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Great Britain's Vickers Wellesley bomber

Photos

Vickers-Armstrong Wellesley bomber:
Great Britain's Vickers-Armstrong Wellesley bomber
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook
Vickers-Armstrong Wellesley bomber:
Great Britain's Vickers-Armstrong Wellesley bomber
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook
Vickers Wellesley bomber:
Great Britain's Vickers Wellesley bomber
Vickers Wellesley bomber:
Great Britain's Vickers Wellesley bomber

Design

The Vickers Wellesley was the first Royal Air Force (RAF) aircraft designed to used Barnes Wallis' geodetic construction method. The Air Ministry put forth a specification for a biplane torpedo bomber. Vickers submitted a design for a biplane and monoplane aircraft. The monoplane was superior and was selected.

Wings

The wings had a long span and high aspect ratio, which allowed for cruising efficiency. Panniers under the wings housed the bombs.

Prototype

The Wellesley prototype first flew on June 19, 1935. An order for 96 was placed in September 1935.

Production

The first Wellesley Mk I flew on January 30, 1937. The Wellesley entered service in April 1937. The last Wellesley was delivered in May 1938.

  • Prototype: 1
  • Wellesley Mk I: 176
  • Total: 177

Variants

  • Prototype:
  • Wellesley Mk I:
  • Wellesley Mk II: Some Mk Is were fitted with a continuous canopy glazing and were referred to as the Mk II.

Usage

Ten RAF squadrons were equipped with the Wellesley.

Record Breaking

In November 1938 three Wellesleys took off from Ismailia, Egypt and flew to Darwin, Australia non-stop. They had extra fuel tanks installed. Two of them made the journey of 7,162 miles / 11,526 km in a little over 48 hours.

Start of World War II

At the start of the war there were about 100 Wellesleys based in the Middle East and Africa. They such much action against the Italian's in East Africa, Italian Somaliland, and the Western Desert.

Later these aircraft were used for shipping reconnaissance until the middle of 1943.

Specifications

  Vickers-Armstrong Wellesley
Type Long range bomber
Crew  
Engine (Type) 1: Bristol-Pegasus XX
Cylinders Radial
Cooling  
HP 800
Propeller blades  
Dimensions  
Span 74' 7"
Length 39' 3"
Height 12' 4"
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded 11,000 lb
Performance  
Speed 225 mph
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range 1,100 miles
Armament  
Rear cockpit 1: MG
Wing 1: MG
  Vickers Wellesley Mk I
Type General purpose bomber, Bomber
Crew 2
Engine (Type) Bristol Pegasus XX
Cylinders Radial 9
Cooling  
HP 925
Propeller blades 3
Dimensions  
Span 74' 7"
22.73 m
Length 39' 3"
11.96 m
Height 12' 4"
3.76 m
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty 6,369 lb
2,889 kg
Loaded 11,100 lb
5,035 kg
Performance  
Speed  
Speed at sea level 178 mph
286 kph
Speed @ 19,680' 228 mph
Speed @ 19,700' /
6,005 m
228 mph
370 kph
Cruising speed 160 mph
257 kph
Climb 1,200'/minute
365 m/minute
Service ceiling 26,100', 33,000'
7,955 m
Range 1,110 miles, 1,335 miles
2,148 km
Armament 2: MGs
Nose 1: 0.303" MG
Rear cockpit 1: 0.303" MG
Bombs 2,000 lb
Bombs - under wing pods 2,000 lb
907 kg

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  2. World War II Airplanes Volume 1, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  3. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
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