Miles M.23 "Milefire"
British 1941 high-speed fighter
KIT PARTS photo, clear canopy included
In 1941 a proposal was submitted to the Ministry of Aircraft Production for a high-speed single-seat fighter powered initially by a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine, then in full production, and later by a more powerful Rolls-Royce Griffon as soon as it became available. The aircraft was of wood construction with the exception of the wing spars, which were of metal. It was fitted with a reversed tricycle undercarriage, the rear unit of which was provided with two positions, giving either a horizontal or a taildown attitude to the fuselage. The main undercarriage units folded inwards into the wings, giving a wide track. In order to reduce frontal area, the windscreen and canopy were very low indeed. To enable the pilot to have adequate view for take-off and landing, he could raise his seat, the top of the canopy hinging up to form a windscreen as in the Master. The wing was of elliptical planform, the root thickness being 0.2c. Armament consisted of eight .303 Browning guns together with 500 rounds of ammunition per gun instead of the 300 provided on contemporary fighters. Alternatively, two 20 mm Hispano- Suiza cannon could be fitted. The wing area was substantially less than on existing fighters, being only 185 sq ft as compared with 242 on the Spitfire and 258 on the Hurricane, and the wing loading was accordingly higher. The M.23 was not ordered, possibly because it was of wooden construction and possibly because the Ministry did not believe that, even with a Griffon engine, a speed of 470 mph would be attainable with a 20 per cent thick wing.