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Boulton Paul P.92

United Kingdom (1937)
Picture of Boulton Paul P.92 Twin-Engine Turret Fighter / Heavy Fighter Prototype Aircraft

The Boulton Paul P.92 was planned in the late 1930s as a Turret Fighter carrying 4 x 20mm automatic cannon into battle - it was not adopted.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Boulton Paul P.92 Twin-Engine Turret Fighter / Heavy Fighter Prototype Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 6/14/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

In the build-up to war against Germany during the 1930s, the British began to invest in defensive-minded fighter platforms capable of intercepting and destroying the expected waves of inbound enemy bombers crossing the Channel. In May of 1937, Specification F.11/37 was drawn up for this purpose and saw several of the British defense "power players" submit proposals. Boulton Paul, already having secured orders with the Royal Air Force (RAF) for its "turret-armed" Defiant fighter (detailed elsewhere on this site), was selected for its "P.92" project submission.

There were some prerequisites of the design pushed by RAF authorities, namely a minimum top speed of 370 miles per hour and a service ceiling up to 35,000 feet. Armament was to be a concentrated battery of 4 x 20mm cannons, giving appropriate firepower against bombers of the day. The original commitment covered two flyable prototypes which would vary in their engine fit: one featuring the Rolls-Royce "Vulture II" and other to fly with the Napier "Sabre I". To achieve the desired performance and armament-carrying capability, a twin-engine arrangement was selected. The crew would number two, a pilot and a dedicated gunner to his rear - operating the power-operated turret featuring the automatic cannons set.

A mock-up was made ready for May of 1938 and this review forced some revisions to the proposed heavy fighter for Boulton. Wind tunnel testing commenced that November to prove various aspects of its aerodynamics sound. The overall design was somewhat conventional with the cockpit seated aft of a short nose section. Each engine was carried at the leading edges of straight winged mainplanes and the fuselage tapered to the rear in typical fashion. The tail incorporated a single rounded vertical fin and low-mounted horizontal planes. A tail-dragger undercarriage would be used for ground-running. Long and slender, the P.92 had the makings of a very advanced-looking aircraft.

Perhaps the most notable of all the P.92's features was the oversized, circular turret position worked into the aircraft's center (at the point where the two mainplanes were joined at the fuselage spine). The turret emplacement was contoured nicely to help promote good aerodynamics by helping to reduce drag. However, this was not the case in practice for testing showed considerable drag generated by the turret when it was either turned or the guns elevated beyond certain degrees.
Owing to the difficulties in solving several major issues with this turret installation aboard a high-speed aircraft (as well as ongoing issues with the proposed Vulture engines), the P.92 was cancelled in May of 1940 and the prototype's construction barely started.

Engineers estimated their P.92 to have a maximum speed of 384 miles per hour with a service ceiling nearing 38,000 feet. Rate-of-climb was 3,220 feet-per-minute. Dimensions included an overall length of 54.3 feet with a wingspan of 62.5 feet. Power from the Rolls-Royce Vulture II engines was 1,760 horsepower each (these driving three-bladed propeller units).

However, despite the cancellation of the P.92, the Air Ministry allowed the second prototype to gestate a little longer and, for this part of the program, the P.92.2 scale model (half-sized at 27.5 x 33 x 7.6 feet) test aircraft was built by Heston Aircraft (Boulton Paul was busy manufacturing for the war effort). Of note was its fixed, spatted main landing gear legs and 2 x de Havilland "Gipsy Major II" engines of 130 horsepower (each) installed (driving two-bladed propellers). To mimic the in-flight dynamics of the proposed turret emplacement, a dummy turret was installed over the center wing section. Construction was largely of wood (plywood) to keep things relatively economical and easy to repair. A first-flight was recorded in early 1941 but deeper trials were not had until mid-1943 at Boscombe Down. Test pilots did not hold the design in high regard for some of its inherent characteristics but judged handling to be quite good. Maximum speed in these trials reached around 155 miles per hour.

Besides some additional flying done with the prototype by the company, the P.92.2 went nowhere in terms of advancing to a viable combat form. Specification F.11/37 was stalled by this time and ultimately not revisited as the war turned attention to other projects and actions. The sole demonstrator was then purposely burned sometime during the 1950s, ending its test life in full.






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Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 400mph
Lo: 200mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (385mph).

    Graph average of 300 miles-per-hour.
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Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
1
1


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


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Origin: United Kingdom
Year: 1937
Type: Twin-Engine Turret Fighter / Heavy Fighter Prototype Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Boulton Paul / Heston Aircraft - UK
Production: 1
Status: Cancelled
Global Operators:
United Kingdom (cancelled)
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Boulton Paul P.92 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
3


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
54.30 ft


Meters
16.55 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
62.50 ft


Meters
19.05 m


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
22,046 lb


Kilograms
10,000 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
PROPOSED: 2 x Rolls-Royce Vulture II OR Napier Sabre I liquid-cooled inline piston engines driving three-bladed propellers.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
385 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
620 kph


Knots
335 kts


Performance
CEILING


Feet
38,058 ft


Meters
11,600 m


Miles
7.21 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
3,220 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
981 m/min

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon
Armament - Hardpoints (0):

PROPOSED:
4 x 20mm automatic cannons in dorsal turret.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• P.92 - base Series Designation
• P.92/2 - Scale Model Test Aircraft