By Christopher Chant

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However, nothing can conceal the type's versatility as a first-rate interceptor with its four-cannon gun armament, or as a fighter-bomber/ground-attack fighter with its cannon and underwing armament of 2,000 lb (907 kg) of bombs or eight 60-lb (27-kg) rockets. 000 lb (907 kg) of bombs or eight devastating 60-lb (27-kg) rocket projectiles. The rocket projectiles gave the aircraft a weight of fire equivalent to the broadside of a light cruiser. The culmination of Hawker's huge experience with single-seat single-engined fighters, stretching right back to the early 1920s and taking in such classic types as the still : VA as a Below: It 1939-1961/51 was standard practice in the Second World War to relegate obsolescent fighters to secondary theatres, where they could perform usefully until the enemy sent in some fully up-to-date aircraft.

Also different was the armament, for the British had decided that cannon were not yet ready for combat use, and instead opted for a battery of no fewer than eight rifle-calibre machine-guns to provide the volume of fire necessary to cripple an opposing bomber in the short time it could be kept in the pilot's reflector gunsight. The first definitive model of the Spitfire was the Mk lA, which played an important part in the Battle of Britain. This was powered by a 1,030-hp (768-kW) Merlin III, and could reach a maximum speed of 362 fighter f As befitted an interceptor designed to work within the British 1939-1961/45 46/THE FIGHTER 1939-1961 Supermarine Spitfire Mk IXs of No.

303-in) machine-guns. Both fighters were just right for Japan's offensive campaigns of 1941 and 1942, but then their failings were revealed as the Allies went over to the counteroffensive: no growth potential had been a drop tank). they proved generally incapable of accepting more powerful engines, stronger armament and the features (armour protection, self-sealing fuel tanks etc) so necessary in contemporary combat against the steady improvements being made to Allied types. built into the aircraft, so THE FIGHTER Improvements were made in the A6M and Ki-43, while newer types such as the Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien (Swallow), Nakajima Ki-44 and Nakajima Ki-84 were introduced to army service.

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Warplanes by Christopher Chant
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