The Hawker Tornado, designed for the Royal Air Force during World War II, was initially intended to replace the Hawker Hurricane.  This fighter aircraft, due to its unreliable engine – the Rolls-Royce Vulture, had a short lived production, but paved the way for its replacement, the Hawker Hurricane.


The Tornado’s Short History

The initial flight for the WWII Tornado was in October of 1939.  This flight, along with subsequent flights, exposed some airflow difficulty around the radiator.  Corrections were made to this and other problems that arose, but the manufacturer, Hawker, was focusing on another aircraft – the Hurricane.  As a result, Hawker commissioned Avro to fulfill an order for 1,760 of the Tornado.  However, with just one Tornado off the production line, the Vulture engine it housed was discontinued and the order for the Tornado was cancelled shortly thereafter.

Though the design would go no further, this single seat fighter was capable of maintaining speeds up to 398 miles per hour at 23,300 feet using the Vulture engine and 402 miles per hour at 18,000 feet with the Centaurus.  Armament on the initial prototype for the Tornado included provisions for 12 x .303 in Browning machine guns.  The second prototype along with the few Centaurus prototypes manufactured, had 4 x 20 mm Hispano cannon.  In all, only four of the intended World War II Tornados ever made it off the production line, three of which were prototypes.