Boulton Paul P.92 - Development


Specification F.11/37 called for a fighter capable of day and night operations, that could operate in the ground support role. Armament was to be four 20 mm (.79 in) cannons in a power operated turret and a single 250 lb (113 kg) bomb in an internal bomb bay. The turret was also expected to be aerodynamically faired to meet the wing so as not to unduly affect performance. The aircraft was expected to be able to have a speed of 370 mph (595 km/h) at 15,000 ft (4,572 m), with a service ceiling of 35,000 ft (10,668 m) and manage an endurance of two and a half hours.

Boulton Paul was awarded a contract for two prototypes of the design, the first using Rolls Royce Vulture and the second employing the Napier Sabre - both big high power engines (1,800 hp/1,342 kW and 2,000 hp/1,491 kW respectively). In November 1938, a third example was ordered, which was to be powered by the Sabre, while the first two would be powered by the Vulture. The wing span of the P.92 was to have been 62 ft 5 in (19 m). The contract was cancelled in May 1940.

Following wind tunnel tests on a 2/7 scale model at Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough, a contract was given to Heston Aircraft Company in May 1939 to build a half-scale piloted flying model aircraft named the P.92/2, with serial V3142. The P.92/2 was fitted with Gipsy Major engines, and was completed in early 1941. The first flight, at Heston Aerodrome, was made by Boulton Paul's chief test pilot Flight Lieutenant Cecil Feather.

The P.92/2 was subsequently flown to Boulton Paul's airfield at Wolverhampton, and in June 1943 it went to the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment at Boscombe Down for flight testing and assessments. V3142 was later used by Boulton Paul as a 'runabout'.

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