The Tempest was conceived of as a high-speed Typhoon, a fighter-bomber created by the Hawker company in 1941. The Typhoon had many deficiencies, such a heavy engine with insufficient structural strength, relatively low speed, poor maneuverability and climb rate, and because of these it could not compete with the latest fighter of the time, the German Focke-Wolf F.W.190. The Typhoon’s specialty was supporting ground troops. The Tempest inherited the traits of its older brother, but experts took into account Hawker’s negative experience and did their best to refine the aerodynamic shape of the new aircraft. The wing was slightly shorter, the profile more slender, and the back edge elliptical. To increase the plane’s short range, another fuel tank was added to the fuselage, which accounts for the increased length of the aircraft. The tail section was modified, as well, most noticeably by the addition of a vertical fin.
Due to the unavailability of Napier Sabre Mk.IV engine, which was supposed to keep the new plane from having the Typhoon’s “beard”, the same Sabre Mk.IIA engine (2180 hp) had to be installed. As a result, the Tempest Mk.V retained the “beard”, though in somewhat modified form. It kept the four-bladed De Havilland propeller screw, a standard for all Typhoons. On the first set of planes (100 units) the armament stayed unchanged, but subsequent fighters had the long-barreled Hispano Mk.II gun replaced with the more rapid and light Hispano Mk.V. The ammunition was increased from 140 to 150 rounds per gun. Thanks to the strength of its wings, the aircraft could carry a substantial bomb load, large fuel tanks, or eight 76mm unguided rockets. In general, the fighter turned out quite well and almost eliminated its predecessor’s shortcomings. It’s worth mentioning that it was the fastest fighter the RAF had in World War II, breaking 700 kilometers per hour.
The Tempest began to be used en masse during RAF’s Operation Overlord during the Allied landings in Normandy. Then came the first combat missions, showing that the plane had a significant advantage over the enemy at low altitudes. That’s what established the fighter’s main use - hunting VAU-1 cruise missiles. At the end of the war, the plane was used mainly to attack ground targets, although it even managed to shoot down some Me.262 jet fighters.
However, despite its advantages, the Tempest Mk.V was produced for the RAF in fairly modest amounts, with only 805 ever made. The plane simply didn’t have time to replace the Tempest Mk.II’s combat role.