried as a ground attack aircraft that it truly proved its worth. Ultimately the Typhoon became one of the best fighter-bombers of the RAF and played an important role during D-Day and the subsequent campaign in Europe. Heavily armed with 4 20mm cannon and 8 rockets or 2,000 lbs of bombs (a bomb load equal to light bombers during the early years of the war), a Typhoon could do devastating damage to enemy troops and vehicles on the ground.
The Typhoon and BigglesEdit
In King of the Commandos, some Typhoons (presumably flown by members of Biggles' 666 Sqn) provide top cover for a Liberator which Biggles and Ginger landed in Northern France to extract Gimlet and his party and transport them back to England.
In Biggles in the Orient, Biggles used a Typhoon as a personal transport to shuttle between various locations in India. It was also his mount when, together with his squadron, he set off to intercept a large raid of Japanese bombers headed for Calcutta. Although primarily a fighter-bomber, the heavy armament of 4 20mm cannon of the Typhoon was more than capable of bringing down the lightly armed and armoured Mitsubishi bombers. Of course, Biggles knew the raid was unescorted and he didn't need to tangle with the formidable Mitsubishi Zero fighter or he might have thought twice about using the Typhoon. Later, when he had to pursue and intercept Larapindi's escape aircraft by night, he reached instinctively for the Spitfire instead.
- Crew: One
- Length: 31 ft 11.5 in (9.73 m)
- Wingspan: 41 ft 7 in (12.67 m)
- Max. takeoff weight: 13,250 lb (6,010 kg)
- Powerplant: 1 × Napier Sabre IIA, IIB or IIC liquid-cooled H-24 piston engine, 2,180, 2,200 or
- Maximum speed: 412 mph (663 km/h)
- Range: 510 mi (821 km) [nb 25]
- Service ceiling: 35,200 ft (10,729 m)
- 4 × 20 mm Hispano Mk II cannon
- 8 × RP-3 unguided air-to-ground rockets or 2 × 500 lb or 2 × 1,000 lb bombs