Aviation of World War II

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Fighter Bomber


Westland Whirlwind in flight

The Westland Whirlwind is a British twin-engine fighter-bomber developed by the Westland Aircraft Company. A contemporary of the Spitfire and the Hurricane, the Whirlwind was the RAF's first single-seat twin-engined fighter.

When it first took off in 1938, the Whirlwind was one of the fastest and heavily armed combat aircraft in the world, carrying four 20mm Hispano-Suiza HS.404 cannons in its nose. However, lingering problems with the Rolls-Royce Peregrine engine delayed the project, and only a few Whirlwinds were built.

Production of aircraft continued throughout 1941. In the summer of 1941, the Wirluind was tested as a night fighter. Back in 1941, the command of the 263rd Squadron took the initiative to equip the fighter with bombs, but this idea was realized only in July-August 1942, when the first of these aircraft was equipped with bomb racks. The aircraft received the designation Mk.II and the unofficial nickname "Whirlbomber".

Westland Fighters
Westland Whirlwind
Crew 1
Length, m 9.83 12.67
Height, m 3.20 4.80
Wing span, m 13.70 21.30
Wing area, m² 23.20 42.70
Weight, kg
Empty weight 3,770 3,768
Loaded weight 4,697 4,697
Gross weight 5,165 5,175
2×Rolls-Royce Peregrine I Merlin 76 (72)
Power, hp. 2×885 2×1250 (1290)
Maximum speed, km/h 580 625
Rate of climb, m/s 6,8 19,58
Service ceiling, m 9,150 13,420
Service range, km 1280 2380
4 × British-Hispano Mk.I, shells 60×3 60×3
Bombs, kg 2×227

The first successful fighter-bombers operation was carried out on September 9, 1942. Four aircraft of the 263rd Squadron with 113 kg bombs were sent to attack a large transport near Cherbourg under the cover of two Spitfire squadrons. The transport could not be found, but the Whirlbombers attacked four German armed ships and sank two of them, and two more severely damaged.

The last, the 112th serial "Whirlwind" rolled off the stocks of the Yeovil plant in January 1942. Thus, 114 aircraft were produced, including prototypes.

During World War II, only three squadrons of the RAF were equipped with the new British aircraft, but despite its success as a fighter and attack aircraft, the Whirlwind was decommissioned in 1943.

Photo Description

Drawing Westland Whirlwind

Westland Whirlwind P6984 at 1941


  • "New Aircraft Types", /Flight, p. 664, 21 June 1945/
  • "British Secret Projects: Fighters and Bombers 1935–1950." /Buttler, T. 2004/