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The Miles M.20 was a single seat fighter designed by Walter Capley in 1940 (to specification F19/40[1]) at a time when Great Britain was faced with a shortage of fighters to meet the full strength of the Luftwaffe, based in

Miles M

France and the Low Countries. Initial prototype U9 made it’s first flight on September 15 1940,[1] just nine weeks and two days after authority to proceed with the design and construction was received from the Ministry of Aircraft Production, thanks in part to the development of the Merlin XX 'Power-Egg'[2] for the Beaufighter Mk II.[3] The plywood and fabric aircraft had a wingspan of 34ft 7 in (10.54m), measured 30ft 1in (9.17m)in length and weighed 7,758lb (3,519 kg) fully loaded. The design utilised standard Master parts, fixed landing gear and a ‘blister’ type cockpit canopy – one of the first to be provided for a fighter aircraft. Armament consisted of 8 or 12 Browning 7.7mm machine guns. The M.20 was slightly slower than the Spitfire Mk1, and faster than the Hurricane Mk1, and had greater range,[3] with a max speed of 333mph (536km/h) at 20,600ft (6,280m) and normal range of 550 miles (885km).[1] It could also carry more ammunition – 5,000 rounds compared to 2,400 for the Spitfire or Hurricane.[4] A second prototype – U0228 – was produced as a fleet fighter (to Specification N1/41), equipped with catapult points and jettisonable undercarriage for operation from CAM-Ships, but following tests during 1941-42, the type was not developed further.[1]


  • U9 later became AX834, and U0228 later became DR616[5]
  • The Aircraft Reference File entry in Issue 20 of Take Off magazine gives different figures for the M.20 – Length 30ft 8in, Loaded weight 8,000 (3,629kg), Max Speed 345mph at 20,400ft and operational Range of 1,200 miles.[6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Green, William and Gordon Swanborough. 2001. Page 406
  2. Also used to develop the Avro Lancaster from the Avro Manchester
  3. 3.0 3.1 Jane’s Fighting Aircraft of World War II.
  4. Brown, Eric Melrose.
  5. Robertson, Bruce. 1967
  6. Take Off magazine issue 20 Published 1993.


  • Green, William and Gordon Swanborough. Complete Book of Fighters - Revised Edition. Salamander Books Ltd. 2001. ISBN 0 84065 269 1
  • Robertson, Bruce. British Military Aircraft Serials 1912-1966. Ian Allen Ltd. 1967.
  • Brown, Eric Melrose. Wings of the Weird and Wonderful.