Bristol Bulldog MkIIA

The Bristol Bulldog is a British Royal Air Force single-seat biplane fighter designed during the 1920s by the Bristol Aeroplane Company. 

More than 400 Bulldogs were were built at Bristols’ Filton factory for the RAF and overseas customers, and it was one of the most famous aircraft used by the RAF during the inter-war period.

G-ABBB – Bulldog IIA on static display at the Royal Air Force Museum London in London. This aircraft was the civilian demonstrator and is painted as K2227. It was severely damaged in a crash in 1964 at the Farnborough Airshow and repaired in the late 1990s.

Hawker Typhoon

The Hawker Typhoon is a British single-seat fighter-bomber, produced by Hawker Aircraft. It was intended to be a medium-high altitude interceptor, as a replacement for the Hawker Hurricane but several design problems were encountered and it never completely satisfied this requirement.

The Typhoon became established in roles such as night-time intruder and long-range fighter.

From late 1942 the Typhoon was equipped with bombs and from late 1943 RP-3 rockets were added to its armoury. With those weapons and its four 20mm Hispano autocannons, the Typhoon became one of the Second World War’s most successful ground-attack aircraft.

Only one complete Hawker Typhoon still survives: serial number MN235. After just forty minutes flight time, it was shipped to Ohio for evaluation by the United States Army Air Force.

Originally on display at the National Air and Space Museum (part of the Smithsonian Institution) in the United States, it was presented to the RAF Museum in Hendon, North London in commemoration of the RAF’s 50th Anniversary in exchange for a Hawker Hurricane.

North American Harvard IIB

The North American Harvard IIB (or North American Aviation T-6 Texan) is an American single-engined advanced trainer aircraft used to train pilots of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF), United States Navy, Royal Air Force, Royal Canadian Air Force and other air forces of the British Commonwealth during World War II and into the 1970s.

de Havilland Chipmunk

One of the RAF’s longest serving aircraft types, the Canadian designed Chipmunk entered RAF service in 1950. Chipmunks replaced the Tiger Moth as an initial pilot trainer, offering relatively modern features such as flaps, brakes, radio and an enclosed cockpit.

They also equipped the RAF’s University Air Squadrons until 1973. Although the type was retired from flying training in 1993, Chipmunks continued to serve with the RAF’s Air Experience Flights until 1996, with which many thousands of Air Training Corps and Combined Cadet Force cadets have had their first taste of flight. Over seven-hundred Chipmunks were built for the RAF, some of which also served with the Army and the Royal Navy. A substantial number of civilian Chipmunks are still flying in countries around the world.

There was a de Havilland Chipmunk at RAF Cosford.

Spitfire F24

The Spitfire F24 was the ultimate development of the type, but the advent of the jet fighter meant that only small numbers were built and even fewer went into Royal Air Force service.

The last major production Spitfire was the F22. The F24 differed only in the smallest of details and in fact some F24s were converted from F22 airframes. Only seventy F24s were completed and most went into store although No.80 Squadron was fully equipped with the type.

These ultimate examples of the Spitfire incorporated all the modifications and improvements developed on earlier marks. The F24s had a tear-drop canopy for greater visibility and enlarged tail surfaces for better control. Like many of the later marks the F24 was fitted with the more powerful Griffon engine which provided a 160kph (100mph) greater top speed than the early Spitfires and almost twice the rate of climb. The weight of firepower from its cannon had tripled over the types’ original fit of eight machineguns. It is perhaps a mark of the propaganda value of the Spitfire name that this very different machine was not re-named.

Hawker Hart

The Hawker Hart is a British two-seater biplane light bomber aircraft that saw service with the Royal Air Force (RAF). It was designed during the 1920s by Sydney Camm and manufactured by Hawker Aircraft. The Hart was a prominent British aircraft in the inter-war period, but was obsolete and already side-lined for newer monoplane aircraft designs by the start of the Second World War, playing only minor roles in the conflict before being retired.

Several major variants of the Hart were developed, including a navalised version for the Royal Navy’s aircraft carriers.

This Hawker Hart was on display at the Royal Air Force Museum London in London. The 13th off the production line, it first flew in 1931 but never saw military use. Under the civilian registration G-ABMR, it was used by Hawker in various roles, including testbed, demonstration aircraft and a camera aircraft. It flew throughout the Second World War and continued flying until 1971. Still airworthy, it was then transferred to the RAF Museum, on loan from Hawker Siddeley, Hawker Aircraft’s successor company. It remains there, painted to represent RAF Hart serial number J9941.

There is a Hawker Hart on display at RAF Cosford.

Thunderbolt

The Thunderbolt was one of the three most important American fighters produced during the war and saw extensive service with the United States Army Air Force before its comparatively late introduction into RAF operational service in 1944.

This big and strongly built fighter-bomber, with its good low level performance and long range made an ideal replacement for the RAF’s Hurricane fighter-bombers operating over Burma. The RAF only used the Thunderbolt against the Japanese in South East Asia Command.

By 1944 air/ground co-operation had been successfully developed into a powerful tactical tool and RAF Thunderbolts in Burma quickly adopted ‘cab rank’ patrols available to attack any enemy ground target holding up the Allied advance. Directed by ground visual control posts, the Thunderbolts, with their heavy gun armament and 500lb bombs, created havoc amongst Japanese troop concentrations and their supply lines.

During the air battles leading to the re-capture of Rangoon, RAF Thunderbolts flew fighter escort missions with RAF Liberator bombers.

By the end of 1945 RAF Thunderbolt squadrons were re-equipping with Hawker Tempest Is but some units were sent to Batavia in an attempt to re-introduce Dutch colonial rule. Whilst there they undertook a number of bombing missions against Indonesian guerillas and rebel airfields.

Hawker Hunter FGA9

This Hawker Hunter FGA9 was on display at RAF London.

The Hawker Hunter is a transonic British jet-powered fighter aircraft that was developed by Hawker Aircraft for the Royal Air Force (RAF) during the late 1940s and early 1950s. It was designed to take advantage of the newly developed Rolls-Royce Avon turbojet engine and the swept wing, and was the first jet-powered aircraft produced by Hawker to be procured by the RAF.

The Hunter was the first high-speed jet fighter with radar and fully-powered flying controls to go into widespread service with the RAF.

In 1958 the Royal Air Force held a competition to find a suitable type to replace its Middle East-based Venom ground attack fighters. Hawkers won with a proposal for a modified Hunter F6 and an order was placed for the conversion of a number of airframes. The new version was designated FGA9 to show its new role and the first flew in July 1959.

Curtiss Kittyhawk III

This Curtiss Kittyhawk III was on display at RAF Cosford.

The Kittyhawk was the final development of the Curtiss Hawk line of monoplane fighters. During the Second World War it provided the Royal Air Force with valuable reinforcements in the Middle East at a time when British resources were overstretched. Over 3000 Kittyhawks were delivered to Commonwealth Air Forces.

First introduced into service in January 1942 a conversion programme began six months later to allow them to carry bombs.

The Royal Air Force continued to operate Kittyhawks in Italy until the summer of 1945 when they were finally replaced by North American Mustangs.

Known as the Warhawk in United States service, the British renamed the early P-40A, B and C models Tomahawks. In an effort to continue production the manufacturer fitted a more powerful Allison engine into a redesigned cowling and concentrated the gun armament in the wings; the resulting P-40D Warhawk was renamed Kittyhawk by the British.

Eurofighter Typhoon

The Eurofighter Typhoon is a European multinational twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter.

The aircraft’s development effectively began in 1983 with the Future European Fighter Aircraft programme, a multinational collaboration among the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. France later pulled out.

A technology demonstration aircraft, the British Aerospace EAP, first flew on 6 August 1986.

A Eurofighter prototype made its maiden flight on 27 March 1994. 

The aircraft’s name, Typhoon, was adopted in September 1998 and the first production contracts were also signed that year.

It was initially employed in an air-to-air fighter role as the Typhoon F2 and RAF deliveries began in 2003.

The upgraded Typhoon FGR4 is an extremely agile multi-role combat aircraft. Although the Typhoon’s primary role is for air defence, it has been deployed in a wide range of air operations, including air policing and peace support. It has also been used against Dash targets in Syria and Iraq.

This example on display at RAF London is the second prototype Typhoon and first flew in 1994. 

The Typhoon will remain in service until 2040. I think this is quite incredible that the plane will fly for so long.