The Boulton Paul P.101 was a radical design for a staggered biplane fighter, produced in response to an Air Ministry specification for a manoeuvrable fighter with a high rate of climb.
Specification F.6/42 called for an aircraft that could climb at 4,500ft/min to 20,000ft, have good acceleration and good manoeuvrability. It was expected to operate at around 20,000ft, with jet fighters above it. Boulton Paul's first response to this specification was the P.98, a tail first pusher with contra rotating propellers. This was rejected by the Ministry of Aircraft Production as being 800lb overweight.
Boulton Paul responded with the more radical P.101. This was a tractor aircraft, but with staggered cantilevered biplane wings, a fixed undercarriage and cannons carried within the main wheel spats. The upper wing was mounted further back than the lower wing. Both had equal chord central sections and tapered outer sections, and slight dihedral on the outer sections. The fuselage filled the gap between the wings. The pilot sat just in front of the upper wing, and his view backwards would have been very poor.
The P.101 would have been very heavily armed. All versions would have carried rockets below the wings and up to two 500lb bombs below the fuselage. Versions were offered with four 20mm cannon, three 40mm Type S guns, two 20mm cannon and two 40mm Type S guns or one 47mm and two 20mm cannon.
The biplane format was adopted in an attempt to decrease wing loading and thus improve manoeuvrability. The performance estimates weren't that impressive, and it isn't surprising that this design wasn't accepted by the Air Ministry. Boulton Paul then submitted their P.99 and P.100 designs, both equally radical, and both rejected.
Engine: Bristol Centaurus 12 SM (Mod)
Span: 36ft 7in
Length: 33ft 7in
Height: 11ft 10in
Max speed: 285mph at sea level, 300mph at 10,000ft, 18,000ft at 18,000ft
Bomb load: Four rockets, two 500lb bombs