B20 | Blackburn B40
Don | BP
P100 | Venom |
Paul P100 Ground Attack Aircraft
Boulton Paul P100 was an unbuilt
project for a ground-attack aircraft to a draft Air Ministry
specification (unnumbered) of March 1942. The P100 was the most
advanced and unorthodox of the many designs the aircraft industry
responded with. It had a canard - pusher layout to give the pilot the
best possible view and would have had an armament of 40mm and 20mm
cannons along with bombs and rockets. The performance specified by the
Air Ministry was not that very high, only 280 mph was asked for,
stressing the over-riding need was for the accuracy of delivery of its
weapons. To protect the pilot from being shreaded by the pusher prop in
the event of having to bale out a sprung arm acted as a crude ejection
system to swing him clear, although it ejected him downwards!
Not a direction to be flung in when flying a low altitude hedge-hopping
ground attack aircraft! One would have to hope any stricken
would have had time to gain a bit of height before the pilot exited.
Paul themselves thought the P100 might have been too advanced to get
into production and service by the time the 2nd Front started and they
put forward a less advanced twin-boom layout (P99) and even a biplane
(P101) which would have used two sets of Defiant wings to speed
the RAF never adopted a dedicated ground-attack aircraft in World War
II, instead using fighters such as the Typhoon, Hurricane and Spitfire
in the role. This policy continued into the post-war period with
Meteors, Vampires and Hunters all being used for ground -attack. Having
waited so long for an aircraft specifically designed for ground-attack
the RAF then suddenly got two at much the same time; the Harrier
the policy of using rocket firing Typhoons for ground-attack was
thought superior to the Soviets use of dedicated ground-attack aircraft
with heavy anti-tank cannons. However reappraisals of the actual
casualties to German armour caused by the Typhoons compared with Soviet
Stormovik attacks and the use of 40mm cannon from Hurricanes in the
Western Desert has led many to suggest that the RAF might have been
better to adopt a gun armed design such as the P100.
mind that if it had gone into production the P100 might not have got
into service in time to see combat I've painted it in an ambiguous
mode; you could interpret the picture as P100s attacking Panther tanks
in the war, but you
could also see it as P100s practising on a range in Western Germany in
the late 40's using the hulks of Panthers as targets.
Strangely, in the late 1980's British Aerospace designed an aircraft
for close-air support and to shoot down enemy battlefield helicopters
that was very close in layout to the BP P100, although much smaller.
Called the P1233 SABA,
(Small Agile Battlefield Aircraft) it was powered by a
rather than a piston engine. Like the P100 it never reached production.
Perhaps if the P100 had been built it might have stayed in service
through the Korean war and on into the early 1960s, like the US Douglas
Skyraider. Maybe there would
be a turboprop successor still flying with the RAF today?
got to admit such a weapons system would not be totally inappropriate
for the some of todays modern conflicts.
British Aerospace P1233 SABA project on Flightglobals archive