Armstrong Whitley

The Armstrong Whitley was the first allied military aircraft to fly over Berlin. Flying at 367 km/h (230 mph), it was a rather slow plane that would become an easy target for German fighters. This may be one of the reasons why it soon would be used as a night bomber. The Armstrong Whitley was also used for anti-submarine warfare, leaflet dropping and agent insertion.

Being the first modern style monoplane heavy bomber of the RAF, the Armstrong Whitley prototype flew in March 1936 and the aircraft actually entered service a year later, in March 1937.

world war 2 aircraft

At the outbreak of the war there were 207 Whitleys in service in the RAF.

An Armstrong Whitley achieved the first Coastal Command sinking of a German U-boat in November 1941. The Whitley was retired from all front-line service in late 1942 but it continued to operate as a transport for troops and freight as well as towing gliders.

A total of 1,737 Whitleys were produced.

armstrong whitley

Type Bomber
Power Plant Four Rolls Royce Merlin IV 12 Cylinder water cooled in-line engines
Max speed: 367 km/h (230 mph) at 5 395 m (17,700 ft.)
Ceiling: 5 395 m (17,700 ft.)
Range: 2 540 km (1,500 mi.)
Weight (empty): 8 759 kg (19,310 lb.)
Weight (loaded): 15 164 kg (33,431 lb.)
Wingspan: 25,60m (84 ft.)
Length: 21,49m (72 ft.)
Heigth: 4,57m (15 ft.)
Armament: Five 7,7 mm (.303-cal) Browning machine guns and 3 168 kg (6,985 lb.) bombload

2 thoughts on “Armstrong Whitley

  1. Charles Whitworth

    Right, Steve! I had the same reaction. Pictures and specs don’t match. And I believe earlier models were powered by Armstrong Siddeley Tiger IX’s, though the main production version, Mark V, had the Merlins.

    Reply

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