- Hispano-Suiza HS.404
caption=HS.404 in the TCM-20 twin ant-aircraft configuration, displayed at the Israeli Air Force Museum.
type= Aircraft Cannon
wars=World War II
type= Aircraft Cannon
used_by=United Kingdom, Commonwealth &
wars=World War II, Korean War
Hispano-SuizaHS.404 autocannonwas one of the most widely used aircraft weapons of the 20th century, used by British, American, French, and many other military services. Firing a 20 mm diameter projectile, it delivered a useful load of explosive from a relatively light weapon. This made it an ideal aircraft weapon, replacing the multiple 7.62 mm (.30 caliber) machine guns commonly used in military aircraft in the 1930s.
The HS.404 was based on the earlier Swiss Oerlikon FF S weapons, which Hispano-Suiza manufactured under license in France as HS.7 and HS.9. In the late
1930s engineer Marc Birkigtdesigned a new and much improved version with a revised action, much faster rate of fire, and somewhat higher muzzle velocity. The result was the Type 404, or HS.404, which was widely considered the best aircraft cannon of its kind. The 404 was widely used on pre-war French designs, notably in installations firing through the drive shaft of the Hispano-Suiza 12Yengine, a system known as a "moteur-canon". The HS.404 was fed by drum magazines that could accommodate at most 60 rounds. Since in most installations the magazine could not be switched during flight, the small ammunition capacity was problematic. In 1940, Hispano-Suiza was developing a belt-feeding system, as well as derivatives of the HS.404 in heavier calibres such as 23 mm, but all these projects were halted with the German occupation of France.
In the meantime, Great Britain had acquired a license to build the HS.404, which entered production as the Hispano Mk.I. Its first used was with the Westland Whirlwind of 1940, providing the
Royal Air Forcewith a powerful cannon-armed interceptor. It was also used in early versions of the Bristol Beaufighter. The Beaufighter highlighted the need for a belt feed mechanism; in the night fighterrole the 60-round drums needed to be replaced in the dark by the Wireless Operator, often while the aircraft was maneuvering to keep sight of its quarry. In addition, early trial installations in the Hawker Hurricaneand Supermarine Spitfirehad shown a tendency for the gun to jam during combat maneuvers, leading to some official doubt as to the suitability of cannons as the sole main armament. This led, briefly, to the Air Ministryspecifying 12-gun machine gun armament for its future fighters.
Subsequently a suitable belt-feeding system was developed by the Martin-Baker Aircraft Co. Ltd. and the new design was adopted by the RAF and FAA in 1941 in a slightly modified form as the Hispano Mk.II. Four cannons replaced the eight Browning .303
machine guns in the Hurricane and in tropical versions of the Spitfire, and became standard armament in later fighters. Most other Spitfires had only two cannons, because of technical difficulties (i.e., inadequate gun-heating capacity for the outboard cannon leading to the gun freezing at high altitudes), along with four 0.303 calibre or two 0.50 calibre machine guns.
The gun was also licensed for use in the United States as the M1, with both the
United States Army Air Corps(USAAC) and U.S. Navy planning to switch to the 20 mm as soon as sufficient production was ready. A massive building program was set up, along with production of ammunition, in 1941. When delivered, the guns proved to be extremely unreliable and suffered a considerable number of misfires due to the round being "lightly struck" by the firing pin. The British were interested in using this weapon to ease production in England, but after receiving the M1 they were disappointed.
In April 1942 a copy of the British Mk.II was sent to the U.S. for comparison, the British version used a slightly shorter chamber and did not have the same problems as the U.S. version of the cannon. The U.S. declined to modify the chamber of their version, but nevertheless made other modifications to create the no-more-reliable M2. By late 1942 the USAAC had 40 million rounds of ammunition stored, but the guns remained unsuitable. The U.S. Navy had been trying to go all-cannon throughout the war, but the conversion never occurred. As late as December 1945 the Army's Chief of Ordnance was still attempting to complete additional changes to the design to allow it to enter service.
Meanwhile, the British had given up on the U.S. versions and production levels had been ramped up to the point where this was no longer an issue anyway. They upgraded to the Hispano Mk. V, which had a shorter barrel, was lighter and had a higher rate of fire, (desirable in aircraft armament) although at the expense of some muzzle velocity. One of the main British fighters to use the Mk. V was the Hawker Tempest Mk. V Series II, which mounted a total of four. The U.S. followed suit with the M3, but reliability problems continued. After
World War IIthe United States Air Force(USAF) adopted a version of the M3 cannon as the M24, similar in most respects except for the use of electrically primed ammunition.
The Hispano fired a 130 gram (4.58 oz) 20 mm × 110 mm projectile with a
muzzle velocitybetween 840 and 880 m/s (2,750 and 2,900 ft/s), depending on barrel length. Rate of fire was between 600 and 850 rounds per minute. It was 2.36 m (7 ft 9 in) long, weighing between 42 and 50 kg (93 and 110 lb). The British Mk V and American M3/M24 weapons were lighter with higher rates of fire than the early HS.404 guns.
In the post-war era the HS.404 disappeared fairly quickly due to the introduction of
revolver cannonbased on the German Mauser MG 213. The British introduced the powerful 30 mm ADEN cannonin most of their post-war designs, and the French used the very similar DEFA cannon, both firing the same ammunition. The USAF introduced the 20 mm M39 revolver cannonto replace the M24, while the Navy instead combined the original Hispano design with a lighter round for better muzzle velocity in the Colt Mk 12 cannon.
United Kingdom & Commonwealth
;Hispano Mk. I
Gloster F.9/37-a design not taken into service
* Westland Whirlwind - the RAF's first cannon armed fighter.
Bristol Beaufighter- early aircraft
;Hispano Mk. II
* Consolidated Liberator GR I
de Havilland Mosquito
* Douglas Boston III (Intruder)
* Hawker Hurricane Mk IIC
* Hawker Tempest Mk V Srs I
* Hawker Typhoon Mk IB
* North American Mustang IA
Supermarine SpitfireMarks V to Mark 20;Hispano Mk. V
Avro Shackleton[cite web |url=http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=84&t=19907 |title=Wartime British Remotely Controlled Guns and Turrets |accessdate=2008-08-05 |work= |publisher= |date=2003-05-09 ]
* de Havilland Hornet & Sea Hornet
de Havilland Vampire
* de Havilland Venom & Sea Venom
* English Electric Canberra B.Mk.6 & B(I).Mk.8
* Hawker Fury & Sea Fury
Hawker Sea Hawk
* Hawker Tempest Mk V Srs II and subsequent Marks
Martin-Baker MB 5
Supermarine Spitfire- Marks 21 and later
* Northrop F-89C Scorpion
* Type: single-barrel
* Caliber: 20 mm × 110 (0.79 in)
* Length: 2.36 m (7 ft 9 in)
* Weight (complete): 42–50 kg (93–110 lb)
* Rate of fire: 600–850 rpm
* Muzzle velocity: 840 to 880 m/s (2,750 to 2,900 ft/s)
* Projectile weight: 130 g (4.58 oz)
* HE round explosive filler: ~6 g
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Hispano-Suiza HS.404 — HS.404 en configuración antiaérea TCM 20, exhibido en el Museo de la Fuerza Aérea Israelí. Tipo Cañón automático País de orige … Wikipedia Español
Hispano-Suiza HS-404 — Aus dem Mittelmeer geborgene und restaurierte Hispano Mk.II einer Supermarine Spitfire (Malta Aviation Museum) Hispano Suiza HS.404 in einem Hispano Suiza HS.12Ydrs … Deutsch Wikipedia
Hispano-Suiza HS.404 — Aus dem Mittelmeer geborgene und restaurierte Hispano Mk.II einer Supermarine Spitfire (Malta Aviation Museum) … Deutsch Wikipedia
Hispano-Suiza HS-404 — HS 404 HS.404 dans la double configuration TCM 20, exposé au musée d aviation israélien. Présentation Pays … Wikipédia en Français
Hispano-Suiza — was originally a Spanish and then Spanish Swiss luxury automotive and engineering firm (actually, from 1923 on, two different companies) best known for their cars, engines (including world famous aviation engines) and weapons designs in the pre… … Wikipedia
Hispano Suiza — Markenlogo des Unternehmens Kühlerfigur und Wappen eines Hispano Suiza Hispano Suiza ist ein spanisches Traditionsunternehmen der Automobil und Luftfahrtindustrie. Der Name setzt sich aus den beiden Nationalitätsbezeichnung … Deutsch Wikipedia
Hispano-Suiza — La Hispano Suiza, Fábrica de Automóviles, S.A. Emblema y logotipo de la marca Hispano Suiza. Datos de la empresa Año de fundación 14 de junio de 1904, Barcelona, Cataluña … Wikipedia Español
Hispano-Suiza — Markenlogo des Unternehmens Kühlerfigur und Wappen eines Hispa … Deutsch Wikipedia
Hispano-Suiza — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Hispano. Création 1904 … Wikipédia en Français
Hispano-Suiza HS.820 — The Hispano Suiza HS.820 was a 20 mm autocannon developed primarily for aircraft use, but more widely used in a series of ground based anti aircraft guns. After Oerlikon purchased Hispano s armaments division in 1970 the HS.820 became the… … Wikipedia