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Hawker Tornado

The Hawker Tornado was a British single-seat fighter aircraft design of World War II for the Royal Air Force as a replacement for the Hawker Hurricane.

The planned production of Tornados was cancelled after the engine it was designed to use, the Rolls-Royce Vulture, proved unreliable in service.

Shortly after the Hawker Hurricane entered service,

Hawker began work on its eventual successor.

Two alternative projects were undertaken: the Type N (for Napier), with a Napier Sabre engine, and the Type R (for Rolls-Royce), equipped with a Rolls-Royce Vulture powerplant.

Hawker presented an early draft of its ideas to the Air Ministry which advised that a specification for such a fighter was likely to be presented soon.

The specification was released by the ministry as Specification F.18/37 after further prompting from Hawker.

The specification called for a single-seat fighter armed with twelve 0.303 in (7.7 mm) machine guns, a maximum speed of 400 mph (644 km/h) at 15,000 ft (4,600 m) and a service ceiling of 35,000 ft (10,700 m) were required.

Two prototypes of both the Type N and R were ordered on 3 March 1938.

Both prototypes were very similar to the Hurricane in general appearance and shared some of its construction techniques.

The front fuselage used the same swaged and bolted duralumin tube structure, which had been developed by Sydney Camm and Fred Sigrist in 1925.

The new design featured automobile-like side-opening doors for entry and used a large 40 ft (12 m) wing that was much thicker in cross-section than those on aircraft like the Spitfire.

The rear fuselage, from behind the cockpit, differed from that of the Hurricane in that it was a duralumin, semi-monocoque, flush-riveted structure.

The all-metal wings incorporated the legs and wheel-bays of the wide-track, inward-retracting main undercarriage.

The two models were also very similar to each other; the R plane had a rounder nose profile and a ventral radiator, whereas the N had a flatter deck and a chin-mounted radiator.

The fuselage of the Tornado ahead of the wings was 12 in (30 cm) longer than that of the Typhoon, the wings were fitted 3 in (76 mm) lower on the fuselage, and the radiator was located beneath the fuselage.

The X-24-cylinder configuration of the Vulture required two sets of ejector exhaust stacks on each side of the cowling, and that the engine was mounted further forward than the Sabre in order to clear the front wing spar.

In order to avoid upsetting the Hurricane lines, production was sub-contracted to Avro in Manchester and Cunliffe-Owen Aircraft in Eastleigh, with orders for 1,760 and 200 respectively being placed in 1939.

However, only one of these aircraft, from Avro, was ever built and flown, this being R7936.

Shortly after its first flight at Woodford, on 29 August 1941, the Vulture program was abandoned, followed closely by the cancellation of the Tornado order.

At that time four aircraft were at various stages of production at the Avro plant at Yeadon, West Yorkshire.





32 ft 10 in (10.01 m)


41 ft 11 in (12.78 m)


14 ft 8 in (4.47 m)

Wing area

283 sq ft (26.3 m2)



NACA 2219


NACA 2213

Empty weight

8,377 lb (3,800 kg)

Gross weight

9,520 lb (4,318 kg)

Max take-off weight

10,668 lb (4,839 kg)

Fuel capacity

140 imp gals (168 US gal; 636 l)


1 × Rolls-Royce Vulture II X-24 liquid-cooled piston engine,

1,760 hp (1,310 kW)


1x 1,980 hp (1,476 kW) Rolls-Royce Vulture V


1x 2,210 hp (1,648 kW) Bristol Centaurus CE 4S


3-bladed de Havilland Hydromatic constant-speed propeller, 14 ft 0 in (4.27 m) diameter


Maximum speed

398 mph (641 km/h, 346 kn) at 23,000 ft (7,010 m) (Vulture V)

Service ceiling

34,900 ft (10,600 m)

Time to altitude

20,000 ft (6,100 m) in 7 minutes 12 seconds

Wing loading

37.7 lb/sq ft (184 kg/m2)


0.1858 hp/lb (0.3055 kW/kg)



Provision for 12 × .303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns


4 × 20 mm Hispano cannon.




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