World Warr II stimulated another divergence in the aeroplane’s development. The few biplanes surviving in front-line units quickly disappeared, while many of the advances in late-1930s civil aviation were hurriedly adapted for military use. Armament had improved little in the interwar period, but heavily-armed fighters soon predominated. High-speed bombers required efficient, power-operated turrets for their defensive weaponry, and bomb capacities and range also increased. Flying boats again proved valuable for patrol and anti-submarine work. Ground-attack, a role that had evolved at the end of World War I, assumed greater significance as control of airspace over a battlefield became vital. The aircraft carrier played a prominent part in the war
at sea. Following initial experiments in the 1930s, the jet engine became a practical proposition and the first jet-propelled fighters and bombers appeared towards the end of the war.

Hawker Hurricane

The doughty Hawker Hurricane single-seat fighter is famous for…

Supermarine Spitfire

This superb fighter, designed by Reginald Mitchell, will always…

Mitsubishi A6M Zero

The Japanese Navy's agile A6M Reisen "Zero" fighter thoroughly…

Vickers Wellington

The twin-engined Wellington, affectionately known the "Wimpy". was…

Gloster-Whittle E.28/39

The Gloster-Whittle E.28/39 was the first jet aeroplane to fly…

Short Sunderland

Few warplanes have been as graceful as the Short Sunderland…

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress

During World War II the daylight raids on Germany by massed…

Vought F4U Corsair

The American F4U Corsair is widely acknowledged as the outstanding…

Gloster Meteor

Because of the surprising tardiness of the US's development…