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Valmet T-100 Myrsky - Hävittäjälentolaivue 11, Ilmavoimat, 1947

 

In September 1944 the new Finnish Government led by Prime Minister Urho Jonas Castrén began to plan ahead for an uncertain future after the end of WW2 and maintaining the independence of the country was right at the top of the agenda. During the winter of 1944-1945 Jari Kijanen, a young aeronautical engineer from Kouvola, began the design of an interceptor fighter for the Ilmavoimat with a heavy armament and good endurance. Designated as the T-100 interceptor project, Kijanen's radical design used an unusual canard configuration with tricycle landing gear, a rear mounted engine and a jettisonable propeller to prevent the pilot from hitting the rear-mounted propeller when bailing out. Whilst Finland had no suitable aero engines Kijanen gambled on the availability of the Rolls-Royce Merlin but cleverly designed a modular engine bay that could accommodate any contemporary liquid-cooled engine such as the Klimov VK-107 or DB605. The new Prime Minister Juho Kusti Paasikivi approved the T-100 design and in February 1945 a production order was given to the newly formed Kijanen Ilmailu Company to produce 2 prototype and 80 production aircraft although this company was quickly absorbed into the state owned Valtion Metallitehtaat (Valmet) in 1946.

 

A mixture of national pride and state ownership saw the design progress quickly and Valmet benefited from the British Government's decision to grant an export licence to Rolls-Royce for the export of the Merlin 66 engine rated at 1,720 hp and fitted with a Bendix-Stromberg anti-g carburetor although the first prototype was temporarily equipped with a DB605 borrowed from an Ilmavoimat Me-109G-6. Production machines, by now christened 'Myrsky' (Tempest), were all powered by Merlin 66 engines and were armed with four of the new lightweight Soviet Berezin B-20 cannons in the nose. Under the terms of the 1947 Paris Agreement the aircraft had no facility for carrying offensive weapons and no pylons were ever fitted to the T-100, not even for drop tanks. Entering service in June 1948, the T-100 served with five Ilmavoimat squadrons and although the flight performance was inferior to contemporary fighter aircraft already in service the T-100 was a rugged aircraft with generally good handling charcteristics. Consideration was given to modifying the T-100 airframe to accommodate the De Havilland Ghost jet engine (in very much the same way that Saab did with the J21) but by this time Kijanen was already sketching the Valmet T-122 Nuoli delta-winged supersonic interceptor and the proposed conversion was dropped in favour of the new design.

 

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