You probably know the famous British planes from World War II. Still, less is known about the British technology that helped them win the war.
Here are some of the underappreciated technology from WWII:
Initially figured out in Britain by Sir Harry Ricardo, the biggest contributions from water injection were seen in US fighters powered by air-cooled radials.
This allowed the Pratt and Whitney R2800 to remain very competitive throughout the war. With power increases because of water injection, it had great performance throughout the war.
Drop Tanks in Fighter Planes
In actuality, Europeans weren’t seriously moving forward with drop tanks until after WWII started to heat up. It’s quite likely that the only reason the US jets already had the provisions to carry drop tanks is because of the British.
Without those built-in features, it will take much longer to get the drop tanks on the planes which could have delayed the destruction of the Luftwaffe by a couple of months.
Dual Superchargers on a Single Shaft
Dual-stage supercharging isn’t new, the US had this for some time. But what made the British system special was the fact that they placed both supercharger impellers on a single shaft, spinning at the same speed.
Without this development, the Spitfire and the P-51 would not have been competitive in mid-1944.
This was largely developed by the British and it made accurate deflection shooting a reality even for less experienced pilots.
The British were working on this pretty early as seen from a Miles M20 picture in the video from 1940.
The technology first manifested itself on US aircraft in the form of Malcolm Hood who was popular with both British and US fighters. Soon, it turned into a full bubble-type canopy, significantly improving pilots’ visibility.