A troubled fighter that only redeemed itself later in the war as a fighter-bomber and, especially, a tankbuster. So goes the familiar view of the Hawker Typhoon. But, 80 years after its service entry with No 56 Squadron in September 1941, a more considered appraisal is possible. Just where did the Typhoon’s strengths and weaknesses lie?

Typhoon Ib EK286 was a presentation aircraft named Fiji V, photographed pre-delivery in April 1943.

The Hawker Typhoon, to many, is the great tankbuster of Normandy fame, while to others it is Sydney Camm’s failure whose tail fell off and had a poor engine. It is an odd dichotomy of thought that such a fine ground attack aircraft was hampered by glaring issues at either end of the airframe. Yet, 80 years on from the Typhoon’s arrival in RAF service, as you explore the nuances of those design decisions and its tankbusting record, its story becomes even more fascinating.

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