The Sunderland was developed before World War II. On November 23, 1933 the Air Ministry issued a specification, R.2/33, calling for a four engine monoplane flying boat to replace the biplane flying boats that were then in service. Saunders Roe also submitted a prototype but it crashed leaving Short the winner.
To work on the Sunderland it had to be placed on a trolley to be moved to land.
The Sunderland could fly 20 hour patrols.
The Germans gave the Sunderlands the nickname of Stachelschwein (porcupine).
The Sunderland was the first flying boat to have powered gun turrets. There was one each in the nose and rear.
The nose turret was a powered Frazer-Nash that could be retracted into the nose.
The hull was made from anodized light allow. To reduce drag the rivets on the external surface were countersunk.
The forward section had double decks that had the ward room and an entrance door below the flight deck. The mooring compartment had the anchor and a J-Type dinghy.
The most forward area was a bombardier's window that was hinged outward.
The rear section of the fuselage contained crew quarters, galley, and bomb stowage. The galley had a Clyde Cooker and there was 25 gallons of water available. There was also a sink.
The crews quarters had 4 bunks for the crew to rest during long patrols. There was a flushing toilet that had an 11 gallon tank.
The upper fuselage had the ASV Mk II surface radar aerials mounted.
The tail was a metal frame with a fabric cover on the control surfaces.
The bombs were stored internally in the fuselage and were then cranked out under the wings for dropping.
The wings were an all metal cantilever construction that went around a main spar. The wings had three fuel tanks each.