GROUP BUILDS > The Builds - WWII : 1/3/1939 to ????

Hindustan Aircraft Tūphān Mk I

(1/3) > >>

comrade harps:
Hindustan Aircraft Tūphān Mk. I
1 Squadron, Indian Air Force, Mingaladon, Burma
February, 1942


The story of the Hindustan Aircraft Tūphān goes back 1922, when Fokker established a subsidiary in the USA in partnership with General Motors. Over the years, Fokker America undertook a variety name changes and re-structuring and between 1936 and 1942 was known as General Motors Fokker (GMF). In 1937, GMF acquired a controlling interest in the Intercontinent Corporation, bringing GMF into contact with the aviation entrepreneur William D. Pawley.


Paley was born in Cuba, the son of an American diplomat, but since 1933 he had spent much of his time in China and India. He had been the President of Intercontinent Corporation until 1933 and after that continued to be a major investor in the firm. In that year, he moved to China to manage China National Aviation Corporation and later established the Central Aircraft Manufacturing Company (CAMCO) to locally produce planes for the Chinese Nationalist government. Exploiting his links with GMF, CAMCO went on to build several Fokker-designed aircraft, but by the late 1930s the advances of the Japanese through China and their bombing of CAMCO factories saw CAMCO's productivity fall to unacceptable levels.


A frequent visitor to India, Pawley had cultivated impeccable contacts and in 1939 founded Hindustan Aircraft in Bangalore with the help of industrialist Seth Walchand Hirachand, the Kingdom of Mysore and the Indian Government. When war broke out in Europe in September, 1939, the Indian Air Force (IAF) was concerned about being cut-off from logistical support from Britain and issued a specification for an Indian Emergency Fighter. This move was reinforced in December 1939 when the Air Ministry in Britain issued a specification for what became known as the Empire Emergency Fighter, which was similar to the IAF's requirement. Both requested an aircraft that had to be able to be made locally, quickly and cheaply and had to be in service by June 1941.

Several companies took up the offer:
- from America, Curtis proposed the Hawk 75 and Vultee the P-66 Vanguard
- Braitain's Martin-Baker proposed Canadian production of its M.B.2, as did Miles with their M.20 and Hawker the Hurricane (the latter with Packard Merlins)
- Canadian Car and Foundry proposed the Gregor FDB-2
- South Afirica's Koolhoven submitted its already in-production KF.58 Crake
- Australia's Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation entered its Wirraway Fighter (which would go on to form the basis of the CAC Boomerang)
- and from Hindustan Aircraft in India came a joint submission with GMF for the Fokker D.XXII

Although the South Afircan Kollhoven KF.58 won the competition and large orders were placed, the Indian government maintained its original requirement and placed orders for the licence-built Fokker D.XXII.

The Fokker D.XXII first flew in 1938, but due to the urgency of producing the fighter it was meant to replace (the Fokker D.XXI) was not put into production in Europe. This left GMF to promote the type in the territories in was licensed to do so, namely the Americas and Asia. The Chinese Nationalists were the first to order it it early 1939, with production to take place by CAMCO at Loiwing, but as this site became problematic, a factory in Rangoon, Burma, was identified. However, Pawley believed that this was still too vulnerable to the Japanese and the production of the D.XXII in India was part of his reasoning in establishing Hindustan Aircraft. Ironically, the Chinese were never to operate the D.XXII as American support in the form of P-40s became available (and indeed, Pawley's CAMCO had been instrumental in organising and maintaining the American Volunteer Air Group, the Flying Tigers, that helped to make the D.XXII redundant in China's plans). Despite the Chinese dropping their order and the availability of both British and American fighters, the Indian Government continued with its own fighter plan and in December 1939 ordered 100 (later raised to 160). To the IAF, the GMF was officially known as the Hindustan Aircraft Tūphān (Hindi for storm). An order by the Netherlands East Indies Air Force (NEIAF) was placed for 36 in 1941, but only 10 had been built when the Japanese invaded Java and they were all still in India; the remaining 26 were built and all 36 added to the the IAF's inventory. Production was completed in September, 1942.


Several version of the Tūphān were produced. The first 100 for the IAF were Mk Is, as were the 36 NEIAF machines, and these were powered by Pratt & Whittney R-1830-33 Twin Wasp radials and armed with 2 .303 cal and 2 .50 cal Browning machine guns. 8 Mk Is were converted in-service with reconnaissance cameras, becoming Mk IR and 5 more were converted to two-seat liaison machines as the Mk IL. The 40 Mk II used the same engine, but were armed with 4 .50 cal Browning machine guns. Of the remaining 20, 15 were two-seat Mk IV trainers and 5 were Mk IIIs with 2 20mm Hispano wing-mounted cannon and 2 .303 machine guns. They severed in several IAF combat and training squadrons between 1941 and 1946, seeing action with 1 and 2 squadrons and equipping 3, 4 and 6 squadrons before they each converted to the Hurricane. Although their combat over Burma in 1942 is well known, the Tūphān also saw considerable service during fighting against tribals in the North West Frontier region between 1941 and 1944.

No.1 Squadron Air Force, the Tigers, was raised on April 1st, 1933 at Drigh Road, Karachi, equipped with Westland Wapiti aircraft. In June 1939, the Squadron was re-equipped with the Hawker Hart and a few Hawker Audaxy. From March 1941, the squadron was re-equipped with Tūphān, financed as a gift from the citizens of Bombay. On February 1st, 1942, No.1 Squadron, under the Command by Sqn Ldr KK Majumdar deployed to Toungoo in Burma to counter the Japanese offensive. On 5th February, the Tigers moved to Mingaladon airfield near Rangoon. After a few days in Mingaladon, one flight was detached to Lashio to support Chinese Army operations. During its months of combat in Burma with the Tūphān, the unit flew close air support, battlefield interdiction (strafing convoys and columns), airfield strikes and armed reconnaissance missions. The Squadron returned to Secunderabad in India during March 1943 and in June the personnel went to Risalpur for conversion to Hurricanes.


Old Wombat:
As usual a really good build & an excellent back story!



India rules. This country has some much whiffy potential - and this is a nice one.  :thumbsup:

comrade harps:
Thank you for your kind words.

The kit is the Special Hobby VL Myrsky II. The back story is itself a kit-bash of reality concerning HAL, the IAF's 1 Squadron, Pawley and China held together by fiction. I allays thought that the Mysrsky looked like an evolution of the Fokker D.XXI, which of course had been built by the Finns too, hence the Fokker connection.

Here's my sources:

That is nice. I thought I recognised the aircraft but wasn't sure  :thumbsup:

India is a huge possibility as far as wiffery goes but I must admit I hadn't thought of domestically produced aircraft being used in combat during WWII. Well done to you sir.

I've got an Indian aircraft on the go at the moment but it's not WWII (although it saw combat  :rolleyes:) and I need to get the markings. So a month or so at best


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version