Weapons of World War Two
At the oubreak of the Russo-Finnish War, the situation of the military aviation in the small nordic country was rather critical, being in conditions of total dependency on the war industry of the nations which, in that moment, supported Finland. Two years later, when the army of Marshal Mannerheim thought in "returning the favor" to the Red Army, the situation had quite changed, both qualitatively and quantitatively, but the uncomfortable and distrurbing basic shortcomings remained. The ranks of the Finnish Air Force comprised German and Italian aircraft provided by the two main allies of the country, but there were also many British, French, Dutch, American and even Soviet aircraft.
True is that the Valtion Lentokonetehdas (the state-owned aircraft factory, which represented almost all of the aeronautical industry) produced since time ago, under license, the Dutch fighter Fokker D XXI and the British bomber Bristol Blenheim, but the absence of a model projected around parameters characteristic of that war theater was increasingly noticeable. Because of that in 1941 it was decided to try the construction of a national model, and the order was entrusted to engineer Edward Vegeluis from the Valtion Lentokonetehdas (VL).
The prototype, denominated Myrsky (Storm), flew for the first time in the early 1942. Undoubtedly it was not a fully achieved realization, for it presented notable inconvenients, such as a certain structural weakness, unstability during flight and the ugly tendency of losing the coating of the fuselage when the aircraft was in full effort. Of this first aircraft were built four exemplars, which were soon returned to the factory to study adequate modifications that could correct the defects. From this restructuring it was born the Myrsky II, which was built in 46 exemplars. But these entered service too late to be used effectively against the Russians, and because of that they were used, but only in a symbolic manner, against the Wehrmacht during its withdrawal, as imposed by the clauses stipulated in the armistice of Finland and the Soviet Union.
Structurally, the aircraft was a single-engined low-winged monoplane with retractable landing gear. The body was one of mixed construction (metallic in the framework of the fuselage and wooden in that of the wings). The coating was of plywood in the rear part, while in the fore part it was metallic. The engine was a radial Pratt and Whitney Twin Wasp R-1830-SC3-G of 14 cylinders, and it was acquired in Sweden, where the company SFA built it under American license. The armament comprised four Browning 12.7-millimeter machine guns which fired through the propeller disc.
Overall, the Myrsky was scarcely used during war operations, and despite the modifications it resulted to be an aircraft of not brilliant prestations, to the point that it did not enjoy great popularity among the pilots. The importance of this aircraft lies mainly in that it was the first aircraft entirely produced in Finland, and it served as test bench for the young aeronautical industry of the country. This one, based in the experience acquired with the Myrsky, would construct shortly after the Pyorremyrsky (Whirlwind), a fighter-bomber which could have showed itself as an excellent aircraft if the course of the war had allowed it a full development.
First flight: Spring 1942
Wingspan: 11 meters
Wing area: 18 square meters
Length: 8.35 meters
Height: 3 meters
Full load/Empty weight: 2950/2340 kilograms
Payload/Crew: 610 kilograms/1
Engine: Pratt and Whitney Twin Wasp SC3 C of 1065 horsepower built by Swedish company SFA under license
Cruising speed: 400 kilometers/hour
Maximum speed: 530 kilometers/hour
Service ceiling: 9000 meters
Defensive armament: Four Browning 53-2 12.7-millimeter machine guns
Operational range: 500 kilometers, increased to twice with two deposits under the wings
Also in Weapons of World War Two: