posted on Nov, 22 2005 @ 05:47 PM
You notice the subtle difference? With Britain being a much smaller country ruled by a much less ambitious Govt I decide to widen the appeal of this
thread by going for combat aircraft. Now, this actually makes the choice VERY difficult indeed as Britain has a much more illustrious record of
producing fine warplanes than you might think, so here goes;
1 Supermarine Spitfire - yes, blah blah blah. What can I say that I haven't already in other threads, the most beautiful killing machine ever built
and a national treasure, so quickly moving on'
2 D H Mosquito - this high speed bomber carried the same payload as standard medium bombers like the Wellington and even early series B-17's and yet
was the fastest military aeroplane in the world too. Introduced the modern concept of a strike aircraft for the first time.
3 Avro Lancaster - heaviest bomb load carrier of the entire war (just matched by the B-29 in 1945) this versatile bomber flew every type of raid from
high altitude strategic bombing to such as the dambusters raid at just 60ft, remarkable
4 EE Canberra - the first British jet bomber, designed to replace the Mosquito it inherited that types fighter like handling and high performance,
though that advantage was short lived in the jet age. So impressive was the Canberra that a trio of US bomber prototypes were scrapped and the
Canberra adopted by the USAF who still flew it on combat missions in the Vietnam war, one of the all time greats.
5 BAC Lightning - Fastest aircraft ever flown by the RAF, this was both the worlds only pure interceptor fighter and the worlds fastest climbing
interceptor until the F-15 entered service 15 years after it, proof of what the UK Industry might have acheived if it had been allowed to develop,
which reminds me..........
6 BAC TSR 2 - Yes, only one of these was ever flown, but that was not the fault of the aircraft. A mach 2.5 (mach 3 depending on engine development)
long range strike bomber this aircraft was the most advanced in the world by a mile when it flew in 1965, in many ways it was superior to the Tornado
which was built in its place ten years later and would almost certainly STILL be the standard RAF strike aircraft today ( in a developed form) had it
progressed to service instead of being cancelled.
7 HS Harrier - just as the F-15 has remained virtually untouched for thirty years, so it is with the Harrier, the only one of a plethora of VSTOL
fighter projects of the 50's 60's and 70's to be successfully deployed into service. Later further developed by HSA and McDonnell Douglas (BAE and
Boeing) even todays GR.9 is still basically the same aircraft that flew in 1966 as the P.1127RAF.
8. BAE Hawk - an unusual choice in that it was designed and developed as a trainer, the Hawk has been one of the outstanding success stories of the UK
industry over the last 30 years. It is the mount of the Red Arrows of course, it is the standard trainer of the USN, beating several home grown US
designs to win the order. But it is also an excellent light tactical fighter that is available in both single seat and two seat forms and can carry a
greater weapons load than a Canberra bomber, despite being less than 1/3 the size and single engined.
9 Hawker Hurricane - underrated and even often fortgotten contemporary of the Spitfire, it was more manouverable and much easier to build and repair.
The Hurricane shot down more enemy aircraft in the Battle of Britain than all other defences combined, it was also versatile serving as a ground
attack aircraft with bombs and rockets and as a tankbuster with heavy calibre cannon, served throughout WW2 on several fronts.
10 Blackburn Buccaneer - very advanced low level strike aircraft designed for the Royal Navy, employed 'machined from solid' construction which
avoided fatigue failures and allowed for extreme manouverability at low level, was the first aircraft to use blown flaps for STOL operations allowing
it to be operated from Britains small carrier decks despite being almost as long as a Lancaster. Foisted upon an unwelcoming RAF after the
cancellation of the F-111K, it proved itself to be the better aircraft and much faster at low level than the US type, leading one RAF Bucc pilot to be
quoted, upon the receipt of the very first RAF Tornadoes in 1982, as saying "the only acceptable replacement for a Buccaneer is a new Buvccaneer".