By the early 1930s, it was apparent to any aircraft designer that the day of the biplane was over: the inherent drag of the layout could not be overcome by any increase in performance, and the layout prevented the airplane from carrying a truly effective air-to-air armament.
While that was apparent in the design shops, it was not so apparent in the headquarters of most of the various Air Forces.Fighter pilots were still convinced that high-G maneuverability and a fighting style unchanged from that of 1917-18 was still what was needed. The Air Ministry had been "anti-monoplane" from the days of the Bristol M.1C, and there seemed little likelihood of this changing anytime soon.
Reality had begun to set in by 1930, at least in the RAF, with the issuance of specification F.7/30, which called for a single-seat fighter capable of 250 m.p.h. and carrying four rifle-caliber machine guns, which doubled the armament of all previous RAF fighters. The successful design was to be capable of both day and night operation, with particular stress on a wide field of view for the pilot and excellent landing characteristics. It was also hinted that "sympathetic consideration" would be given to designs utilizing the new steam-cooled Rolls-Royce Goshawk engine.
Fortunately for the RAF, the monoplane fighters that resulted from this competition were so thoroughly pedestrian that they failed to make the cut; had this been different, the RAF might have found itself in the position of the French Air Force in 1939 - trying to replace fighters that had been developed just too early to fully participate in the revolution of design that happened after 1934.
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