|Second prototype of the Miles M.20|
|Designer||Walter G. Capley|
|First flight||15 September 1940|
|Primary users|| Royal Air Force (intended)|
Fleet Air Arm (intended)
|Number built||2 prototypes|
|Developed from||Miles Master|
The Miles M.20 was a Second World War fighter developed by Miles Aircraft in 1940. It was designed as a simple and quick-to-build "emergency fighter" alternative to the Royal Air Force's Spitfires and Hurricanes should their production become disrupted by bombing expected in the anticipated German invasion of England. Due to dispersal of manufacturing, the Luftwaffe's bombing of the Spitfire and Hurricane factories did not seriously affect production, the M.20 proved unnecessary and the design was not pursued.
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
A fighter aircraft is a military aircraft designed primarily for air-to-air combat against other aircraft, as opposed to bombers and attack aircraft, whose main mission is to attack ground targets. The hallmarks of a fighter are its speed, maneuverability, and small size relative to other combat aircraft.
Miles was the name used to market the aircraft of British engineer Frederick George Miles, who, with his wife Blossom and his brother George Herbert Miles, designed numerous light civil and military aircraft and a range of curious prototypes. The name "Miles" is associated with two distinct companies that Miles was involved in, and is also affiliated with several designs produced before there was a company trading under the Miles name.
At the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, Miles Aircraft began work on a single-engined fighter to supplement the RAF's Spitfires and Hurricanes. A wooden mock-up of the design, the M20/1, was inspected by Sir Kingsley Wood, the Secretary of State for Air, but no orders followed.Following the outbreak of the Battle of Britain in July 1940, the Royal Air Force was faced with a potential shortage of fighters. To meet the Luftwaffe threat, the Air Ministry commissioned Miles to design a simple easy-to-build fighter to specification F.19/40. This became the Miles M.20/2. Nine weeks and two days later the first prototype flew.
Sir Howard Kingsley Wood was an English Conservative politician. The son of a Wesleyan Methodist minister, he qualified as a solicitor, and successfully specialised in industrial insurance. He became a member of the London County Council and then a Member of Parliament.
The Secretary of State for Air was a cabinet-level British position. The person holding this position was in charge of the Air Ministry. It was created on 10 January 1919 to manage the Royal Air Force. In 1946, the three posts of Secretary of State for War, First Lord of the Admiralty, and Secretary of State for Air became formally subordinated to that of Minister of Defence, which had itself been created in 1940 for the co-ordination of defence and security issues. On 1 April 1964, the Air Ministry was incorporated into the newly-created united Ministry of Defence, and the position of Secretary of State for Air was abolished.
The Battle of Britain was a military campaign of the Second World War, in which the Royal Air Force (RAF) defended the United Kingdom (UK) against large-scale attacks by Nazi Germany's air force, the Luftwaffe. It has been described as the first major military campaign fought entirely by air forces. The British officially recognise the battle's duration as being from 10 July until 31 October 1940, which overlaps the period of large-scale night attacks known as The Blitz, that lasted from 7 September 1940 to 11 May 1941. German historians do not accept this subdivision and regard the battle as a single campaign lasting from July 1940 to June 1941, including the Blitz.
To reduce production time the M.20 employed all-wood construction and used many parts from the earlier Miles Master trainer, lacked hydraulics, and had spatted fixed landing gear. The fixed undercarriage freed space and payload sufficient for twelve .303 Browning machine guns and 5000 rounds, and 154 Imperial gallons (700 litres) of fuel (double the range and ammunition capacity of the Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire).The M.20 was fitted with a bubble canopy for improved 360-degree vision.
The Miles M.9 Master was a British two-seat monoplane advanced trainer built by Miles Aircraft Ltd for the Royal Air Force and Fleet Air Arm during the Second World War. It went through a number of variants according to engine availability and was even modified as an emergency fighter during the Battle of Britain. It was a fast, strong and fully aerobatic aircraft which served as an excellent introduction to the high performance British fighter aircraft of the day: the Spitfire and Hurricane.
An aircraft fairing is a structure whose primary function is to produce a smooth outline and reduce drag.
Landing gear is the undercarriage of an aircraft or spacecraft and may be used for either takeoff or landing. For aircraft it is generally both. It was also formerly called alighting gear by some manufacturers, such as the Glenn L. Martin Company.
In line with a design philosophy emphasising simplicity, speed and re-using available components, the engine was a Rolls-Royce Merlin XX "power egg" identical to those used on Merlin-powered Avro Lancasters and Bristol Beaufighters. This conferred flight performance that fell between those of Britain's two frontline fighters.
The Rolls-Royce Merlin is a British liquid-cooled V-12 piston aero engine of 27-litres capacity. Rolls-Royce designed the engine and first ran it in 1933 as a private venture. Initially known as the PV-12, it was later called Merlin following the company convention of naming its piston aero engines after birds of prey.
The Avro Lancaster is a British four-engined Second World War heavy bomber. It was designed and manufactured by Avro as a contemporary of the Handley Page Halifax, both bombers having been developed to the same specification, as well as the Short Stirling, all three aircraft being four-engined heavy bombers adopted by the Royal Air Force (RAF) during the same wartime era.
The Bristol Type 156 Beaufighter is a multi-role aircraft developed during the Second World War by the Bristol Aeroplane Company in the United Kingdom. It was originally conceived as a heavy fighter variant of the Bristol Beaufort torpedo bomber. The Beaufighter proved to be an effective night fighter, which came into service with the Royal Air Force (RAF) during the Battle of Britain, its large size allowing it to carry heavy armament and early airborne interception radar without major performance penalties.
The first prototype, with the B-class serial U-9 first flew on 15 September 1940,and was tested at the A & AEE under the military serial number AX834 against Specification F.19/40. Armed with eight .303 Browning machine guns like the Hurricane, the M.20 prototype was faster than the Hurricane but slower than Spitfire types then in production, but carried more ammunition and had greater range than either. As the Luftwaffe had been defeated over Britain, the need for the M.20 had vanished and the design was abandoned without entering production. The first prototype was scrapped at Woodley.
United Kingdom aircraft test serials are used to externally identify aircraft flown within the United Kingdom without a full Certificate of Airworthiness. They can be used for testing experimental and prototype aircraft or modifications, pre-delivery flights for foreign customers and are sometimes referred to as "B" class markings.
The Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment (A&AEE) was a research facility for British military aviation from 1918 to 1992.
Woodley is a town and civil parish in Berkshire, England. It is the largest suburb of Reading, situated 4 miles (6.4 km) east of the town centre and is joined to the neighbouring large suburb of Earley, 2 miles (3.2 km) to the west, and 5 miles (8.0 km) from the historic market town of Wokingham. Nearby are the villages of Sonning, Twyford, Winnersh, Hurst and Charvil.
A second prototype, U-0228 (later DR616) was built to Specification N.1/41 for a Fleet Air Arm shipboard fighter, equipped with an arrestor hook and catapult launch points. It first flew on 8 April 1941.This variant could be launched by catapult aircraft merchant ships which lacked flight decks so the aircraft were to be ditched after their mission, and to facilitate this the undercarriage could be jettisoned. However, obsolete Hurricanes were modified to fill this role, which rendered a shipboard variant of the M.20 unnecessary. Consequently, this prototype was also scrapped.
The Fleet Air Arm (FAA) is one of the five fighting arms of the Royal Navy. and is responsible for the operation of naval aircraft. The Fleet Air Arm recently started operating the F-35 Lightning II in a Maritime Strike Role, the AW159 Wildcat and AW101 Merlin in both Commando and Anti-Submarine roles, and the BAE Hawk. Helicopters such as the Lynx and Westland Wasp were previously deployed on smaller vessels since 1964, taking over the roles once performed by biplanes such as the Fairey Swordfish.
CAM ships were World War II-era British merchant ships used in convoys as an emergency stop-gap until sufficient escort carriers became available. CAM ship is an acronym for catapult aircraft merchant ship.
Data fromThe British Fighter since 1912
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
The Hawker Hurricane is a British single-seat fighter aircraft of the 1930s–40s that was designed and predominantly built by Hawker Aircraft Ltd. for service with the Royal Air Force (RAF). It was overshadowed in the public consciousness by the Supermarine Spitfire's role during Battle of Britain in 1940, but the Hurricane actually inflicted 60 percent of the losses sustained by the Luftwaffe in the engagement, and it went on to fight in all the major theatres of the Second World War.
The Westland Welkin was a British twin-engine heavy fighter from the Westland Aircraft Company, designed to fight at extremely high altitudes, in the stratosphere; the word welkin meaning "the vault of heaven" or the upper atmosphere. First conceived in 1940, the plane was built in response to the arrival of modified Junkers Ju 86P bombers flying reconnaissance missions that suggested the Luftwaffe might attempt to re-open the bombing of England from high altitude. Construction was from 1942–43. The threat never materialised; consequently, Westland produced only a small number of Welkins and few of these flew.
The Heinkel He 51 was a German single-seat biplane which was produced in a number of different versions. It was initially developed as a fighter, a seaplane variant and a ground-attack version were also developed. It was a development of the earlier He 49.
The Blackburn B-25 Roc was a British Second World War-era Fleet Air Arm fighter aircraft designed by Blackburn Aircraft Ltd. It took its name from the mythical bird of the tales of the Arabian Nights, the Roc. Derived from the Blackburn Skua and developed in parallel, the Roc had its armament in a turret. The Roc came to be viewed as inferior to existing aircraft such as the Skua and the type had only brief front-line service.
The Boulton Paul Defiant is a British interceptor aircraft that served with the Royal Air Force (RAF) during World War II. The Defiant was designed and built by Boulton Paul Aircraft as a "turret fighter", without any forward-firing guns, also found in the Blackburn Roc of the Royal Navy.
The Blackburn B-24 Skua was a carrier-based low-wing, two-seater, single-radial engine aircraft operated by the British Fleet Air Arm which combined the functions of a dive bomber and fighter. It was designed in the mid-1930s and saw service in the early part of the Second World War. It took its name from the sea bird.
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. A parallel airframe with the Napier Sabre continued into production as the Hawker Typhoon.
The Hawker Hotspur was a Hawker Henley redesigned to take a Boulton-Paul semi-powered four gun turret. It was designed in response to Air Ministry Specification F.9/35, which required a powered turret as the main armament to replace the Hawker Demon.
The Gloster Gauntlet was a British single-seat biplane fighter of the RAF, designed and built by Gloster Aircraft in the 1930s. It was the last RAF fighter to have an open cockpit and the penultimate biplane fighter in service.
The Miles M.38 Messenger is a British four-seat liaison and private owner aircraft built by Miles Aircraft.
The Gloster F.9/37, also known as the Gloster G.39, was a British twin-engined design from the Gloster Aircraft Company for a cannon-armed heavy fighter to serve with the Royal Air Force, planned before the Second World War. The F.9/37 was rejected in favour of other designs.
The Miles M.28 Mercury was a British aircraft designed to meet the need for a training and communications plane during the Second World War. It was a single-engined monoplane of wooden construction with a twin tail and a tailwheel undercarriage with retractable main units.
The Corpo Aereo Italiano, or CAI, was an expeditionary force from the Italian Regia Aeronautica that participated in the Battle of Britain and the Blitz during the final months of 1940 during World War II. The CAI supported the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) and flew against the British Royal Air Force (RAF). The CAI achieved limited success during its brief existence, but it was generally hampered by the inadequacy of its equipment.
The Hawker Hurricane was a British single-seat fighter aircraft designed and predominantly built by Hawker Aircraft Ltd. Some versions were built in Canada by the Canada Car and Foundry Co Ltd
The Bristol Type 146 was a British single-seat, eight-gun fighter monoplane prototype built to a mid-1930s Air Ministry contract. Powered by a radial engine, it was outclassed by Merlin-engined fighters and only one was built.
The Miles M.35 or Miles Libellula was a tandem wing research aircraft built by Miles Aircraft as a precursor to a proposed naval carrier fighter. It was named after the Libellula, a genus of dragonflies.
The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft used by the Royal Air Force and other Allied countries before, during, and after World War II. Many variants of the Spitfire were built, using several wing configurations, and it was produced in greater numbers than any other British aircraft. It was also the only British fighter produced continuously throughout the war. The Spitfire continues to be popular among enthusiasts; nearly 60 remain airworthy, and many more are static exhibits in aviation museums throughout the world.
The Supermarine Type 324 and Type 325 were British two-engined fighter designs proposed as the replacement for the Supermarine Spitfire and Hawker Hurricane. Neither of them nor a revised design - the Type 327 - to carry cannon was accepted for development and production.
The Supermarine Spitfire was developed in the mid-1930s as a short-range, high-performance interceptor aircraft by chief designer R. J. Mitchell.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Miles M.20 .|