The Tempest rapidly disappeared in England after the war. But a number of aircraft were employed in second line roles. The most numerous were the Tempest Mk Vs target tugs. A prototype TT Mk V conversion was carried out using SN329. A Malcolm G-Type Mk II wind driven winch was fitted under the port wing (the pod was counter balanced by a droptank carried on the starboard wing), a cable cutter and a shock absorber beneath the fuselage, tail guard cables, a winch control panel replacing the gunsight, changes in navigation equipment and relocation of the IFF antenna. The cannons were removed and the gun muzzles faired over.


It flew in May 1947 and was handed over to AFEE at Beaulieu, it was also tested at A&AEE Boscombe Down in 1947-48. Production conversions were started at Langley in early 1949, but was simplified to a standard RAF sleeve target suspended from pick up points under the fuselage (this method required the target to be laid out on the ground prior the take off).

 80 Mk. Vs and 2 Mk. VIs were refurbished for target towing roles between early 1949 and May 1952. It entered service in the UK in March 1950 with the CGS at Leconfield and the APS at Acklington, and in May with the APS at Sylt in Germany. Nos. 226, 229 and 233 OCU were other units which operated some TT Mk Vs as well. The last user, No. 233, was using the Tempest until July 1955.


A close up on the Tempest Mk. V/TT prototype's (SN329) winch.


  RAF Sylt Association website

 Tempest TT Mk.5 (Target Tug) in Detail

A story from a visitor:

I’ve been looking at your excellent website and it has reminded me of a discussion I had with someone who was doing national service in the RAF in the early fifties. He mentioned that he was stationed at a gunnery training school for Vampire pilots in Germany.  The tug aircraft were Tempests which surprised me and in my ignorance I suggested that they might not be fast enough for a jet but I was assured ‘Make no mistake without the drogue those Tempests had no trouble giving the vampires the runaround at low level’. They used to listen to the RT when training was in progress and one day they were amused to hear a tug pilot exclaim ‘Can you tell that ****ing ****ard that’s just shot me up that I’m the one pulling not pushing!’

Well, I thought it was funny anyway.


John Manly

Thanks for the story John!/Christer



Typhoon/Tempest in action (Squadron/Signal Publications No 102)
The Typhoon & Tempest Story (Chris Thomas & Christopher Shores)
Famous Airplanes of the World, Hawker Typhoon/Tempest