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Westland Whirlwind Variants and Projects

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Hi folks,

Some pics I recently came across of different armament rials for the Westland Whirlwind:

12 x 0.303:



1 x 37mm cannon:





Apologies if already posted.

Regards,

Greg
 

Kadija_Man

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Interesting bulges on the cannon armed variant. They are suggestive of a somewhat complex feed mechanism/path for the ammunition.

I've always thought it was a great pity the Whirlwind wasn't developed further. Perhaps with a slightly deeper fuselage (for more fuel) and Merlins, it would have been quite a winner. The Welkin gives some idea of what I mean.
 

smurf

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Some quotes re the cannon:Westland Whirlwind described. Bruce Robertson
Caption to Rickshaw's last photo:
Close-up of the experimental 37mm cannon installation
Armament of British aircraft 1909-1939 HF King (Putnam) p451
A now-familiar photograph of a Whirlwind, stated to be armed experimentally with a 37-mm gun (a caption endorsed by Westland themselves) appears to show, in reality, a 20-mm Hispano gun associated with a prominent lateral bulge. Other bulges of the same kind are in evidence and the lengthened and redesigned nose with which this installation was associated may well have been occasioned by revised feeding arrangements.
Westland, a history DN James p100
Armament experts cannot agree whether or not a single 40mm cannon installation was flow,
But on p99 there is a photo of nose armament trials with a 20mm cannon and two 0.303 machine guns [the mg's are alongside the cannon, in small fairings - smurf]
Planemakers 2 Westland D Mondey p111 listing special armament variants
5. A single large calibre cannon mounted slightly offset to port. the manufacture of this weapon is uncertain and whether it was of 37mm or 40mm calibre is also not clear.

Certainly the cannon in the posted pictures does not look big enough to be 37 or 40mm, but could well be a trial for such an installation?

In general, the Whirlwind was a small aircraft (especially to carry 4x20mm in the nose in 1940. Petter had designed it very tight around two RR Peregrines, which were not required for much else, a bit temperamental, and when war came got no attention as Rolls-Royce were heavily occupied with the Merlin. In 1940 Beaverbrook cancelled Peregrine development, and with it the Whirlwind. The timing was against this advanced design. (Compare Petter's later effort with the Gnat)
 

Justo Miranda

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Vickers-Armstrong 37 mm gun
please see
http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk/37-40mm.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COW_37_mm_gun

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westland_C.O.W._Gun_Fighter

http://users.skynet.be/Emmanuel.Gustin/history/NoAllowance.html

http://www.aviastar.org/air/england/west_f29-27.php

http://www.letletlet-warplanes.com/2008/07/09/vickers-type-161-cow-gun-fighter/

http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Hangar/8217/fgun/fgun-uf.html
 

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smurf

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Some interesting stuff in your links, JM, but I don't think it is at all likely that the Whirlwind ever carried the COW gun, which by 1940 would be thought to have a low rate of fire and limited ammunition capacity.
The gun was designed by Coventry Ordnance Works, not Vickers.
 

red admiral

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I'm pretty sure that Tony Williams has looked into the issue a bit more and couldn't find anything on the 37mm gun that was supposed to be employed. The COW gun is very old and wouldn't really seem to fit the role. I'm fairly sure the weapon used in tests was a 20mm HS.

A proposed Whirlwind Mk II had a lengthened nose with the 4x20mm in a horizontal line with belt feed mechanisms and 120rpg. Another version had the 4x20mm and 3x0.303" with 400rpg
 

Avimimus

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So we have:
- 12x303
- 2x303, 1xHS (standing in for a 37-40mm)
- 4xHS stacked 60 rpg
- 4xHS lateral 120 rpg
- 3x303, 4xHS??
 

smurf

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A proposed Whirlwind Mk II had a lengthened nose with the 4x20mm in a horizontal line
Mondey says that both "all level" and "outer guns further back" were considered, the latter producing smaller external bulges for the feeds.
 

airman

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"Development and delivery problems with the Peregrine engines along with a number of flying accidents and its high landing speed which restricted the number of airfields from which it could operate, resulted in Whirlwind production being ended in January 1942 after the completion of just 112 production aircraft. Westland campaigned for the creation of a Mk II model, initially designed around a more powerful 1,010 hp Peregrine which was aborted due to Rolls-Royce's cancellation of further development of the engine. Additional proposals by Petter similarly remained as "paper projects" and included re-engining with Bristol Hercules, American radials and even using two 1,400 hp Merlin XX engines, each concept being rejected by the Air Ministry."

extracted by wikipedia

i have searched on forum : i have found which armament was proposed thanks to red admiral ....

but anyone know if there are more details of this project ? Like photo or design !
 

smurf

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Have you checked whether James says any more in the Aeroplane Database referred to by Wiki?
 

red admiral

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I haven't seen any drawings of the designs.

The Mk II design basically added more power and more fuel for higher performance. I'm not sure what the increase in weight would do to the landing characteristics, the choice of airfields was already limited.
 

smurf

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I have looked up the half dozen books I have on Westland aircraft, two of them company histories by Derek James, and can find no mention of a Whirlwind MkII with engines other than Peregrines.
James' Putnam book for Westland is the only one I have which mentions a Mark II explicitly, and he discusses only the possibility of alternative nose armament, and complicated arrangements for additional fuel.
There was Westland project to F.19/40 which was to use the Bristol Hercules
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,6811.0/highlight,westland+whirlwind.html
but that was a single-engined project.
This looks a bit odd to me. Can anyone clarify from the "Aeroplane database" 2006, quoted by Wiki? Or has Wiki got its wires crossed?
 

Nick Sumner

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The problem with the notion of a Whirlwind mark II is the extreme difference in almost every aspect of the aircraft design due to fitting much larger much heavier and much more powerful engines. A Whirlwind with Merlins is essentially a Whelkin - though probably without the high altitude capability - and that is a very different beast from a whirlwind. I hate to be a wet blanket but it seems unlikely that simply swapping the kestrels for merlins was truly viable without significant changes to the design of the airframe. IIRC in Victor Bingham's book about the whirlwind he notes the proposal made by the managing director of Westland to the air Ministry for a Merlin powered whirlwind (Forgive me I can't look it up right now because my books are all packed away in storage due to moving house) but it has been noted that this may have been a purely commercial proposition - ie designed to keep Westland in the fighter construction game rather than the licensed production of other manufacturers types. But that doesn't mean the project would have been successful and going by the Whelkin it seems probable that it would have been quite unsuccessful.
 

smurf

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Much sense in that. If an aircraft is designed as the smallest airframe possible around a given engine, there are obvious difficulties in fitting the same design with larger ones, Spitfire notwithstanding. The Whirlwind was a small aeroplane to have two engines.
 
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joncarrfarrelly

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The Merlin isn't actually dimensionally much larger than the Peregrine, the big differences are displacement and weight.

Peregrine:
Length 73.6"; width 27.1"; height 41.0"; weight 1,140 lbs.
Displacement 1,296 cu in.

Merlin (single-speed, single-stage supercharger, general dimensions - details vary by Mark):
Length 69"; width 29.8"; height 41.2"; weight 1,375 lbs.
Displacement 1,637 cu in.

Merlin (two-speed, single-stage supercharger, general dimensions - details vary by Mark):
Length 71"; width 29.8"; height 43.0"; weight 1,450 lbs.
Displacement 1,637 cu in.

Accommodating the increased width and weight would require a bit of rearrangement. ;)

Jon
 

smurf

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airman posted
"paper projects" and included re-engining with Bristol Hercules, American radials and even using two 1,400 hp Merlin XX engines,
One problem with Merlins is that everyone else wanted them, including Beaufighters which were a twin-engined fighter of a different order - 2 seats,able to carry radar etc. But how do the radials fit in place of Peregrines?
 

Pepe Rezende

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smurf said:
airman posted
"paper projects" and included re-engining with Bristol Hercules, American radials and even using two 1,400 hp Merlin XX engines,
One problem with Merlins is that everyone else wanted them, including Beaufighters which were a twin-engined fighter of a different order - 2 seats,able to carry radar etc. But how do the radials fit in place of Peregrines?
In my opinion the best candidate for a replacement was the Taurus as in the Gloster F9/37 project. They could be faster and less vulnerable. Another good candidate was the P&W Twin Wasp.
 

Spark

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Pepe Rezende said:
smurf said:
airman posted
"paper projects" and included re-engining with Bristol Hercules, American radials and even using two 1,400 hp Merlin XX engines,
One problem with Merlins is that everyone else wanted them, including Beaufighters which were a twin-engined fighter of a different order - 2 seats,able to carry radar etc. But how do the radials fit in place of Peregrines?
In my opinion the best candidate for a replacement was the Taurus as in the Gloster F9/37 project. They could be faster and less vulnerable. Another good candidate was the P&W Twin Wasp.
Was the Taurus was considered at the design stage?

A few observations,
The bigger Mk2 Peregrine with greater overall length would have weighed more.
Plus more power equals larger radiators, bigger airscrew more weight.
A Merlin powered Whirlwind would have outperformed all other fighters of all other nations of the time hence lower attrition rate needs less engines.
Petter wanted the Whirlwind production airframe adapted to take the Merlin pre-war and right up to the final production aircraft. He was the designer and thought it possible.
The airframe was the smallest for a pilot with the aerodynamic Peregrine nacelles large enough to fit Merlins with room to spare.
The other alternative considered by Petter before production ceased was the use of two of Whittle's early jets.
So we have the vision of a 400mph plus Fighter for the Battle of Britain plus a 500mph Whirlwind for 1942.
 

smurf

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Thanks, Spark. Very interesting. What is your source, please?
 

Spark

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smurf said:
Thanks, Spark. Very interesting. What is your source, please?

There is a model of the Peregrine at RR Heritage at Derby with bigger backend, estimate about a foot a longer. As a rule of thumb more power bigger engine more weight.
The Whirlwind was reputed to be better than the Bf109 and possibly the Spitfire up to about 14,000ft given that the Merlin would overcome the Peregrines shortcomings and give better altitude performances and flying in 1939 what else was there?

The airframe being kept similar, so the gain in top speed and viable combat altitude would have been significant. This is opinion but seems reasonable.

Range might have been a problem but extra tankage plus drop tanks would have helped.

I think Victor Bingham’s book gives a drawing of the Whirlwind engine configuration and given Jon’s measurements there seems to be plenty of room however given the RRH model the Mk2 would probably have needed a longer nacelle and the turning moment with the engine set forward would be interesting.

The same book mentions the proposed Merlin variant as have other more obscure publications.

A discussion on the subject broadcast by the BBC some fifty plus years ago when a rather pompous sounding gentleman said it was not possible to fit the Merlin to which another said yes it was, he had worked at Westland’s at the time and that Petter had wanted to do it before the War.
So from a UK perspective before September 1939.

This aroused my interest in what was a very beautiful purposeful looking aircraft and what it should have become. I have come to believe that there were at least three occasions when the Merlin variant was put forward because it was the best use of an existing production facility but still refused by the Ministry. Blocked by the cartel?

There is a book about the history of the Westland Company that mentions the “jet powered” Whirlwind variant, this was the very first Westland jet fighter proposal and was to have used the existing production line.

Similar too, but before the Heinkel?
 

smurf

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Thanks again. Bingham's book was published at a time when I was very busy, and I've never read it. Perhaps I should. The Whirlwind was one of he first Airfix plastic kits I built, and I've always had a soft spot for it.
 

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Got this a while back

Called "Developing the Whirlwind" the bulk of the article just covers the run-of-the mill stuff about the F37/35 and the design of the Whirlwind. It is stresses that the decision to drop the Peregrine was made by Rolls - Royce simply so that they could concentrate on the Merlin and Griffon - Rolls Royce are quoted as saying "Further production of Peregrines would have entailed the loss of two Merlins for every Peregrine".

What is of particular interest is the revelation that before it was dropped a "developed" version of the Peregrine was mooted by Rolls-Royce, giving a power increase of 15% - Not told of the decision to axe the Peregrine, Westland designed a "Whirlwind Mk II" around the more powerful engine- It made use of a redesigned nose that had been test flown on an existing Whirlwind - It was lengthened to allow the cannons to be grouped in a line with larger 120 round magazines for each - there was a room for an extra fuel tank in the nose giving an increase in fuel of 20%. - The extra power of the engines was calculated to give an increase in top speed (at 20,000 ft) to 422 mph.

The extra power of the engines would have decreased the take-off run from 600yds to 540 (the original Whirlwind was at a disadvantage in being unable to use some of the RAFs smaller airfields) - A Mk II Whirlwind would also have fixed the problem with the fuel systems on both engines being separate (with fuel from one unable to be diverted to the other in the event of an engine failure).

The performance estimates for the new design were... (These figures were produced in May 1940)

Top speed (20,000 ft) 422 mph (an increase from 390 mph on the "Mk I" which was acheived at a lower altitude of 15,000 ft)
Range - 900 miles (on internal fuel)

The article gives a full performance estimate for the Mark II with top speeds at various altitudes compared with the "Mk I" Whirlwind - Rate of climb was particularly expected to improve - reaching 30,000 ft in 12.8 minutes compared to 24 minutes for the Mk I.

Re the Whirlwinds top speed - The top speed of the Whirlwind MK1 that went into production was 360 mph at 15.000 ft - However in the Spring of 1940 an entire Whirlwind was mounted in Farnborough's wind tunnel to see if any simple improvements could cut down drag - These identified some areas that could be improved and it was considered that an additional 15 - 20 mph would be gained. At the same time the replacement of the existing engine radiators with the new "film" type radiator which had much less drag would also push up the top speed*. - These were improvements that did not merit the use of a new Mark number but were expected to be introduced on future production batches of the Mk I - These and other minor improvements give rise to the figure of a top speed of 390 mph at 15,000 ft for the Mk I when compared with 422 mph at 20,000 ft expected for the Mk II. So it must be stressed that the figure of 390 mph was not the top speed of any of the Whirlwinds that actually saw service.

The picture is from an edition of Air Enthusiast showing the Prototype "Mk I" Whirlwind L6844 fitted with the lengthened nose for the increased cannon magazine armament and extra fuel tank.

he
 

smurf

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Again, many thanks. And again, where did it come from, please?
 

Spark

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smurf said:
Again, many thanks. And again, where did it come from, please?

PMN1,
Very interesting, do you recall the increase in AUW, maybe to about 12,000lb or just over?
With an available Merlin in 1940 one could suggest another 15% power output for an overall 4% increase in weight over the MK2 . So with out the refinements a comfortable top speed of 420mph. for the Spring of 1940? With the refinements, say 440mph.for the start of 1941? All this given that Petter had been allowed to change to the Merlin pre-war.
Just a thought but when did theFw190 make its appearance?

Pepe,
I agree the Taurus would have been an interesting alternative with maybe a higher cruising speed.. At the very beginning a Bristol engine version was looked at; was the Taurus one of the original alternatives? I forget!

Maybe the RR Exe giving a cruising speed of about 350mph for 1939/40 would have been interesting and resistant to battle damage as well?

Smurf,
The joy of those early Airfix kits in those plastic bags! Was it 1/3d for an early aircraft kit or was that for the small ships?
Spitfire, Gladiator and the Whirlwind all at less than two shillings each! 6new p. for a model!
 

JohnR

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Spark, your bringing back memories; I don't quite go back to the 3/6d days - it went out before I understood money (still got a little pocket purse somewhere with samples in them), talking about Airfix kits, any holiday in Blackpool was not complete without two things, going looking in Lewis's window at the giant Lego Display, and going in Woolworth's; the big one on the front, to lust after the Airfix models. I always wanted one of the BIG ones, all I ever came away with was the little ones in bags; which I think were 50p or my ultimate one a snap together Bismark! My mum hated them as they "gathered dust", I would have them for a while and then they would mysteriously have accidents or disappear.

I do have very fond memories of my Dad buying me a Vosper MTB and a double kit with a Spitfire and an ME-110. I discovered that the MTB could actually float, so they regularly went into the bath with me and more than once I got out of the bath with either an RAF roundel or a German cross stuck to my arse.

Sorry if I have digressed too much.

Regards.
 

smurf

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I seem to have sent folk off at a tangent! My HMS Hood gathered dust for years.
 

mz

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airman said:
... its high landing speed which restricted the number of airfields from which it could operate, resulted in Whirlwind production being ended in January 1942 after the completion of just 112 production aircraft...
Wouldn't this have prevented any weight increasing changes? An enlarged wing or perhaps new high lift devices would have been necessary.

Also, there was somewhere talk about the low chord wing having problems at altitude, since the already low Reynolds number drops even lower as density decreases. So only changing the engines might not improve the high altitude performance that much...
 

Spark

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mz said:
airman said:
... its high landing speed which restricted the number of airfields from which it could operate, resulted in Whirlwind production being ended in January 1942 after the completion of just 112 production aircraft...
Wouldn't this have prevented any weight increasing changes? An enlarged wing or perhaps new high lift devices would have been necessary.

Also, there was somewhere talk about the low chord wing having problems at altitude, since the already low Reynolds number drops even lower as density decreases. So only changing the engines might not improve the high altitude performance that much...
Planemakers:2 Westland by David Mondey lists a early jet version that was proposed with
2x Whittle W 2.B turbojets.
One or two pilots have written of their experiences with the Whirlwind and on occasion references are made to having landed at smaller airfields with out any problems.
Would the weight increase have been more than offset by the extra power and more rapid acceleration?
 

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Hi
Just to add to the thread, the merlin whirlwind is mentioned in binghams book and in records at the NA in kew.
Basically westland offered the whirlwind with merlin xx, after quote undercarriage retraction problems had been solved.

So therefore the airframe could cope with, merlin weight and power.

American engines, for there are two options, petter did not like radials, (although they could be an option), more likely is the allison V-1710 c-15 engines fitted to the p-38, p-40B,C tomahawks
cheers
Jerry
 
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brewerjerry

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PMN1 said:
The picture is from an edition of Air Enthusiast showing the Prototype "Mk I" Whirlwind L6844 fitted with the lengthened nose for the increased cannon magazine armament and extra fuel tank.

he
Hi
From a previous discussion on another forum the general opinion is the photo shows cannon fitted to the photo-recce nose.
The drawing of the MKII nose at the na in kew does match up with the bumps, so the assumption is as westlands wanted to try our the all in line cannon installation, they just modified a then redundant-spare PR nose.
cheers
Jerry
 

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Westland Whirlwind fighter for the Fleet Air Arm

Hi All,
I have misplaced a reference of westlands trying to sell the whirlwind to the navy for the FAA, and wondered if anyone else has seen any info on this.( I think my file is in the bottom of the pile in the garage..)
Also wondered if it reached the sketch stage, I am interested in where the tail hook would have been fitted.
cheers
Jerry
 

Spark

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[/quote]

Hi,
How would a Allison powered Whirlwind have compared? Could it have been built in the States?
 

brewerjerry

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Hi
An interesting question, only lead might be that a whirlwind P6994 was shipped to the USA in 1942 for the USN, a rarther garbled trail then happens, but eventually in 1944 it turned up NAS Pensecola, then apparently to a florida scrapyard as it never came back.

It is possible thou' that at one time a tailhook might have been fitted.

Sadly no photos have emerged of P6994 in the US, but I have found quite a few who saw the a/c there.

For me the search for records continues in 2010...

cheers
Jerry
 

brewerjerry

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Re: Westland Whirlwind fighter for the Fleet Air Arm

Hi Joe,
I was trying to be lazy, as no one seems to have any info and you are interested, I will try to get to the bottom of the pile in the garage and post details here, hopefully within a few days.
can't remember the source at present but know I have a photocopy of it.
cheers
Jerry
 

brewerjerry

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Re: Westland Whirlwind fighter for the Fleet Air Arm

Hi
Just an update, I had no luck so far in finding the notes, but came across a reference in ' interceptor fighters for the royal air force ' page 180 ..

... the whirlwind .. As 1940 was ending westland at last agreed to fitting merlin XXII 's to a six gun version ...

Anyone heard of this before ? (or was this preliminary welkin discussions).

I knew about a project with merlin XX but it was supposedly only four 20mm,
still searching thro' the garage..
cheers
Jerry
 

merlin

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Re: Westland Whirlwind fighter for the Fleet Air Arm

Sorry, but - one - not read of this before, and - two - don't think it credible. The Whirlwind suffered from a long take-off & landing, it will need a strong catapult to send it aloft. Moreover, although it has many fans because it looks good, "Servicing personnel found many things to complain about. The hydraulic and pneumatic systems were particularly difficult to maintain in good order; twelve man-hours were needed to change on wheel; the Exactor hydraulic engine controls, as in other aircraft types, were difficult to maintain and were also dislike by pilots........."
Source: The Lion Has Wings by L F E Coombs
 

oz rb fan

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Re: Westland Whirlwind fighter for the Fleet Air Arm

brewerjerry said:
Hi
Just an update, I had no luck so far in finding the notes, but came across a reference in ' interceptor fighters for the royal air force ' page 180 ..

... the whirlwind .. As 1940 was ending westland at last agreed to fitting merlin XXII 's to a six gun version ...

Anyone heard of this before ? (or was this preliminary welkin discussions).

I knew about a project with merlin XX but it was supposedly only four 20mm,
still searching thro' the garage..
cheers
Jerry
jerry
do you have any information on the martin baker designed replacment nose for the whirlwind?
the one with (iirc)12 303's?
paul
 

brewerjerry

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Re: Westland Whirlwind fighter for the Fleet Air Arm

Hi
12 gun nose yes, and the MKII nose,
But nothing on the single cannon nose, ( only letters about it ).
The stuff is on my other computer, pm your e mail and I will send it.
cheers
Jerry
 

brewerjerry

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Hi All,
Just browsing some files and realised although there are some letters on the 40mm cannon suggestion for the whirlwind, I have never seen any drawings or photos of any mock-up.
Anyone know the actual layout of the installation, or seen any drawings, photos, etc...
cheers,
jerry
 

Jemiba

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In the 4+ Whirlwid issue is a photo of a Whirlwind with a non-standard nose. The description
says, "a 20mm Hispano cannon is installed to represent a larger caliber (37mm or 40m gun was
considered)
 

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