Vickers Wellington Variants

Vickers Wellington Variants

Vickers Wellington Variants

Mk I

The Wellington Mk I was the version serving with Bomber Command at the outbreak of war in 1939. It was powered by two 1,050 hp Pegasus XVIII engines. Defensive armament was powered by three Vickers turrets, each with two .303in machine guns, one at the front, one at the rear, and one retractable ventral turret. The Vickers turret was not a great success, and had a limited arc of fire.

The Mk I had a very short front line career. The prototype first flew on 23 December 1937. Production was split between Weybridge, Blackpool and Chester. 181 Mk Is were produced, with the first delivery to squadrons coming on 10 October 1938. At the outbreak of war, eight operational and two reserve squadrons were equipped with the Mk I, but it was already on the way out. The Mk I was phased out in the first few months of the war, and had been replaced by the Mk IA by December 1939.


The Mk IA was actually an early version of the Mk II, rather than a development of the Mk I. The Mk II was to be a rather heavier aircraft, using more powerful engines, and so the Mk IA was also slightly larger than the Mk I (3 inches wider and 6 inches longer), with a fuselage strengthened in preparation for the increase in weight planned for the Mk II. The Mk IA and Mk IC were produced to provide an improved Wellington while the RAF waited for the improved engines planned to go in the Mk II and Mk III versions were undergoing development.

The problematic Vickers turrets were replaced by turrets produced by the specialist firm of Frazer Nash. They provided FN5 nose and tail turrets and a FN25 retractable ventral turret, each with two .303 inch machine guns. Although an improvement on the defensive arrangements in the Mk I, this configuration left the Wellington vulnerable to any attack from above and to the side – the nose gun could only turn to ninety degrees, while the ventral gun could only fire level or down. It would be the 187 Mk IAs that would take the brunt of the early bomber offensive, suffering heavy losses while doing it. The Mk IA had replaced the Mk I by December 1939.


The IB was an alternative solution to the problems caused by the Vickers turrets that had been solved in the IA. The IB was either indistinguishable from the IA, or more likely never produced.


The Mk IC was the second most numerous version of the Wellington (after the Mk X) – a total of 2,685 were built between 1940 and 1942. It was very similar to the Mk IA, but with one significant change. The retractable ventral turret was removed, and replaced by two machine guns firing from the side windows. At first the Vickers “K” guns were used, located just in front of the wings, but the majority of the Mk ICs carried a pair of belt-fed Browning .303in machine guns carried further back down the fuselage. Yet another advantage of the geodesic construction of the Wellington was the ease with which extra windows could be added to the aircraft just by removing part of the fabric covering of the aircraft. The MK IC also had improved hydraulics and electrical systems. Production of the Mk IC continued into the autumn of 1942. The Mk IC was the first version of the Wellington to be equipped with Lorenz blind landing equipment (although it was later added to some Mk IAs). The Mk IC entered squadron service in April 1940. By this time day bombing had been abandoned and night bombing was the norm.


The Mk II was first proposed in January 1938 as part of a long term plan to use more powerful engines in the Wellington. The Mk II would use the Rolls Royce Merlin X engine, the Mk III the even more powerful Hercules engines. Neither of these engines were available in 1938, so the increase in fuselage size, improved Frazer-Nash turrets, side guns and improved electrical and hydraulic systems designed for the Mk II were introduced in the Mk IA and IC.

The Merlin engine was ready for testing by 1939. The first Wellington Mk II prototype flew on 3 March 1939. The new engines provided 1,145 hp, an increase of 100 hp over the Pegasus engine, but were much heavier – the weight of the Mk II increased by 4,500 lbs when compared to the otherwise similar Mk IC. The Mk II was faster and had a higher service ceiling, but the bomb load and maximum range were both reduced. The Mk II entered service at the end of 1940. Ironically, the Mk II was produced in much smaller numbers than the interim Mk IC. A total of 401 Mk IIs were built.

The reduced maximum bomb load was still high enough to all the Wellington Mk II to be used to test the new 4,000 lb “Blockbuster” bomb that was replaced the small ineffective bombs then in use. This new bomb required a series of changes to be made to the bomb bay, including the removal of a central structure that had divided the bomb bay in two, and the removal of part of the bomb bay doors. The 4,000 lb was first used against Emden on 1 April 1941, and was soon adopted by all of Bomber Command. It was the first of a series of increasingly large bombs that would end with Barnes Wallis’s own “Grand Slam” bombs, carried by the Avro Lancaster.


The Mk III saw another change of engine, to the 1,590 hp Hercules XI. The new engine helped maintain the performance of the Wellington as its weight slowly increased. The prototype Mk III first flew on 19 May 1939, only two months after the first flight of the Mk II, but it took rather longer to enter service, not reaching the front line until June 1941. Other changes made to the Mk III included the fitting of de-icing equipment, and the capacity to tow gliders. The Mk III also saw the rear turret changed from the two gun FN-10 to the four gun FN-20, although this still used the .303 in machine guns, limiting the effectiveness of the increase in the number of guns. The Mk III remained in Bomber Command service until October 1943. Many of the surviving aircraft were then transferred to training units. In total 1,519 Mk IIIs were constructed.


Two hundred and twenty Mk IV Wellingtons were built using the Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp R-1830-S3C4-C engine, giving 1,050 hp. The project had first been proposed in later 1939, but work was delayed until February 1940 by American neutrality. The prototype flew in December 1940, and squadron deliveries began in August 1941. The Mk IV was used by three Polish squadrons (Nos. 300, 301 and 305), two Australian squadrons (Nos. 458 and 460) and No. 142 Squadron. It was phased out by March 1943. The Mk IV was equipped with the same two guns turrets as the 1C. Its range and bomb load were similar to the Mk III, although its top speed was much higher, at 299 mph.

Mk V

The Mk V and Mk VI were both attempts to produce a high altitude version of the Wellington. The two versions were visually distinctive. The front of the aircraft was remodelled to include a pressurised cabin, somewhat resembling a single cigar case, in line with the top of the fuselage, with a bubble canopy for the pilot (the basic outline somewhat resembles the shape of fighter aircraft such as the Spitfire, with the crew pod where the engine would be).

The Mk V used two 1,425 hp Hercules III engines. Three prototype Mk Vs were constructed, but the Hercules engines was not a great success as high altitude, and so work was abandoned in favour of the Rolls Royce Merlin powered Mk VI.


The Mk VI was developed at the same time as the Mk V, but using Rolls Royce Merlin 60 engines, providing 1,600 hp. These proved more successful than the Hercules III engines used in the Mk V, but high altitude flight provided problems of its own, as many of the liquids used in the aircraft froze in the extreme cold. Sixty four Mk VIs were produced, and it was intended to use them with pathfinder squadrons to mark targets for the main bomber force, but by the time the Mk VI was ready for service the Mosquito had appeared, and was very obviously better suited to the role. The surviving Mk VIs were scrapping in 1943.


The Mk VII was intended to be an improved version of the Mk II, using more powerful Merlin XX engines. One prototype was completed but the type was not adopted by the RAF, and the prototype was given to Rolls Royce.


The GR Mk VIII was a naval version of the Mk IC. It was produced in three distinct variants of its own. Most numerous was the torpedo bomber version. 271 of these were produced, equipped with the ASV Mk II Stickleback air to surface radar. The torpedo bomber version was used in the Mediterranean, where it played an important role in cutting off German and Italian supplies to Rommel in the crucial period before El Alamein.

A smaller number of Mk VIIIs were produced for anti-submarine warfare. Fifty eight Mk VIIIs had the Leigh Light as well as their radar. This was designed to solve one problem when using radar against submarines – at ranges of under a mile radar contact was due to interference from the surface of the sea. A Leigh Light equipped anti-submarine warfare aircraft would use radar to discover the U-boat, and close to the limit of radar range, and then turn on the Leigh light for the final approach, by which time it would be too late for the U-boat to dive to safety. The first confirmed U-boat kill came on 5 July 1942 in the Bay of Biscay.

Finally, sixty-five Mk VIIIs were produced as normal bombers, making them similar to the standard Mk IC.


One Mk IA was converted to serve as a troop carrier and given the designation Mk IX.

Mk X

The Mk X was the last version of the Wellington to be designed as a strategic bomber. It was similar to the Mk III, but used the Hercules VI or XVI engine, providing 1,675 hp. The weight of the fuselage was reduced by the use of new light alloys in place of the steel used in earlier versions. The Mk X had a longer range than the Mk III, but a smaller bomb load, although at 4,000lbs this was still enough to carry the “blockbuster” bomb. The Mk X had a very short career as a front line bomber with Bomber Command in Britain – it first entered service in late 1942, equipped twelve squadrons by March 1943, and had been entirely replaced by the new four engined heavies by the end of 1943. It remained in use as a bomber in Italy and the Far East throughout 1944. In all 3,803 Mk Xs were produced, and some remained in use until the 1950s. The Mk X flew its last Bomber Command mission in October 1943, at the time as the Mk III.


While the Mk X was the last version of the Wellington developed for Bomber Command, Coastal Command continued to develop the aircraft. The Mk XI was a torpedo bomber developed from the Mk X. It carried the Type 454 ASW Mk II Radar, but was otherwise similar to the Mk X. 180 GR Mk XI Wellingtons were built. The Mk XI appeared during 1943.


The Mk XII also appeared during 1943, and was also developed from the Mk X. It was equipped with the ASV Mk III radar. Unlike the Mk II, which used external aerials, this radar set was carried within a teardrop fairing attached to the nose of the Wellington. This meant that the forward turret had to be removed. Experience soon proved this to be a mistake, as U-Boats were increasingly heavily armed, and so a pair of flexibly mounted Browning machine guns were added to the Mk XII. Fifth eight Mk XIIs were produced.


The Mk XIII and Mk XIV were the ultimate maritime versions of the Wellington. Both used the 1,735 hp Hercules XVII engine, and were produced in similar numbers (844 Mk XIIIs and 841 Mk XIVs). The Mk XIII was a torpedo bomber. It used the ASV Mk II radar, and retained its forward turret.


The Mk XIV was an anti-submarine aircraft. It carried the same ASV Mk III as the Mk XII, and also lacked the forward turret. The Mk XIV used the same Hercules XVII engine as the Mk XIII. The Mk XIV was heavily used to support the D-Day invasion.


The C Mk XV was a transport aircraft developed from the Mk 1A, and originally designated the C Mk IA. In this role the turrets were removed, and a new entrance door added to the side of the aircraft. An unknown number of Wellingtons were converted to the transport version to help solve a serious shortage of dedicated transport aircraft that lasted for much of the war.


The C Mk XVI was a transport aircraft developed from the Mk 1C. It was otherwise very similar to the Mk XV.


The Mk XVII was a trainer aircraft created by converting a Mk XI. Both turrets were removed and the nose turret replaced by an airborne interception radar set, used to train night fighter crews.


The Mk XVIII was a custom built trainer, designed to help train radio operators and navigators. Eighty Mk XVIIIs were built. A number of Mk Xs were also used as training aircraft after the war, under the designation T Mk 10.


The Mk XIX was a trainer produced by converting standard Mk Xs. It was used to train bomber crews.

Production Figures

Mk I












Mk V









1 (conversion)

Mk X











Unknown (converted from others)


Unknown (converted from others)


Converted trainer




Converted trainer



Performance Stats.






86ft 2in

86ft 2in

86ft 2in


64 ft 7in

64 ft 7in

64 ft 7in


Pegasus XVII

Bristol Hercules XI

Hercules VI of XVI


1,050 hp



Max Speed

235 mph

255 mph at 12,500 ft

Service Ceiling

18,000 ft

19,000 ft

22,000 ft


2,550 miles

1,540 with 4,000lb

2,085 miles


4,500 lb

4,500 lb

4,000 lb

Vickers Wellington

Vickers Wellington var ett tvåmotorigt, brittiskt bombflygplan som användes under andra världskriget. Det var det bombflygplan som byggdes i flest exemplar och det utgjorde ryggraden i RAF Bomber Command fram till hösten 1943.


Background and origins Edit

In November 1944, the Joint Technical Warfare Committee, along with a separate committee chaired by Sir Henry Tizard, examined the future potential of "weapons of war" and the accompanying Tizard Report published on 3 July 1945 made specific policy directions for the Royal Air Force (RAF) Bomber Command. [2] After the Second World War, the policy of using heavy four-engined bombers for massed raids continued into the immediate postwar period the Avro Lincoln, an updated version of the Avro Lancaster, became the RAF's standard bomber. [3] In 1946, the Air Staff issued Operational Requirements OR229 and OR230 for the development of turbojet-powered heavy bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons at high altitude and speed, without defensive armament, to act as a deterrent to hostile powers and, if deterrence failed, to perform a nuclear strike. [2] In conjunction with this ambition, Britain set about developing its own atomic weapons. [4]

In January 1947, the British Air Ministry issued Specification B.35/46 for an advanced jet bomber intended to carry nuclear weapons and to fly near the speed of sound at altitudes of 50,000 ft (15,000 m). [5] Three firms: A.V. Roe, Handley-Page and Vickers-Armstrongs submitted advanced designs intended to meet the stringent requirements. [6] While Short Brothers submitted a design, by Geoffrey T. R. Hill, [7] that was judged too ambitious, the Air Staff accepted another submission from the company for a separate requirement, B.14/46, as "insurance" in case the advanced B.35/46 effort ran into trouble. Aviation authors Bill Gunston and Peter Gilchrist described Specification B.14/46 as "calling for little more than a traditional aircraft fitted with jet engines" [8] Short submitted a conservative design to meet B.14/46, which became the S.A.4 Sperrin. [5] Two prototypes were completed, the first conducting its maiden flight in 1951, but the Sperrin was ultimately relegated to research and development purposes only. [6] [4]

Vickers had emerged from the Second World War as one of the world's pre-eminent companies in the field of aeronautical manufacturing and development. Furthermore, the company operated its own secretive Skunk Works-like development organisation based at Weybridge, Surrey, which had been involved in several secret wartime development projects. It was this secretive division in which the early stages of the development of the Valiant took place, including the later assembly of the initial two prototypes. [9] Vickers initially produced a six-engine jet bomber design proposal to meet Specification B.35/46 as rapid progress in the development of more powerful jet engines had been made, this was re-worked to a four-engine proposal in 1948. [10] The proposed design submitted by Vickers was relatively straightforward, being less aerodynamically advanced in comparison to competing bids made by rival firms. [8] [11]

Both Handley-Page and Avro had produced advanced designs for the bomber competition. These would be produced as the Victor and the Vulcan respectively the Air Staff decided to award contracts to each company as a form of insurance in case one of these designs failed. The submissions became known as the V bombers, or V-class, with the aircraft all being given names that started with the letter "V". [12] Vickers' submission had initially been rejected as not being as advanced as the Victor and the Vulcan, [5] [8] but Vickers' chief designer George Edwards lobbied the Air Ministry on the basis that it would be available much sooner than the competition, going so far as to promise that a flight-capable prototype would be flown by the end of 1951, that subsequent production aircraft would be flown prior to the end of 1953, and that serial deliveries would commence during early 1955. Gunston and Gilchrist observe that measures offered by Edwards were a "gigantic risk", and that gaining the bomber contract has been deemed of crucial importance to the future of aircraft manufacturing at Vickers. [10]

Although developing three different aircraft types in response to a single Operational Requirement (OR) was costly, events such as the Berlin Blockade had led to a sense of urgency in providing a deterrent to the Soviet Union from possible acts of aggression in Western Europe. [13] [8]

In April 1948, the Air Staff issued a specification with the designation B.9/48 written around the Type 660 Vickers design and an 'Instruction to Proceed' was received by Vickers on 16 April 1948. [10]

In February 1949, two prototypes of the Vickers 660 series were ordered. The first was to be fitted with four Rolls-Royce RA.3 Avon turbojet engines, while the second was to be fitted with four Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire engines and was designated the Type 667. [14]

Prototypes Edit

On 18 May 1951, the first prototype, serial number WB210 took to the air for its maiden flight, [15] within the deadline that George Edwards had promised, only 27 months since the contract had been issued. This was several months before the competing Short Sperrin the Sperrin had straight (not swept) wings and was not ordered. The Valiant pilot was Captain Joseph "Mutt" Summers, who had also been the original test pilot on the Supermarine Spitfire, and wanted to add another "first" to his record before he retired. His co-pilot on the first flight was Gabe "Jock" Bryce, who succeeded Summers as Vickers' chief test pilot upon his retirement shortly afterwards. [16] [17] [18] The next month, the Vickers Type 660 was given the official name of "Valiant", recycling the name given to the Vickers Type 131 general-purpose biplane of 1931. [N 2] The name Valiant had been selected by a survey of Vickers employees. [19]

On 11 January 1952, the first Valiant prototype was lost while making internal noise measurements for the V.1000 programme. Testing included engine shutdowns and re-lights, [20] one of which caused a fire in the starboard wing most of the crew managed to escape the aircraft safely, except for the co-pilot, who struck the tail after ejecting. [21] [22]

On 11 April 1952, the second prototype WB215 made its maiden flight, after modifications to the fuel system. [23] It was fitted with more powerful RA.7 Avon engines with 7,500 pounds-force (33 kN) thrust each, rather than the Sapphires that had been originally planned it also featured more rounded air inlets, replacing the narrow slot-type intakes of the first prototype, in order to feed sufficient air to the more powerful engines. The short delay until the second prototype became available meant that loss of the prototype did not compromise the development schedule. [24] [25] [11]

The Valiant B2. One of the three prototypes was the B.2 version. [26] The B.2 was intended to serve as a Pathfinder aircraft, flying at low level to mark targets for the main bomber force. To cope with increased air turbulence at low level, the B.2 had a strengthened airframe. In particular, the wing was strengthened with the removal of the cut-outs in the wing structure into which the main wheels retracted, allowing the wing torsion box structure to be uninterrupted and giving more room for internal fuel storage instead the main landing gear, which had four wheels instead of the two wheels of the B.1, retracted backwards into large fairings set into the rear of the wings. [27] The B.2 had a lengthened fuselage with a total length of 112 ft 9 in (34.37 m), in contrast to a length of 108 ft 3 in (32.99 m) for the Valiant B.1, with the extra length giving room for more avionics. [28]

The prototype B.2, serial number WJ954 first flew on 4 September 1953. [29] Finished in a gloss black night operations paint scheme, it became known as the "Black Bomber". Its performance at low level was superior to that of the B.1 (or any other V-bomber), particularly at sea level, [30] with the aircraft being cleared for 580 mph (930 km/h) at low level (with speeds of up to 640 mph (1,030 km/h) being reached in testing). This was compared to the B.1's sea-level limit of 414 mph (665 km/h). The Air Ministry ordered 17 production B.2s, which were to be powered by Rolls-Royce Conway turbofans. Although the Valiant B.2's low-level capabilities were significant, the programme was abandoned bacause it was considered that the World War 2 "Pathfinder concept" was obsolete in the nuclear era. [31] The B.2 prototype was used for tests for a few years, including testing use of rockets to boost takeoff, contributing to improvements for the Valiant B.1, before being scrapped in 1958. [32] [33] [34]

Production Edit

In April 1951, an initial production order for 25 Valiant B.1 (Bomber Mark 1) aircraft was placed by the Ministry of Supply on behalf of the RAF. [35] The timing of this order was key to establishing production quickly. Due to shortages of steel and other materials while setting up an assembly line at Brooklands, substantial portions of the production jigs for the Valiant were made from concrete. [30] The first five Valiants produced were completed to a pre-production standard, the first being WP199. On 21 December 1953, the production aircraft conducted its first flight this had again occurred within the schedule that Edwards had promised. [36] [30]

On 8 February 1955, this first production Valiant was delivered to the RAF. [37] [4] Britain's "V-bomber" force, as it had been nicknamed in October 1952, formally entered operational service on that day. The Victor and Vulcan would soon follow the Valiant into service, for a total of three types of nuclear-armed strategic bombers in RAF service. In September 1957, the final Valiant was delivered. [38] According to Bill Gunston and Peter Gilchrist, all production aircraft had been delivered on time and below budget. [31]

A total of 108 Valiants were manufactured, including the sole B.2 prototype.

In addition to its principal role as part of Britain's nuclear deterrent, the Valiant bomber also dropped high explosive bombs. The bombers were followed into service by a strategic reconnaissance version and a multi-purpose version capable conventional bombing, aerial reconnaissance and aerial refuelling.

18 squadron operated 6 Valiants with electronic countermeasures equipment. [39]

Valiants of 90 and 214 squadrons were used for air refuelling through the addition of a Hose Drum Unit (HDU) in the bomb bay, mounted on the same suspension units that were also used for bombs. This meant that for refuelling, the bomb-bay doors had to be opened so that the refuelling hose could be streamed (unlike later tankers where the HDU was flush with the under fuselage rather than inside a bomb bay).

Several Valiants were also used for testing and development purposes, such as its use as a flying testbed during trials of the Blue Steel nuclear-armed standoff missile, which was later added to the arsenal of munitions the other V-bombers were equipped with. [40] [41]

Unlike the Vulcan and Victor, the Valiant did not see the production of a more capable mark 2 model. [4]

In 1962 the Valiant bomber squadrons were switched to a low-level flight profile in order to avoid enemy Surface-to-Air (SAM) defence systems.

In 1964 fatigue was discovered due to the increased air turbulence in low level flying and led to the type's premature retirement. Vic Flintham observed that: "There is a fine irony to the situation, for Vickers had produced the Type 673 B Mk 2 version designed as a fast, low-level pathfinder. The Air Ministry was not interested. " [41] The Valiant was Vickers' last purpose-built military aircraft. It was followed by the Vanguard, a passenger turboprop designed in 1959, and the Vickers VC10, a jet passenger aircraft in 1962, also used as a military transport and tanker by the RAF. [4]

The Valiant had a shoulder-mounted wing and four Rolls-Royce Avon RA.3 turbojet engines, each providing up to 6,500 pounds-force (29 kN) of thrust, installed in pairs in fireproof bays in each wing root. [42] The design of the Valiant gave an overall impression of a clean aircraft with swept-wing aerodynamics. George Edwards described the Valiant appropriately and simply as an "unfunny" aircraft. [43] The root chord thickness ratio of 12% allowed the Avon engines to be within the wing rather than on pods as in the contemporary Boeing B-47. [44] This "buried engine" installation contributed to the aircraft's aerodynamic cleanness, and was British practice at the time. It made engine access for maintenance and repair difficult and increased the risk that an uncontained failure of one engine would cause damage to the adjacent engine it also increased the complexity of the design of the main spar which had to be routed around the engines. [45]

The wing of the Valiant used a "compound sweep" configuration, devised by Vickers aerodynamicist Elfyn Richards. [46] Richards found that it would be advantageous to increase the sweep on the inboard section of the wing, a discovery which he later patented the Valiant's wing had 37° sweepback for the inner third of the wing, which reduced to 21° at the tips. [47] [48] This was because the thickness/chord ratio could be reduced closer to the tips. [46] The choice to have mild sweepback around the aerodynamic control surfaces meant that in-service speeds were limited to Mach 0.84 and a typical cruise of Mach 0.75 at heights up to 55,000 feet (17,000 m) when lightly loaded. [49] [50] A drogue parachute was deemed unnecessary even operating from runways as short as 6,000 feet (1,800 m). [30]

The wing was mounted high on the aircraft's fuselage and the placement of the engines and main landing gear within the wing limited the fuel that the wing could carry. [42] The trailing edge of the wing had two-section ailerons with trim tabs, and inboard of the ailerons were double-slotted flaps. [51] Direct electrical drives were used to move the flaps and other hydraulically-operated equipment was used. [52]

Production aircraft were powered by four Avon 201 turbojet engines, with 9,500 pounds-force (42 kN) thrust.

In addition to providing thrust for flight, the engines also provided bleed air for the pressurization, ice protection, and air conditioning systems. The aircraft's DC electrical generators were also driven by the engines. [52] Napier Spraymat electric heaters were installed in the engine inlets to prevent engine damage due to ice. The shape of the engine inlets were long rectangular slots in the first prototype, whereas production Valiants had oval or "spectacle" shaped inlets designed to pass greater airflow for the more powerful engines that were installed. [44] The jet exhausts emerged from fairings above the trailing edge of the wings. [44]

For required takeoff performance from short tropical dispersal bases, [53] a jettisonable rocket booster engines pack was developed for the Valiant. [31] Trials were performed with two underwing de Havilland Sprite boosters these were ultimately deemed unnecessary when more powerful variants of the Avon engine became available. Also, there was an increased risk of accidents if one booster rocket failed on takeoff, resulting in asymmetric thrust. [34] Some Valiant engines had water injection, which increased takeoff thrust by about 1,000 pounds-force (4.4 kN) per engine. [54]

The crew were in a pressurized compartment in the forward fuselage and consisted of a pilot, co-pilot, two navigators, and air signaller (later called an air electronics officer (AEO)). [55] Manufacture of this pressurized section was subcontracted to Saunders-Roe. The pilot and co-pilot were located side by side on an upper level, the remaining three crew sat at stations lower in the cockpit, and faced to the rear. [56] A crew of five had been enabled by the discontinuation of defensive gun turrets and accompanying air gunners, a design philosophy proved by the successful De Havilland Mosquito bomber of World War II. [48] [N 3] The pilot and copilot were provided with Martin-Baker Mk.3 ejector seats, while the rear crewmen were expected to bail out of the oval main entrance door on the port side of the fuselage. [57] It has been claimed that the survivability of the rear crewmen was substantially reduced due to the ineffectiveness of this method of escape. [42]

The fuselage area behind the pressurised crew section and forward of the wing was used to house much of the Valiant's avionics, and air conditioning equipment, and was sometimes called the "organ loft". [42] The Valiant had twin-wheel nosegear and tandem-wheel main gear that retracted outwards into recesses in the underside of the wing. Each of the main gears were equipped with multipad anti-skid disc brakes, and were telescopically linked so that a single drive motor could pull them up into the wing recesses. [42] Most of the aircraft's systems were electric, including the flaps and undercarriage. [58] The brakes and steering gear were hydraulically powered, the hydraulic pumps being electrically driven. [59] [60] The lower half of the aircraft's nose contained the scanner of the H2S radar in a glass fiber radome in addition, a visual bomb sight was set beneath the lower floor of the pressurised cockpit. [42] The avionics bay was not accessible from the cockpit but could be accessed via an entrance at the base of the rear fuselage leading to an internal catwalk above the aft of the bomb bay. [61]

The electrics used 112 volt direct current generators, one on each engine, for functions requiring large amounts of electrical power. A 28 V DC system was used for other systems including actuators that initiated the higher-voltage system functions. Backup batteries were a bank of 24 V units and 96 V batteries. 115 V alternating current was provided to systems such as radar the actuators for the flight surfaces, flaps, air brakes and undercarriage. [59] [62] [60] It was decided during development that as much of the aircraft would be electrically driven as was possible this design choice was due to electrical cabling being lighter than its hydraulic equivalent, and the electrical generators needed for the radar. [52]

The flight controls of the Valiant (ailerons, elevator and rudder) consisted of two channels of power control with full manual backup flying in manual was allowed for training purposes, being designed for operational use in the event of complete electrical failure., [59] and in "manual" the flight controls required considerable physical effort to operate. [60] All three axes of the flight controls had an artificial feel system, the pressure for which was provided via a ram-air inlet. [52]

The centre fuselage of the Valiant had a main backbone beam to support the weight of the two widely-set wing spars and five fuel cells in the upper fuselage.

The bomb bay was also in the lower half of the centre fuselage. [42] [63]

The aft fuselage used a semi-monocoque structure, being lighter than the centre fuselage the Boulton-Paul-produced electro-hydraulic power units for the ailerons, elevators, and rudder were contained within this space. [52]

The tail, which was attached to the rear fuselage was tapered rather than swept back, [42] the horizontal tailplane was mounted well up the vertical fin to keep it clear of the engines' exhaust. [46] The tailcone contained an ARI 5800 Orange Putter tail warning radar. [31]

The main structural components, spars and beams of the Valiant had been constructed from a zinc/magnesium/copper aluminium alloy designated as DTD683 in the UK. [64] [65] The Valiant had been designed with a 'Safe-Life' strategy [66] this combination of 'Safe-Life' and DTD683 came to be viewed as a severe mistake. In 1956, a publication within the Journal of the Institute of Metals [67] [N 4] condemned the material DTD683 as being unstable and capable of catastrophic failure when stressing the airframe close to its design limits. The "Safe-Life" design strategy was dismissed by a Lockheed engineer in a talk given to the Royal Aeronautical Society in 1956, because it did not guarantee safety from catastrophic failure. [68]

The Valiant B.1 could carry a single 10,000-pound (4,500 kg) nuclear weapon or up to 21 1,000 lb (450 kg) conventional bombs in its bomb bay. It was designed for the early fission-based nuclear weapons and also the newer and larger thermonuclear hydrogen bombs. [42]

A "clean" Valiant (one without underwing tanks) could climb straight to 50,000 ft after takeoff unless it had heavy stores in the large bomb bay. [ citation needed ]

In the aerial reconnaissance role, a camera crate would be installed in the bomb bay, along with a pair of cameras set into the fuselage and larger rear fuel tanks to extend the aircraft's endurance. [69] Large external fuel tanks under each wing with a capacity of 1,650 imperial gallons (7,500 l), could be used to extend range an auxiliary fuel tank could also be installed in the forward area of the bomb bay the external wing tanks were fitted as standard on Valiants that were operated as aerial refuelling tankers. [69] For receiving fuel, a fixed refuelling probe was fitted onto the aircraft's nose, this was connected to the fuel tanks via a pipe running along the outside of the canopy to avoid penetrating the pressure cabin. [70]

Nuclear deterrent Edit

The first squadron to be equipped with the Valiant was 138 Squadron, which formed at RAF Gaydon on 1 January 1955, with 232 Operational Conversion Unit forming at Gaydon on 21 February 1955 to convert crews to the new bomber. [71] Since the Valiant was part of an entirely new class of bombers for the RAF, the crews for the new type were selected from experienced aircrew, with first pilots requiring 1,750 flying hours as an aircraft captain, with at least one tour flying the Canberra, with second pilots needing 700 hours in command and the remaining three crewmembers had to be recommended for posting to the Valiant by their commanding officers. [72] Valiants were originally assigned to the strategic nuclear bombing role, as were the Vulcan and Victor B.1s when they became operational. At its peak, the Valiant equipped ten RAF squadrons. [73] [74]

According to Gunston and Gilchrist, the Valiant had performed "extremely well" during the annual bombing competition hosted by American Strategic Air Command (SAC). [70] American interest in the Valiant resulted in a visit to Vickers by USAF generals Vandenberg, Johnson and LeMay. Vickers test-pilot Brian Trubshaw believed that George Edwards was put under some pressure to build the Boeing B-47 under license. The only result from the visit was Le May's insistence that the Valiant pilot side-by-side seating be incorporated in the B-52 instead of the tandem arrangement in the B-47 and prototype B-52. [75]

On 11 October 1956, a Valiant B.1 (WZ366) of No 49 Squadron was the first RAF aircraft to drop a British atomic bomb when it performed a test drop of a down-rated Blue Danube weapon on Maralinga, South Australia. [76] Windscreen blinds were fitted in advance of the test to protect the crew from the intense flash of light from the nuclear detonation. Following the landing of the aircraft after deploying the weapon, WZ366 was assessed for potential damage and for radioactive contamination. [77]

On 15 May 1957, a Valiant B(K).1 (XD818) dropped the first British hydrogen bomb, the Short Granite, over the Pacific as part of Operation Grapple. [78] No 49 Squadron was selected to perform the live weapon drop, and were equipped with specially-modified Valiants to conform with the scientific requirements of the tests and other precautionary measures to protect against heat and radiation. [79] However, the measured yield was less than a third of the maximum expected although achieving a thermonuclear explosion.

On 8 November 1957 a British hydrogen bomb detonated with its planned yield in the Grapple X test. [80] The Grapple series of tests continued into 1958, and in April 1958 the Grapple Y bomb exploded with ten times the yield of the original "Short Granite". [81] Testing was finally terminated in November 1958, when the British government decided it would perform no more air-delivered nuclear tests. [70]

Originally the bombing role was to have been carried out at high altitude, but following the shooting down in 1960 of the Lockheed U-2 flown by Gary Powers by an early Soviet SA-2 Guideline missile, the SAM threat caused bomber squadrons to train for low-level attack as a means of avoiding radar detection when flying within hostile airspace. They were repainted in grey/green camouflage with normal markings, replacing their anti-flash white scheme. [41] By 1963, four Valiant squadrons (49, 148, 207 and 214) had been assigned to SACEUR in the low-level tactical bombing role. [70] By this point, there had been a noticeable decline in flying rates for the type. [70]

Conventional warfare Edit

Peacetime practice involved the dropping of small practice bombs on instrumented bombing ranges, and a system of predicted bombing using radio tones to mark the position of the bomb drop over non-range targets, the bomb error being calculated by a ground radar unit and passed either to the crew during flight or to a headquarters for analysis. Use of the Valiant's Navigational and Bombing System (NBS) and the high quality of assigned crews, who were typically veterans and often had been previously decorated for wartime service, meant a high level of bombing accuracy could be achieved, greater than that of aircraft during the Second World War. According to Gunston and Gilchrist, Valiant crews were able to place practice bombs from an altitude of 45,000 feet (14,000 m) within a few meters of their assigned target. [70]

In October and November 1956 the Valiant was the first of the V-bombers to see combat, during the Anglo-French-Israeli Suez campaign. During Operation Musketeer, the British military operation in what became known as the Suez Crisis, Valiants operating from the airfield at Luqa on Malta dropped conventional bombs on targets inside Egypt. Egyptian military airfields were the principal target other targets included communications such as radio stations and transport hubs. [82] On the first night of the operation, six Valiants were dispatched to bomb Cairo West Air Base (which was aborted in flight due to potential risk to US personnel in the vicinity) while six more attacked Almaza Air Base and a further five bombed Kibrit Air Base and Huckstep Barracks. [83] [84]

Although the Egyptians did not oppose the attacks and there were no Valiant combat losses, the results of the raids were reported as disappointing. Although the Valiants dropped a total of 842 long tons (856 t) of bombs, only three of the seven airfields attacked were seriously damaged. [N 5] The Egyptian Air Force had been effectively destroyed in a wider series of multinational attacks of which the Valiant bombing missions had been a part. [85] It was the last time RAF V-bombers flew a live combat mission until Avro Vulcans bombed Port Stanley airfield in the Falkland Islands during the Falklands War in 1982. [86]

Tanker operations Edit

Valiant tankers were flown by No. 214 Squadron at RAF Marham, operational in April 1956, and No. 90 Squadron at Honington, operational in 1959. [38] The two squadrons became full-time tanker squadrons on 1 April 1962. [87] Aircraft assigned to the tanker role were fitted with a Hose Drum Unit (HDU or "HooDoo") in the bomb bay. The HDU was mounted on bomb-mounting points and could be removed if necessary this arrangement meant that the bomb bay doors had to be opened in order to give fuel to a receiver aircraft. A control panel at the radar navigator station in the cockpit was used to operate the HDU. The HDU equipment was removable so that the aircraft could be reverted to the bomber role if required. [88]

With in-flight refuelling probes fitted to Valiants, Vulcans and Victors and Valiant tankers available to give fuel and extend the range of the aircraft being refuelled, the RAF Medium Bomber Force could go beyond "medium range", and the RAF had a long range capability. Long-range demonstration flights were made using Valiant tankers pre-deployed along the route. In 1960, a Valiant bomber flew non-stop from Marham in the UK to Singapore and in 1961 a Vulcan flew non-stop from the UK to Australia. [38] The two tanker squadrons regularly practised long range missions, refuelled by other Valiant tankers on the way. These included non-stop flights from the UK to Nairobi, RAF Gan and Singapore. [89] In 1963 a squadron of Gloster Javelin fighters was refuelled by tankers and flew in stages from the UK to India (Exercise "Shiksha") to support the Indian Air Force in a dispute over their border with China. [90] Other aircraft refuelled by Valiants at this time included Victor and Vulcan bombers, English Electric Lightning fighters, and de Havilland Sea Vixen and Supermarine Scimitar fighters of the Royal Navy. [91]

Countermeasures and reconnaissance roles Edit

Valiants of No. 18 Squadron RAF at RAF Finningley were modified to the "radio countermeasures" (RCM) role—now called "electronic countermeasures" (ECM). These aircraft were ultimately fitted with American APT-16A and ALT-7 jamming transmitters, Airborne Cigar and Carpet jammers, APR-4 and APR-9 "sniffing" receivers, and chaff dispensers. At least seven Valiants were configured to the RCM role. [92] [93]

Valiants of No. 543 Squadron at RAF Wyton were modified to serve in the photographic reconnaissance role. In one notable operation in 1965, Valiants of No. 543 Squadron photographed around 400,000 square miles (1,000,000 km 2 ) of Rhodesia across an 11-week period. [38]

Fatigue failures and retirement Edit

In 1956, Vickers had performed a series of low level tests in WZ383 to assess the type for low level flight at high speed. Several modifications to the aircraft were made, including a metal radome, debris guards on the two inboard engines, and after six flights the aileron and elevator artificial feel was reduced by 50%. Pilots reported problems with cabin heating and condensation that would need remedying. The aircraft was fitted with data recording equipment and these data were used by Vickers to estimate the remaining safe life of the type under these flying conditions. Initially a safe life of 75 hours was recommended, which became "the real figure might be less than 200 hours". [94] The number of hours flown by each Valiant in a year was an operational issue for the RAF. [95]

Later the RAE ran a similar series of tests that more closely resembled actual operational conditions including low level and taxiing the corresponding report published in 1958 produced data that could be used to get a better grasp on which flight conditions produced the most damage, and enable a better projection of the future life span for the type. [96]

In May 1957 Flight reported an "incident at Boscombe Down, when a Valiant rear spar was damaged after a rocket-assisted takeoff at overload weight (the reason for the rocket-assistance)" [97] This aircraft was the second prototype WB 215 it was subsequently broken up for wing fatigue testing after it had flown 489 hours. [98]

After years of front-line service, in July 1964, a cracked spar was found in one of the three Valiants (either WZ394 – Wynne, or WZ389 – Morgan) on Operation Pontifex. [99] This was followed on 6 August by a failure of the starboard wing rear spar at 30,000 ft, [100] in WP217, an OCU aircraft from Gaydon captained by Flight Lieutenant "Taffy" Foreman. The aircraft landed back at Gaydon but without flap deployment because damage to the starboard rear spar caused the flap rollers to come out of their guides so that the flap would not lower on that side. Later inspection of the aircraft also showed the fuselage skin below the starboard inner plane had buckled, popping the rivets the engine door had cracked and the rivets had been pulled and the skin buckled on the top surface of the mainplane between the two engines. [101] Both of these aircraft were PR variants. [102]

Inspections of the entire fleet showed that the wing spars were suffering from fatigue at between 35% and 75% of the assessed safe fatigue life, probably due to low level turbulence. [71] After this inspection, the aircraft were divided into three categories, Cat A aircraft continuing to fly, Cat B to fly to a repair base, and Cat C requiring repair before flying again. The tanker squadrons had the highest proportion of Cat A aircraft because their role had been mainly at high level. [71] This also caused the methods of assessing fatigue lives to be reviewed. [103] By the time the type was scrapped, only about 50 aircraft were still in service the rest had been slowly accumulating at various RAF Maintenance Units designated as "Non effective Aircraft". [104]

Initially there was no question of retiring the type, or even a majority of affected aircraft. Repairs were actively taking place at Valiant bases such as Marham using working parties from Vickers plus RAF technicians from the base. In January 1965, the Wilson government with Denis Healey as Secretary of State for Defence decided that the expense of the repairs could not be justified, given the short operational life left to the Valiant, and the fleet was permanently grounded as of 26 January 1965. [105] The QRA alert that had been in place for SACEUR was maintained until the final grounding. [106] When asked to make a statement regarding the Valiant's scrapping in the House of Commons, Denis Healey stated that it "was not in any way connected with low-level flying" and that the "last Government took the decision to continue operating the Valiant force for another four years after its planned fatigue life was complete". [107]

Aviation author Barry Jones commented in his book that: "A question has to be asked. For two years before the demise of the Valiant, Handley Page at Radlett had 100 Hastings go through their shops. They were completely dismantled and rebuilt, having DTD683 components removed and replaced by new alloy sections. What was so special about the Hastings and why was the Valiant not treated similarly? Perhaps we will know one day – but I doubt it." [108] A Flight report about the scrapping states "Fatigue affected all Valiants . not only those that had been used for some low flying". [109]

On 9 December 1964, the last Valiant tanker sortie in XD812 of 214 Squadron was refuelling Lightning aircraft over the North Sea and was recalled to land back at Marham before the scheduled exercise was completed. On the same day, the last Valiant bomber sortie was carried out by XD818. [N 6]

Including the three prototypes, a total of 107 Valiants were built. [110] [111]

  • Valiant B.1: 37 pure bomber variants, including five pre-production Type 600, Type 667 and Type 674s, which were powered by Avon RA.14 engines with the same 9,500 pounds-force (42 kN) thrust each as the earlier Avon 201 and 34 Type 706 full-production aircraft, powered by Avon RA.28, 204 or 205 engines with 10,500 pounds-force (47 kN) thrust each, longer tailpipes and water-methanol injection for takeoff boost power. [112]
  • Type 710 Valiant B(PR).1: eleven bomber/photo-reconnaissance aircraft. Edwards and his team had considered use of the Valiant for photo-reconnaissance from the start, and this particular type of aircraft could accommodate a removable "crate" in the bomb-bay, carrying up to eight narrow-view/high resolution cameras and four survey cameras. [112]
  • Type 733 Valiant B(PR)K.1: 14 bomber/photo-reconnaissance/tanker aircraft. [112]
  • Type 758 Valiant B(K).1: 44 bomber / tanker aircraft. Both tanker variants carried a removable tanker system in the bomb bay, featuring fuel tanks and a hose-and-drogue aerial refuelling system. A further 16 Valiant B(K).1s were ordered, but cancelled. [112]
  • Valiant B.2: 1 prototype. [112]
  • Vickers also considered an air transport version of the Valiant, with a low-mounted wing, wingspan increased from 114 feet 4 inches (34.85 m) to 140 feet (43 m), fuselage lengthened to 146 feet (45 m), and uprated engines. Work on a prototype, designated the Type 1000, began in early 1953. The prototype was to lead to a military transport version, the Type 1002, and a civilian transport version, the Type 1004 or VC.7. The Type 1000 prototype was almost complete when it, too, was cancelled. [112]

Valiant production ended in August 1957. [111] An order for 17 B.2 models was cancelled. [112]

    operated Valiants from RAF Gaydon, RAF Finningley, RAF Honington, RAF Marham, RAF Wittering and RAF Wyton by:
      – Reformed at Honington on 1 November 1956, moving to Wittering on 26 July 1960 and disbanding 30 September 1962. [73] – Valiant equipped C Flight of 199 Squadron renumbered 18 Squadron at Finningley on 17 December 1958 and disbanded 31 March 1963. [73] – Reformed Wittering 1 May 1956, moving to Marham 26 June 1961 and disbanding 1 May 1965. [73] – Reformed at Honington on 1 January 1957 and disbanded on 1 March 1965 . [73] – Reformed at Gaydon on 1 January 1955, moving to Wittering on 6 July 1955 and disbanding 1 April 1962. [73] – Reformed Marham 1 July 1956 and disbanded 1 May 1965. [73] – C Flight of 199 Squadron received Valiants on 29 May 1957 at Honington in the ECM training role, replacing Avro Lincolns, with the rest of the Squadron operating the Canberra. 199 Squadron was disbanded in December 1958, with C Flight becoming 18 Squadron. [73][113] – Reformed at Marham on 1 April 1956, disbanding on 1 May 1965. [73] – Reformed at Marham on 21 January 1956 and disbanded on 1 March 1965. [73] – Reformed at Gaydon on 1 April 1955 in the strategic reconnaissance role and moved to Wyton on 18 November 1955. It received Victor Mk 1s to replace its grounded Valiants in 1965. [73][114] – Formed at Gaydon 21 February 1955 to train Valiant flight crews, with Victor training added in 1957. The Valiant equipped B flight disbanded in February 1965. [73][115]
    • Vickers Valiant B1 XD818 – RAF Museum Cosford, on display with the other two V bombers, the Victor and Vulcan in the National Cold War Exhibition. This is the only fully intact example in existence, and so Cosford is the only place where an example of all three V bombers can be seen together. [116]
    • Cockpit sections surviving comprise XD816 at Brooklands Museum in Surrey [117] and XD875 at Morayvia, Kinloss. [118] A third surviving section is the cockpit of XD826 which is part of a private collection in Essex and the flight deck of XD857 is displayed at the Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum at Flixton, Suffolk. [119]
    • 12 January 1952 the first Valiant prototype WB210 crashed near Bransgore following a midair fire. [120]
    • 29 July 1955 Valiant B1 WP222 of No. 138 Squadron crashed on takeoff at RAF Wittering following aileron malfunction, killing all four crew. [121][122]
    • 11 May 1956 Valiant B1 WP202 of the Royal Aircraft Establishment lost control and crashed attempting to land at Southwick Recreation Ground, near Hove in Sussex. [121]
    • 13 September 1957: Valiant B(PR)K1 WZ398 of No. 543 Squadron caught fire in a hangar at RAF Wyton, not repaired. [123]
    • 11 September 1959: Valiant BK1 XD869 of No. 214 Squadron flew into the ground after a night takeoff from RAF Marham. [124]
    • 12 August 1960: Valiant BK1 XD864 of No. 7 Squadron nosewheel failed to retract on takeoff from RAF Wyton, while sorting it out the aircraft stalled and crashed into the ground at RAF Spanhoe disused airfield. [124]
    • 11 July 1961: Valiant B1 WP205 of the Aircraft and Armament Experimental Establishment overshot runway and hit control caravan at Boscombe Down. [121]
    • 3 November 1961: Valiant B(PR)K1 WZ399 of No. 543 Squadron abandoned takeoff at Offutt AFB, Nebraska, United States, caught fire after overshooting runway onto a railway line. [123]
    • 14 March 1961 Valiant B. 1 WP200 at RRFU Pershore, failed to complete takeoff, written off. [121][125]
    • 6 May 1964: Valiant B1 WZ363 of No. 148 Squadron (although a 148 Sqn aircraft, it was on loan to, and crewed by, members of 207 Sqn) dived into the ground at night at Market Rasen, Lincolnshire. [123]
    • 23 May 1964: Valiant B(PR)K1 WZ396 of No. 543 Squadron landed on foam with landing gear problems at RAF Manston, not repaired. [123]

    Data from Vickers Aircraft since 1908, [126] Jet Bombers [127]


    In response to Operational Requirement OR.94 calling for a bomber capable of operating at a cruising height of 35,000 feet over 2,200 miles, Vickers proposed the Mk.V and Mk.VI variants of the Wellington, around which Specifications B.23/39 and B.17/40 were written. The aircraft were fitted with a pressurised cabin in the forward fuselage and ultimately a 12 feet increase in wingspan. The two variants differed mainly in their powerplants, with the Mk.V having the Hercules Mk.VIII and the Mk.VI the Merlin 60 prototypes of both were built at Vickers’ Experimental Section site at Foxwarren, Cobham, a few miles from Weybridge. They first flew in 1940 and 1941 respectively, but a change in air staff policy led to second thoughts about the value of high-flying bombers and consequently only the Mk.VI was ordered into limited production, with sixty-four being built at Weybridge between May 1942 and January 1943 and assembled at Smith’s Lawn temporary airfield in Windsor Great Park. Testing at A&AEE Boscombe Down commenced with W5795 but on 12 July 1942 the aircraft dived at high speed from altitude, breaking up before it reached the ground, with the loss of Sqn Ldr Cyril Colmore and his crew. The probable cause was the failure of a propeller blade which penetrated the pressure cabin and hit the pilot. In December 1942, a production Mk.VI DR484 was used to demonstrate its true performance and included a cruising altitude of 34,000 feet (which the aircraft took fifty minutes to reach), an estimated range of 1,100 miles, and a height over the target of 37,100 feet.

    The aircraft was operated by a crew of four pilot, navigator, bomb aimer and wireless operator, all housed in the forward pressure cabin. The need for air gunners was removed as the turrets were to be operated remotely from the cabin and sighted via a periscope. In the event the only service use was with one flight of 109 Squadron which received four aircraft (W5801, W5802, DR480, DR484) as GEE trainers and for Oboe trials in concert with Mk.ICs T2513 and X9678 of the Telecommunications Flying Unit (TFU) Defford, Worcestershire with trials also being flown from Tempsford. The remainder of the Mk.VI fleet was struck off charge and scrapped between March 1943 and August 1944.

    A Mk.VI DR480 was to be have been fitted with a British Thomson-Houston built W.2B jet engine in November 1942, but these trials were delayed until 26 January 1943 and the aircraft was re-allocated for use at TFU Defford without being converted

    Type 407 and Type 421 Wellington Mark V were the second and first prototypes respectively: three were built, designed for pressurised, high-altitude operations using turbocharged Hercules VIII engines.

    Wellington Mark VI

    The Mk VI was developed at the same time as the Mk V, but using Rolls Royce Merlin 60 engines, providing 1,600 hp. These proved more successful than the Hercules III engines used in the Mk V, but high-altitude flight provided problems of its own, as many of the liquids used in the aircraft froze in the extreme cold. Sixty four Mk VIs were produced, and it was intended to use them with pathfinder squadrons to mark targets for the main bomber force, but by the time the Mk VI was ready for service the Mosquito had appeared, and was very obviously better suited to the role. The Mark VIs never saw combat, though two were flown by a service squadron for a short time, presumably as operational evaluation. Most of the Mark VI bombers were converted to “Wellington Mark VIG” trainers for the Gee radio precision bombing system. The surviving Mk VIs were scrapping in 1943.

    Mk.V Type 407, 421, 426, 436, 440, 443 – 3 built

    Hercules III 1,425 hp. High-altitude bomber to operate up to 40,000 ft. Prototypes R3298 & R3299 first flown August 1940. One further aircraft W5766. Type 443 one aircraft for Hercules VIII tests

    Mk.VI Type 431, 439, 442, 443, 449 – 64 built

    Wing span 86 ft 2 in length 61 ft 9 in height 17 ft 8 in, gross weight 30,450 lb, service ceiling 38,500 ft, range 2,275 miles with 1,500 lb bomb load. Merlin 60 1,600 hp. High-altitude bomber. Prototype W5795 plus 63 production aircraft, some used as GEE trainers by one flight of 109 Squadron which received 4 aircraft

    Vickers Wellington - Variants - Coastal Command Variants

    Type 429 Wellington GR Mark VIII Mark IC conversion for Coastal Command service. Roles included reconnaissance, anti-submarine and anti-shipping attack. A Coastal Command Wimpy was the first aircraft to be fitted with the anti-submarine Leigh light. A total of 307 were built built at Weybridge, 58 fitted with the Leigh Light. Type 458 Wellington GR Mark XI Maritime version of B Mark X with an ordinary nose turret and mast radar ASV Mark II instead of chin radome, no waist guns, 180 built at Weybridge and Blackpool. Type 455 Wellington GR Mark XII Maritime version of B Mark X armed with torpedoes and with a chin radome housing the ASV Mark III radar, single nose machine gun, 58 built at Weybridge and Chester. Type 466 Wellington GR Mark XIII Maritime version of B Mark X with an ordinary nose turret and mast radar ASV Mark II instead of chin radome, no waist guns, 844 built Weybridge and Blackpool. Type 467 Wellington GR Mark XIV Maritime version of B Mark X with a chin radome housing the ASV Mark III radar and added RP-3 explosive rocket rails to the wings, 841 built at Weybridge, Chester and Blackpool.

    Famous quotes containing the words command and/or variants :

    &ldquo How did you get in the Navy? How did you get on our side? Ah, you ignorant, arrogant, ambitious—keeping sixty two men in prison cause you got a palm tree for the work they did. I don’t know which I hate worse, you or that malignant growth that stands outside your door. How did you ever get command of a ship? I realize in wartime they have to scrape the bottom of the barrel. But where’d they ever scrape you up? &rdquo
    &mdashFrank S. Nugent (1908�)

    &ldquo Nationalist pride, like other variants of pride, can be a substitute for self-respect. &rdquo
    &mdashEric Hoffer (1902�)


    The Vickers Wellington stemmed from Air Ministry Specification B9/32 which called for a twin-engine ‘heavy’ bomber. Designed by Vickers-Armstrong’s R K Peterson, a method of geodetic construction devised by Barnes Wallis was used giving the fuselage an ability to withstand tremendous damage with little weight penalty. The prototype, called the Crecy, first took to the air on 15th June 1936 with chief test pilot Mutt Summers at the controls. Following revised Specification B29/35, the first true Wellington took to the air just before Christmas 1937 and an initial order for 180 aircraft was placed shortly thereafter.

    The Wellington soon became known as the “Wimpey”, after J Wellington Wimpey of Popeye cartoon fame, and constituted a major leap forward for the RAF in terms of both armament and payload. Powered by 2 × Bristol Pegasus Mark XVIII radial engines of 1,050 hp, its basic armament comprised 2 x .303 in Browning machine guns in front and rear turrets and it could carry a bomb load of 4,500 lb (some three times greater than the Heyford it was to replace). The Wellington entered RAF service with No 99 Squadron at RAF Mildenhall, in October 1938 and by September 1939 equipped a further seven front-line squadrons.

    At the outbreak of war, the Wellington was principally involved in daylight operations and, on 4 September 1939, 14 aircraft from Nos 9 and 149 Squadrons were in action against the German fleet at Brunsbüttel. The two shot down on this raid became the first aircraft lost on the Western Front. Anti-shipping operations continued until December when, after further losses, Wellingtons were switched to the night bombing task. The type participated in the first night raid on Berlin on 25 August 1940 and over half the aircraft involved in the three 1,000-bomber raids of May/June 1942 were Wellingtons. With the advent of the four-engine heavy bombers, its last bombing mission over Germany took place in October 1943 but, while superseded in the European Theatre, it remained in operational service in the Middle East for much of the war and on second line duties thereafter through to final retirement in the early 1950s.

    Many variants of the Wellington were built during its life and it also served with RAF Coastal, Transport and Training Commands and the air arms of 9 other countries.

    Of the 11,464 Wellingtons built in total, two survivors can be seen on static display at the RAF Museum, Hendon and at Brooklands.


    Створення [ ред. | ред. код ]

    20 жовтня 1932 року міністерство авіації Великої Британії видало літакобудівним компаніям Королівства завдання В.9/32, визначаючи вимоги до перспективного швидкісного двомоторного денного бомбардувальника, що мав прийти на заміну біпланам Болтон-Пол «Сайдстренд» Γ] . За поглядами керівництва Королівських ПС новий літак мав бути монопланом з розмахом крил не більше 23,34 м, екіпажем з чотирьох осіб та спроможністю нести бомбове навантаження 680 кг на відстань 970 км. Максимальна дальність з половинним навантаженням повинна була становити 2 012 км при крейсерській швидкості 201 км/год на висоті 4 570 м, а максимальна швидкість — щонайменше 306 км/год Β] .

    29 травня 1933 року комісія Королівських ПС відібрала прототипи фірм Vickers (майбутній «Веллінгтон») і Handley Page (майбутній «Гемпден») для побудови дослідних зразків з усіх проектів, що були представлені на замовлення за завданням В.9/32. У конструкторському бюро «Віккерс-Армстронг Авіейшн воркс» у Вейбриджі, де головним конструктором був Р.Пірсон [en] , а Бернс Волліс [en]  — головним інженером, створювався бомбардувальник «Веллінгтон» Δ] , у той час як суперники «Гендлі-Пейдж» наполегливо працювали над «Гемпденом».

    Характерною ознакою «Веллінгтона» стала геодетична конструкція, яку часто називають «геодезичною». Геодетичний (діагональний) набір був створений Б.Воллісом на базі попереднього досвіду конструювання ним дирижаблів Ε] . Використовуючи геодетичну силову конструкцію літака «Веллслі», першого з бомбардувальників-монопланів компанії «Віккерс», який на той момент ще не піднявся в повітря, конструктори «Віккерс» працювали над удосконаленням проекту під двигуни «Госхок».

    «Віккерс» ще в 1935 році побудувала перший літак на основі геодетичної конструкції — бомбардувальник «Веллслі», який перебував на озброєнні Королівських ПС з 1937 до 1942 року. На ньому відразу стали видно переваги «геодезичних» конструкцій — літак вийшов легким, міцним і спроможним до надзвичайно далеких перельотів. У листопаді 1938 році три спеціально підготовлених «Веллслі» здійснили рекордний безпосадковий політ на дальність 11 525 км з Ісмаїлії в Єгипті до Дарвіна в Австралії за 48 годин, перекривши рекорд радянського АНТ-25 у 10 148 км Α] . Але, як бомбардувальник літак був не дуже вдалим — позначалися маленька швидкість у 300 км/год і досить посередня вантажопідіймальність у 1000 фунтів (454 кг) Β] . Особливістю їхньої будови було те, що навантаження в архітектурній конструкції літального апарату сприймають елементи, розташовані уздовж геодезичних ліній (найкоротших ліній, що з'єднують дві точки на поверхні округлого тіла) Ζ] . Якщо уздовж геодезичних ліній розташувати конструкційні елементи з вузлами кріплення в точках перетину, то така конструкція сприйматиме крутильні і перерізувальні зусилля, що діють на фюзеляж. При цьому не потребувалися жодні внутрішні розчалки або розпірки, які так часто застосовувалися в авіації того часу. Відповідно, фюзеляж залишався вільним для розміщення всередині бомбового навантаження, великих і зручних кабін екіпажу й внутрішнього обладнання. Сама конструкція при цьому ставала вельми вигідною з точки зору економії ваги та міцності Ζ] . Зокрема, під час тестових випробувань на міцність у Фарнборо планер прототипу продемонстрував коефіцієнт запасу міцності при навантаженнях не 6 балів, як того вимагали умови конкурсу, а 11, що майже вдвічі перевищувало їхні вимоги до літака, при тому не проявивши ніяких послаблень чи порушень у конструкції Ε] .

    Згодом ця особливість у конструюванні літака виділила «Веллінгтон» з решти бомбардувальників Другої світової війни і стала одним з факторів, що визначив його «довге життя» у виробництві. Він став єдиним бомбардувальником Об'єднаного королівства, що випускався від початку до кінця війни Ώ] .

    Отже, розробка «Веллслі» дала корисний досвід у створенні «Веллінгтона», але, у процесі остаточного проектування довелося переробити майже весь проект і до першого польоту дослідницький зразок літака був готовий тільки в 1936 році Ζ] .

    5 червня 1936 року прототип літака отримав назву «Кресі» за місцем перемоги англійської піхоти над французькою лицарською кіннотою за часів Столітньої війни Η] , але 8 вересня 1936 року бомбардувальник був перехрещений на «Веллінгтон» на честь британського воєначальника, що розгромив Наполеона при Ватерлоо Η] . Це ім'я асоціювалося з назвою міста, але також і перекликався з попередньою машиною фірми, «Веллслі», — герцог Веллінгтон, «залізний герцог», був молодшим братом лорда Веллслі, державного діяча. До речі, «Веллінгтон» став другим з чотирьох бомбардувальників «Віккерс» геодетичної конструкції, назви яких починалися з «W» на честь їх конструктора Волліса [Прим. 2] .

    15 червня 1936 року у Вейбриджі шеф-пілот фірми «Віккерс» Джозеф Саммерс підняв прототип № К4049 у повітря Γ] , а через шість днів у повітря піднявся прототип «Гемпдена» фірми «Гендлі-Пейдж» ⎖] ⎗] .

    15 серпня 1936 року було видане перше замовлення на 180 літаків Β] Η] ΐ] . У 1937 році услід за першим контрактом фірма «Віккерс» отримала ще один замовлення на 200 бомбардувальників. Через свою геодетичну структуру «Веллінгтон» був непростий у виробництві, оскільки його каркас складався з тисяч взаємопов'язаних невеликих деталей. Однак, можна було роздрібнити планер на безліч вузлів, що виготовлялися субпідрядниками. Коли потік цих вузлів став стабільним, і оснащення для остаточного складання було готове, випуск літаків виявився досить простим процесом і став схожим на збірку конструктора.

    Коли «Віккерс» отримала перше замовлення, ставилося за мету збирати по одному літаку на день. Її досягли на заводі у Вейбриджі до кінця 1939 року. 1941 випуск подвоївся, а після того, як ввели збірні лінії в Честері і Блекпулі, виробництво ще більше зросло Β] .

    Разом з цим, роботи над літальним апаратом не припинялися й перші серійні літаки «Веллінгтон» Mk.I значно відрізнялися від прототипу, який зазнав катастрофу 11 листопада 1936 року через відрив керма висоти. Контури фюзеляжу ушляхетнили, нижня його частина стала плоскішою, щоб зручніше було розміщувати бомби, ніс подовжився й зникла «талія» перед хвостовою стрілецькою точкою. Встановили носову і кормову турелі в першій монтувався один кулемет з 600 набоями, а в другій — два з 1 000 набоями на ствол. Екіпаж зріс до п'яти осіб.

    23 грудня 1937 року у повітря піднявся перший серійний «Веллінгтон» Mk.I № L4212 з двигунами Bristol Pegasus X (так став називатися серійний «Пегасус» PE5SM) з трилопатевими гвинтами змінюваного кроку фірми «де Хавіленд» (de Havilland), які розвивали по 915 к. с. ⎘] 12 квітня 1938 року піднявся в повітря «Веллінгтон» з двигунами «Пегасус» XVIII Β] .

    У жовтні 1938 року почалося постачання серійних «Веллінгтон» Mk.I. 9-та ескадрилья повітряних сил на авіабазі Мілденхолл стала першою військовою частиною, яка отримала на озброєння новітні бомбардувальники ΐ] , а приблизно за рік були укомплектовані ще вісім ескадрилей: 9-та, 37-ма, 38-ма, 115-та і 149-та, що утворили 3-ю групу Бомбардувального командування 214-та і 215-та перебували в резерві, а 75-та і 148-ма ескадрильї виконували функції бойової підготовки льотчиків 6-ї бомбардувальної групи. Через кілька місяців після початку війни 75-ту оголосили «новозеландською» вона стала першою з багатьох авіачастин Співдружності в Бомбардувальному командуванні. До речі, у цій ескадрильї другим пілотом літав сержант Дж. Ворд [en] , який за виліт у ніч на 7 липня 1941 року отримав хрест Вікторії — єдиний з усіх екіпажів «Веллінгтона» ⎙] ⎚] .

    До початку війни ці машини планувалося застосовувати для денних бомбардувань без винищувального прикриття — вважалося, що зосереджений кулеметний вогонь «Веллінгтонів», що летять у зімкнутому строю, не дозволить ворожим перехоплювачам прицільно атакувати Α] .

    3 січня 1938 року почалися роботи по створенню варіантів «Веллінгтона» з різними двигунами: Mk.II з 12-циліндровими двигунами рідинного охолодження «Мерлін» фірми «Роллс-Ройс» Mk.III з 18-циліндровими «зірками» повітряного охолодження «Геркулес» фірми «Бристоль» і Mk.III з подібними двигунами «Твін Ваcп» американської фірми «Пратт-енд-Вітні». Дещо збільшили розміри планера: довжину на 152 мм, а розмах крил на 76 мм. Іншими відмінностями «Веллінгтона» II були збільшена до 12 700 кг злітна вага й посилене шасі з колесами більшого діаметра і подовженими підкосами Α] .

    Паралельно британськими авіаконструкторами велися роботи з усунення недоліків, виявлених під час розробок та експлуатації бомбардувальника. На нових версіях літака посилювалися основні стійки шасі й для підвищення шляхової стійкості ще раз збільшили кіль. Недостатній час реакції турелей «Віккерс» змусив розробників поліпшити захисне озброєння, для чого на нові зразки встановлювали дві гідроприводні турелі FN-5 і FN-10 фірми «Неш і Томпсон» з парою кулеметів калібру 7,7 мм у кожній, котрі добре зарекомендували себе на бомбардувальниках «Вїтлі» IV.

    12 квітня 1938 року вперше зібрали «Веллінгтон» Mk.IА з новими 1 050-сильними двигунами «Пегасус» XVIII, новими турелями та шасі. У серпні ці машини почали залишати складальні цехи. Варіант Mk.IВ не випускався серійно, оскільки він виявився гіршим за Mk.IА. У Вейбриджі побудували 170 «Веллінгтонів» Mk.IА і ще 17 — у Честері.

    На «Веллінгтоні» Mk.IС ввели електросистему з напругою 24 В (замість 12 В) для живлення радіокомпаса і вдосконалену гідросистему, сконструйовану для типу Mk.II. Двигуни «Пeгacyc» XVIII збереглися. «Веллінгтон» Mk.IС став першою модифікацією, що випускалася дійсно у великих кількостях. У Вейбриджі побудували 1 052, в Честері — 1 583 і в Блекпулі (де випуск розпочали у вересні 1940) — 50.

    3 березня 1939 року в повітря піднявся Mk.II, а 19 травня «Веллінгтон» Mk.III. Веллінгтон Mk.II був оснащений 1145-сильними двигунами. Однак через дефіцит двигунів «Мерлін» X, що широко використовувалися на винищувачах, до жовтня 1940 року затримався початок серійного випуску «двійки». Незважаючи на те, що польотна вага зросла до 15 т через установку важчих двигунів, максимальна швидкість зросла до 407 км/год проти 378 км/год у Mk.IС. Модифікований бомбардувальник піднімав 4000-фунтову (1814 кг) бомбу. Загалом їх випустили 400 одиниць. На Середземному фронті ці машини широко використовувалися для атак по конвоях, гаванях і містах південної Італії та Лівії, особливо по Бенгазі, головному порту на африканському узбережжі, через який йшло постачання німецького Африканського корпусу.

    «Веллінгтон» Mk.III з новітніми 1 425-сильними двигунами повітряного охолодження «Геркулес» III, став до ладу лише до початку 1941 року, хоча прототип здійснив перший політ ще у травні 1939. Подібно «Веллінгтону» Mk.II, період переходу моделі III від зразка до серії теж був доволі тернистім. Бомбардувальне командування дуже потребувало на той час надходження найсучасніших чотиримоторних важких бомбардувальників, але темпи виробництва залишали бути кращими, навіть поліпшена версія «Веллінгтонів» почала надходити лише в 1941 році. Основною причиною було те, що експериментальні двигуни «Геркулес» HE-1SM з двосхідчастими нагнітачами, що обертали гвинти-автомати «Де Хевілленд» діаметром 3,81 м, не виправдали очікувань Β] .

    Бойовий досвід застосування у війні попередніх моделей бомбардувальника продемонстрував низку недоліків, і для підвищення бойової ефективності нового «Веллінгтона» Mk.III довелося вжити ряд заходів. Посилили бронезахист, запротектирували всі бензобаки й на передній окрайці крила поставили ножі для перерізання тросів аеростатів загородження під кілем встановили чотириствольну турель FN 20A, яка прекрасно зарекомендувала себе на «Вїтлі» V.

    22 червня 1941 року на озброєння надійшли перші літаки нової модифікації Mk.III. Злітна вага зросла до 15 650 кг, а максимальна швидкість до 410 км/год — завдяки встановленню двох 1535-сильних двигунів «Геркулес» III. Пізніше стали встановлювати 1 675-сильні двигуни «Геркулес» XI. Виробництво «Веллінгтонів» Mk.III зосередили виключно в Честері і Блекпулі, які виготовили відповідно 780 і ​​737 бомбардувальників. У Вейбриджі зібрали тільки два експериментальних екземпляри разом з ними було випущено 1519 машин. Поставляння їх тривали до кінця 1943 року Α] .

    Модифікація Mk.III була пристосована для буксирування десантних планерів «Ейрспід Хотспур», «Гадріан» і «Горса». Швидкість буксирування найважчого планера «Горса» сягала 236 км/год, причому в бомбардувальнику розміщувалося десять десантників і 500 кг вантажу. Випробування також довели, що «Веллінгтон» може буксирувати літаки «Спітфайр» або «Харрікейн» з вимкненим двигуном. У такій спосіб мали намір доставляти підкріплення на Мальту з Гібралтару.

    На початку 1940 року було розміщено замовлення на створення прототипу бомбардувальника «Веллінгтон» Mk.IV з двома імпортними 1 050-сильними двигунами повітряного охолодження R-1830-SC34-C «Твін Восп» фірми «Пратт-енд-Вітні» і гвинтами діаметром 3,81 м американської фірми «Гамільтон-стандарт» Β] .

    У грудні 1940 року перший політ здійснив дослідний зразок «Веллінгтона» Mk.IV. Всього з серпня 1941 року в Честері зібрали 220 бомбардувальників Mk.IV з американськими двигунами. На половині цих літаків встановили чотирикулеметну кормову турель FN 20. Але, загалом нова версія повторювала широко використовуваний «Веллінгтон» Mk.IС.

    З початку 1942 року почалося серійне виробництво останньої бомбардувальної версії «Веллінгтона»: Mk.Х з 1 675-сильними двигунами «Геркулес» VI або XVI ΐ] . Застосування у цій версії нового сплаву на основі алюмінію зменшило вагу фюзеляжу і збільшило злітну вагу майже на тонну, зберігши при цьому його льотні характеристики. Всього побудували 3 803 одиниці «Веллінгтона» Mk.X це була наймасовіша модифікація «Веллінгтона» Α] .

    Ще у травні 1939 року штаб Королівських повітряних сил замовив фірмі «Віккерс» висотну модифікацію бомбардувальника, здатну завдавати точкових бомбових ударів з висоти не менше 11 000 м. За задумом замовників, літаки, оснащені висотними двигунами, з екіпажем з трьох осіб, основну частину польоту до цілі виконували б на звичайній висоті, що дозволяло хвостовому стрільцю, який був у негерметичній стрілецькій установці, успішно відбивати атаки винищувачів-перехоплювачів противника. При підльоті до визначеної цілі, оточеної сотнями зенітних гармат, стрілець перебирався в герметичну кабіну до пілота і штурмана, після чого бомбардувальник піднімався на недосяжну для снарядів 12-кілометрову висоту, звідки і завдавав удару. За завданням планувалося бомбове навантаження в 454 кг з тривалістю польоту понад дев'яти годин.

    Для реалізації цієї програми було розроблено дві модифікації: Mk.V з 1 425-сильними двигунами повітряного охолодження «Бристоль Геркулес» III (побудовано два дослідні зразки) і Mk.VI з 1 600-сильними двигунами рідинного охолодження «Роллс-Ройс Мерлін» 60. Обидві модифікації відрізнялися збільшеним розмахом крила, ненадійністю силових установок і відсутністю огляду для пілота.

    21 жовтня 1940 року відбувся перший політ «Веллінгтона» Mk.V. На висоті 20 000 футів (6 096 м) зледеніли ілюмінатори гермокабіни, що змусило припинити підйом. Найбільша висота в 30 000 футів (9 144 м) була досягнута цією машиною під час третьої спроби. Ці польоти виявили неспроможність двигунів «Геркулес» забезпечити бомбардувальнику достатню висотність.

    Негаразди з «Геркулесом» змусили «Віккерс» і міністерство авіації звернутися до «Роллс-Ройс», де роботи з серії висотних моторів «Роллс-Ройс Мерлін» 60 тривали плідніше Β] . Один з недобудованих серійних «Веллінгтонів» V оснастили парою «Мерлін» 60, позначивши його «Веллінгтоном» Mk.VI. Випробування цієї машини почалися у травні 1941, вона легко перевершила «п'ятірку» за висотними характеристиками і була наприкінці 1941 року запущена в серію. На озброєнні цього бомбардувальника було вісім 500-фунтових (227 кг) бомб.

    Варіантом призначеним для дій над морем став протичовновий «Веллінгтон» Mk.VIII. Використовуючи планер і двигуни від версії Mk.IС, конструктори встановили на ньому РЛС огляду ASU Mk.II, яка працювала в дециметровому діапазоні і дозволяла виявити підводний човен у позиційному положенні при відсутності видимості, а також потужний прожектор, встановлений на місці висувної турелі FN9. Прожектор передбачалося використовувати для супроводу німецьких субмарин, які прориваються в надводному положенні на великій швидкості в нічний час через контрольовану британською авіацією Біскайську затоку. Ефективність прожектора була підтверджена військовими випробуваннями. Екіпаж Mk.VIII збільшився на оператора РЛС і становив 6 осіб. Озброєння складалося з двох 420-фунтових (191 кг) глибинних бомб, у разі потреби підвішувалася авіаційна торпеда.

    З 1943 року на озброєння Берегового командування Великої Британії почали надходити модифікації на основі «Веллінгтона» Mk.Х з двигунами «Геркулес» і чотириточковою кормовою туреллю FN 20A. Це були денні морські бомбардувальники: Mk.XI з РЛС ASU Mk.II для пошуку цілей і озброєний переважно торпедою Mk.XII з досконалішим сантиметровим радаром ASU Mk.III в обтічнику під носовою частиною фюзеляжу. А встановлення на місці носової турелі радара американського виробництва SCR 720, як на нічних винищувачах «Де Хавіленд» DH 98 і «Москито» NF XII, призвела до появи спеціалізованого навчального літака «Веллінгтон» Mk.XVII, призначеного для тренувань операторів РЛС.

    Налагоджене серійне виробництво низьковисотного 1 735-сильного двигуна «Геркулес» XVII для патрульних літаків дозволило випустити 844 екземпляри «Веллінгтона» Mk.ХIII на основі Mk.XI. Установка тих же двигунів на планер від версії Mk.ХII привела до створення найдосконалішої та універсальної версії морського «Веллінгтона» Mk.XIV. На місці носової турелі на ньому встановлювали прозорий обтічник для спостерігача, що керував прожектором. Збудований 841 екземпляр цього нічного протичовнового літака.

    Крім того, побудували 80 навчальних літаків «Веллінгтон» Mk.XVIII з двигунами «Геркулес» XVII.

    Останній «Веллінгтон» Mk.XIX був створений вже після закінчення війни й призначався для тренування екіпажів. Концептуально він становив бомбардувальник Mk.Х з єдиним великокаліберним кулеметом на кормі.

    Загалом у період з 1937 до 1945 року британська авіакомпанія «Віккерс» побудувала 11 461 літак марки «Веллінгтон» Ώ] .

    Конструкція та дизайн [ ред. | ред. код ]

    «Віккерс Веллінгтон» — моноплан з крилами, що проходять через середню частину його перетину. Основу сталевого каркаса фюзеляжу становили 8 силових шпангоутів, з'єднаних 4 трубчастими стрингерами, до яких кріпилися діагонально розташовані численні легкі тонкі профілі, утворюючи форму і надаючи конструкції легкість і одночасну міцність. Поверх геодезичного набору кріпилися несилові дерев'яні стрингери, на які натягувалася полотняна обшивка. Така конструкція надавала літаку надзвичайну живучість, оскільки кожен елемент геодезичного набору міг сприймати навантаження інших елементів, у тому числі з протилежного боку фюзеляжу. Тому «Веллінгтони» могли повертатися з бойових вильотів з величезними ушкодженнями, фатальними для інших типів літаків Β] .

    Одночасно геодезичний набір забезпечував великий внутрішній простір і малу вагу всієї конструкції, що дозволяло здійснювати безперешкодний прохід вздовж усього фюзеляжу і багаторазово збільшити внутрішнє бомбове навантаження.

    Крило дволонжеронне, також геодезичної конструкції з полотняною обшивкою. Складалося з центроплана і двох відокремлених консолей. Великий внутрішній об'єм крила мав багато місця для розміщення 12 захищених паливних баків, що розташовувалися в центроплані поза мотогондоли — по 6 ліворуч та праворуч між переднім окрайком крила і лонжеронами, ще 2 баки — у верхній половині задньої частини мотогондол. Загальна місткість становила 3408 л, у бомбовому відсіку замість бомб можна було підвісити ще додаткові баки місткістю до 2 523 л.

    Основні стійки шасі з масляно-пневматичною амортизацією, пневматичними гальмами, прибиралися в мотогондоли за допомогою гідроприводу. Хвостова стійка забиралася у фюзеляж.

    Екіпаж літака складався з шести осіб: пілот сидів зліва в одномісній пілотській кабіні, за якою у своїх відсіках розміщувалися радист і штурман-бомбардир, по одному стрільцю в передній і задній баштах, ще один стрілець у фюзеляжі Β] .

    У трисекційному бомбовому відсіку розміщувалося до 18 бомб калібром 113 кг або, в односекційному відсіку, — бомба калібру 1814 кг. У бомбовідсіку розміщувалися надувні мішки, які утримували літак деякий час на плаву в разі аварійного приводнення Β] .

    Бойове застосування [ ред. | ред. код ]

    Участь «Веллінгтонів» у бойових вильотах розпочалася вже на другий день війни, коли 14 літаків модифікації I з 149-ї ескадрильї (разом з 15 «Бленхеймами» IV) відправили атакувати німецькі бойові кораблі в Брюнсбюттелі Δ] . Наліт виявився великою невдачею. Два «Веллінгтона» були втрачені Α] . Загалом усі денні вильоти на бомбардування об'єктів на території Німеччини та захоплених нею країн супроводжувалися для «Веллінгтонів», як правило, великими втратами. Краще збройні машини модифікації IA були використані в грудні 1939 року, коли 9-та, 37-ма, 38-ма, 99-та, 114-та, 147-ма і 149-та ескадрильї діяли проти німецьких кораблів у Гельголанді і Вільгельмсгафені. У двох випадках з трьох груп «Веллінгтони» зазнали значних втрат. 14 грудня 1939 року втратили 12 літаків з 99-ї ескадрильї, а 18 грудня були збити 10 з 22 машин (з трьох ескадрилей). Особливо слабким виявилося оборонне озброєння — завдати серйозних пошкоджень ворогу можна було з дистанції не більше 550 метрів, що дозволяло німецьким льотчикам-винищувачам безкарно розстрілювати «Веллінгтони» з гармат з більшої дистанції. Тому, вже на початку 1940 року «Веллінгтони» почали переводити до частин, що спеціалізувалися на нічних ударах.

    Досвід довів, що «Веллінгтон» є найкращим з трьох нових бомбардувальників британських повітряних сил («Веллінгтон», «Вїтлі», «Гемпден»), які використовувалися тоді для цих цілей британським Бомбардувальним командуванням. Він був швидкохідніше за «Вїтлі» і за умови рівного бомбового навантаження мав більшу дальність дії, ніж «Гемпден». Цей факт відобразився у збільшенні замовлень промисловості на 1940 рік і швидкому зростанні числа озброєних «Веллінгтонами» ескадрилей у 1941 році.

    Бомбардувальники «Веллінгтон» продовжили активно використовувати для нальотів на Німеччину і 25 серпня 1940 року їхні бомби вперше впали на Берлін. При цьому постійно відбувалося нарощування сил для нанесення ударів: якщо в нальоті на німецьку столицю 23 вересня брало участь 119 літаків, то 16 грудня у відповідь за Ковентрі удар завдало 134 бомбардувальники, з них 47 «Веллінтонів». До того ж почали випробувати і нове озброєння. В ніч на 1 квітня 1941 року вперше застосували в бойових умовах бомбу вагою 1 814 кг, скинувши її на Емден.

    До кінця року 1-шу групу (яка невдало дебютувала на бомбардувальниках «Беттл» у Франції в 1940 році) повністю переоснастили на «Веллінгтони». До її складу увійшли дев'ять боєздатних ескадрилей і одна в стадії освоєння нової техніки. У групі було чотири ескадрильї з особовим складом з поляків (300-та, 301-ша, 304-та і 305-та), дві австралійських (458-ма і 460-та) і чотири британські (103-тя, 150-та, 12-та і 142-га). 3-тя авіагрупа, що засвоїла «Веллінгтони» трохи раніше, налічувала 10 боєздатних ескадрилей (9-ту, 40-ву, 57-му, 75-ту новозеландську, 99-ту, 101-шу, 115-ту, 214-ту, 218-ту і 311-ту чехословацьку) плюс одна перебула в стадії переозброєння (419-та канадська). 4-та бомбардувальна група включала дві ескадрильї на «Веллінгтонах» Mk.II (104-та і 405-та канадські) Β] .

    На 23 лютого 1942 року, в день вступу в посаду командувача головного маршала авіації А. Гарріса Бомбардувальне командування нараховувало 256 «Веллінгтонів», 144 «Гемпдени» і близько 100 бомбардувальників інших типів. Таким чином, «Веллінгтон» опинився основним ударним бомбардувальником у військової кампанії, яка розпочалась наприкінці березня 1942 року проти промислових центрів і міст у західній та північно-західній частині Німеччини. У першому нальоті «1000 бомбардувальників» на Кельн з 1 043 літаків 599 були «Веллінгтонами».

    Піком застосування цих бомбардувальників став початок 1943 року, коли за перші місяці цього року значною мірою оснастили «Веллінгтонами» 6-ту бомбардувальну, так звану «канадську» групу. Шість із восьми ескадрилей канадських ВПС у цій групі літали на «Веллінгтонах». Однак з 1943 року роль та значення цих літаків для Бомбардувального командування почали швидко падати через те, що «входили в силу» чотиримоторні важкі бомбардувальники.

    Згодом «Веллінгтони» стали виконувати функції не тільки бомбардувальника. Найбільш важливі завдання вони виконували у складі підрозділів Берегового командування, в ролі протичовнових патрульних літаків, і зіграли важливу роль у битві за Атлантику починаючи з 1941 року. 6 липня 1942 року «Веллінгтон» потопив у Біскайській затоці західніше Ла-Рошелі перший ворожий підводний човен U-502 ⎛] . Загалом п'ять модифікацій були створені спеціально для Берегового командування. Однією із запропонованих ідей став проект оснащення «Веллінгтона» пристроєм, у формі металевого кільця діаметром 14,63 м, що генерує магнітне поле такої сили, щоб міна вибухнула після прольоту над нею літака на безпечній висоті і швидкості ⎜] .

    На інших театрах воєнних дій і в інших областях застосування бомбардувальник «Веллінгтон» продовжував грати свою важливу роль Α] . З Великої Британії останній бойовий виліт «Веллінгтон» стався в жовтні 1943 року. Однак, машини цього типу зберігалися в Бомбардувальному командуванні до 1944 року, як частина складу 192-ї ескадрильї особливого призначення в 100-й авіаційній групі. Спеціально обладнані літаки в 1941 році експлуатувалися 109-ю ескадрильєю в інтересах радіорозвідки повітряних сил. З 1942 року з цієї частини виділилися 1473-тя ланка особливого призначення, яка займалась електронною розвідкою, а 1474-та ланка особливого призначення спеціалізувалося на постановці перешкод. На початку 1943 року ці дві ланки об'єднали в 192-гу ескадрилью.

    Вступ у 1940 році у війну Італії й подальше збільшення інтенсивності бойових дій на Близькому Сході й в Північній Африці швидко змусили передислокувати «Веллінгтони» на інші театри війни. У вересні 1940 року 70-та ескадрилья, що базувалася в Єгипті як бомбардувально-транспортна частина, отримала «Веллінгтони» Mk.IС і негайно була кинута в бій проти італійських експедиційних військ, атакуючи судна і портові споруди в Бенгазі. 37-ма ескадрилья, була перекинута до Єгипту наприкінці 1940 року, де її використовували для підтримки операцій у Греції навесні 1941 року й в Іраку в травні.

    Наприкінці 1941 року 40-ва і 104-та ескадрильї перегнали свої «Веллінгтони» з Британських островів на Мальту, де на початку 1942 року до них приєдналася 37-ма. Потім всі три частини відправили до Єгипту для посилення 205-ї авіаційної групи. Крім того, в січні 1942 року на Близький Схід прибув підрозділ 109-ї ескадрильї, що згодом перетворився на 162-гу ескадрилью особливого призначення, котра вела електронну розвідку в Середземномор'ї на «Веллінгтонах» модифікацій IС, III і X до осені 1944 року. Ще дві ескадрильї «Веллінгтонів» з Англії, 142-гу і 150-ту, перекинули в Алжир наприкінці 1942 року, після висадки союзних військ на Африканському континенті. У другій половині 1943 три канадські частини з 6-ї групи — 420-та, 424-та і 425-та ескадрильї, здійснювали бойові польоти з Тунісу. Ці частини повернулися до метрополії наприкінці 1943 року для участі в «бомбардувальному наступі», але більшість інших підрозділів продовжували службу в 205-й групі в Північній Африці, а потім в Італії згодом їх перевели на «Ліберейтори». Останній виліт «Веллінгтон» у Середземномор'ї зафіксований 13 березня 1944 року по залізничної станції Тревізо.

    Після японського удару по Перл-Гарбору, «Веллінгтони» швидко перекинули на Далекий Схід ΐ] . У квітні 1942 року в Індію прибула 214-та ескадрилья з «Веллінгтонами» IС. Вона почала воювати з ночі на 23 квітня, завдаючи удари по японських землях. Водночас існує інформація, що 99-та ескадрилья прибула до Індії ще на початку 1942 року, і, мабуть, першою вступила в бій на цьому театрі, але відповідні документи не збереглися. Переоснащені потім на «Веллінгтони» Mk.III, а потім на «Веллінгтон» Mk.X, обидві ескадрильї успішно воювали у складі 221-ї авіаційної групи до кінця 1944 року.

    Список німецьких підводних човнів, потоплених екіпажами «Віккерс Веллінгтон» ΐ] [ ред. | ред. код ]

    Aviation Industry

    In 1915 Vickers started manufacturing aircraft at Brooklands and progressively extended their premises with the growing demand from military contracts. Women increasingly replaced the men in the factory who had been called away for war. The first true Vickers fighter to go into production at Brooklands was the Gunbus, the world’s first aircraft specifically designed to mount a machine gun. This was followed by the twin-engined Vimy, a long range bomber.

    Alongside Vickers’ production, the output of the Sopwith Aviation Company was even more prolific. Besides a large number of prototypes, numerous Camels, Snipes, Pups and Triplanes came off the production lines in nearby Kingston and were all test flown and delivered from Brooklands. Vickers and Sopwith, together with the Martinsyde and Bleriot companies who also had factories close to Brooklands, supplied the British air forces with most of the aircraft which won air superiority over the Western Front.

    World War Two

    When war began again in September 1939, the Vickers-Armstrongs and Hawker aircraft companies had exclusive use of the Brooklands site for military aircraft production. The Wellington was one of the world’s most advanced bomber aircraft at the start of World War Two and bore the brunt of the Allied bomber offensive in the early 1940s.

    Of 11,461 Wellingtons built by Vickers by 1943, 2,515 were built at Brooklands – one fifth of the total number. All 18 variants were developed and test flown here too. Throughout the war, Wellingtons performed an extraordinary variety of roles and the type was Britain’s most numerous and successful twin-engined bomber of that conflict serving throughout the RAF. In September 1985 Wellington ‘R for Robert’ was recovered from Loch Ness, having ditched there during a training flight in 1940, and returned to Brooklands where it has since been meticulously restored.

    Britain’s most successful fighter aircraft of this era was the Hawker Hurricane, designed by Sydney Camm at nearby Kingston. It was assembled and first flown in prototype form at Brooklands in November 1935. Altogether, 3,012 Hurricanes were produced at Brooklands – one fifth of the total built. When the Battle of Britain was fought in the summer of 1940, it was due to the tremendous production and test flying effort at Brooklands and other factories, and to the skills of the RAF pilots, that the Hurricane became the chief victor of this decisive engagement. At the time, Hurricanes equipped no less than two-thirds of RAF single fighter squadrons.

    Postwar Years

    Viking to VC10

    By the end of the war Brooklands had produced and flown a total of 5,748 military aircraft through the Hawker and Vickers companies, but the Track had been damaged by German bombing and war-time camouflage, defences and the construction of temporary buildings. In 1946 Vickers purchased the entire site for £330,000 and proceeded to design and build a new range of civil and military aircraft at Brooklands, including Britain’s first post-war airliner, the Vickers Viking.

    The Viscount was the most successful British civil airliner and the prototype was first flown from nearby Wisley in 1948. In total 444 Viscounts were built at Brooklands and Bournemouth before production ended in 1964.

    Following the success of the Viscount, the Vanguard was first flown from Brooklands in 1959 and in 1962 Brooklands entered the jet age with the first flight of the prototype VC10 airliner. Most of the factory workforce turned out to witness this event and all 53 production VC10s were flown out of Brooklands for completion and test flying at Wisely.

    TSR2 to Concorde

    In 1960 Vickers-Armstrongs became part of the newly formed British Aircraft Corporation (BAC) with its headquarters at Brooklands. Work continued on such aircraft as the TSR2, designed in the climate of the Cold War but cancelled in 1965, and the One-Eleven which coincided with the rise in package holidays in the 1960s and '70s.

    In 1969 the world’s first supersonic passenger aircraft made its inaugural test flight at Toulouse but it was at Brooklands that the first preliminary design meeting was held in Chairman Sir George Edwards’ office and more of Concorde was built at Brooklands than at any other manufacturing site.

    In 1977, British Aerospace was formed by the merger of BAC with Hawker Siddeley Aviation but the factory at Brooklands was already contracting in size and no longer built complete aircraft. In July 1986, the factory’s closure was announced and demolition took place in 1989-90. The Heights business park and a new housing estate occupy the site of the British Aerospace East Works today.

    The Vickers Wellington And Its Defensive Ring

    If you are a warbird aficionado at one point or another you may have seen some planes large metal rings surrounding them. In particular, the Vickers Wellington was equipped with these hoops, surrounding their entire frame. What many people don’t realize is that these rings actually served a defensive purpose, for a putting a stop to German mines.

    The waters surrounding Great Britain were littered with mines used for anti-submarine warfare. The Germans had a particularly nasty mine that was actually magnetic and would attract itself to nearby subs and detonate. In order to deter the magnetic mines, the RAF devised a means involving the hoops on the Vickers Wellington.

    The DWI variant of the Vickers Wellington uses the large metal hoop to fly over mined areas and emit a magnetic charge to cause the mines to explode. This was a particularly dangerous task because the bombers had to fly low over the water and were still well within the blast range.

    “The aircraft had to fly slow and low enough to trigger the mine, but not so slow or low that it would be damaged by the explosion. This was a very low-level operation – initial tests took place at 60 feet, with 35 feet felt to be the minimum safe altitude.”

    The anti-mine ring proved to be quite successful and was later installed on planes such as the Catalina and was even used by German planes to de-mine their own waters to provide safe entry for U-boats. There is an interesting History to the development of this technology beginning with the capture of a German magnetic mine, you can watch it in this video from Bismarck.

    From Graces Guide

    Note: This is a sub-section of Vickers-Armstrongs

    The Vickers Wellington was a British twin-engine, long range medium bomber designed in the mid-1930s at Brooklands in Weybridge, Surrey, by Vickers-Armstrongs' Chief Designer, R. K. Pierson in response to specification B.9/32. Issued in the middle of 1932 this called for a twin-engined day bomber of perceptibly higher performance than any previous designs. It was widely used as a night bomber in the early years of the Second World War, before being displaced as a bomber by the larger four-engine "heavies" such as the Avro Lancaster. The Wellington continued to serve throughout the war in other duties, particularly as an anti-submarine aircraft. It was the only British bomber to be produced for the entire duration of the war, and was still first-line equipment when the war ended. The Wellington was one of two bombers named after Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, the other being the Vickers Wellesley.

    The Wellington used a geodesic construction method, which had been devised by Barnes Wallis inspired by his work on airships, and had previously been used to build the single-engine Wellesley light bomber. The fuselage was built up from 1,650 elements, consisting of aluminium alloy (duralumin) W-beams that were formed into a large framework. Wooden battens were screwed onto the aluminium, and these were covered with Irish linen, which, once treated with many layers of dope, formed the outer skin of the aircraft. The metal lattice gave the structure tremendous strength, because any one of the stringers could support some of the weight from even the opposite side of the aircraft. Blowing out one side's beams would still leave the aircraft as a whole intact as a result, Wellingtons with huge areas of framework missing continued to return home when other types would not have survived the dramatic effect was enhanced by the doped fabric skin burning off, leaving the naked frames exposed.

    In one case, a German Bf 110 night-fighter attacked a Wellington returning from an attack on Münster, Germany, causing a fire at the rear of the starboard engine. Co-pilot Sergeant James Allen Ward climbed out of the fuselage in flight, kicked holes in the doped fabric of the wing for foot and hand holds to reach the starboard engine, and physically smothered the burning upper wing covering. He and the aircraft returned home safely, and Ward was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions.

    The geodesic structure also gave a very strong but light structure for its large size, which gave the Wellington a load and range to power ratio advantage over similar aircraft, without sacrificing robustness or protective devices such as armour plate or self-sealing fuel tanks.

    The construction system also had a distinct disadvantage in that it took considerably longer to build a Wellington than other designs using monocoque construction techniques. Also, it was difficult to cut holes into the fuselage to provide additional access or equipment fixtures.

    The Leigh light, for instance, was deployed through the mounting for the absent FN9 ventral turret. Nevertheless, in the late 1930s Vickers succeeded in building Wellingtons at a rate of one a day at Weybridge and 50 a month at the Chester factory (located at Broughton in North Wales). Peak wartime production in 1942 saw monthly rates of 70 achieved at Weybridge, 130 at Broughton and 102 at Blackpool.

    The Wellington went through a total of 16 variants during its production life plus a further two training conversions after the war. The prototype serial K4049 designed to satisfy Ministry Specification B.9/32, first flew as a Type 271 (and initially named Crecy) from Brooklands on 15 June 1936 with chief test pilot Joseph Summers as pilot. After many changes to the design, it was accepted on 15 August 1936 for production with the name Wellington.

    The first model was the Wellington Mark I, powered by a pair of 1,050 hp (780 kW) Bristol Pegasus engines, of which 180 were built, 150 for the Royal Air Force and 30 for the Royal New Zealand Air Force (which were transferred to the RAF on the outbreak of war and used by 75 Squadron). The Mark I first entered service with No. 9 Squadron RAF in October 1938. Improvements to the turrets resulted in 183 Mark IA Wellingtons, which equipped the RAF Bomber Command heavy bomber squadrons at the outbreak of war. The Wellington was initially outnumbered by its twin-engine contemporaries, the Handley Page Hampden and the Armstrong Whitworth Whitley, but ultimately outlasted them in productive service. The number of Wellingtons built totalled 11,461 of all versions, the last of which was rolled out on 13 October 1945.

    As a propaganda and morale boosting exercise, in October 1943 workers at the Vickers Broughton factory gave up their weekend to build Wellington number LN514 against the clock. The bomber was assembled in new world record time of 23 hours 50 minutes, and took off after 24 hours 48 minutes, beating the previous record of 48 hours set by an American factory in California. The bomber was usually built within 60 hours. The effort was filmed for the Ministry of Information, forming the basis of a newsreel Worker's Week-End, broadcast in Britain and America.

    The first RAF bombing attack of the war was made by Wellingtons of No. 9 and No. 149 Squadrons, along with Bristol Blenheims, on German shipping at Brunsbüttel on 4 September 1939. During this raid, the two Wellingtons became the first aircraft shot down on the Western Front. Numbers 9, 37 and 149 Squadrons saw action on 18 December 1939 on a mission against German shipping on the Schillig Roads and Wilhelmshaven. Luftwaffe fighters destroyed 12 of the bombers and badly damaged three others thus highlighting the aircraft's vulnerability to attacking fighters, having neither self-sealing fuel tanks nor sufficient defensive armament. In particular, while the aircraft's nose and tail turrets protected against attacks from the front and rear, the Wellington had no defences against attacks from the beam and above, as it had not been believed that such attacks were possible owing to the high speed of aircraft involved.[5] As a consequence, Wellingtons were switched to night operations and participated in the first night raid on Berlin on 25 August 1940. In the first 1,000-aircraft raid on Cologne, on 30 May 1942, 599 out of 1,046 aircraft were Wellingtons (101 of them were flown by Polish aircrew).

    With Bomber Command, Wellingtons flew 47,409 operations, dropped 41,823 tons of bombs and lost 1,332 aircraft in action.

    Coastal Command Wellingtons carried out anti-submarine duties and sank their first enemy vessel on 6 July 1942. DWI versions (see below) fitted with a 48 ft diameter metal hoop were used for exploding enemy mines by generating a powerful magnetic field as it passed over them. In 1944, Wellingtons of Coastal Command were deployed to Greece, and performed various support duties during the RAF involvement in the Greek Civil War. A few Wellingtons were operated by the Hellenic Air Force.

    While the Wellington was superseded in the European Theatre, it remained in operational service for much of the war in the Middle East, and in 1942, Wellingtons based in India became the RAF's first long-range bomber operating in the Far East. It was particularly effective with the South African Air Force in North Africa. This versatile aircraft also served in anti-submarine duties with 26 Squadron SAAF based in Takoradi, Gold Coast (now known as Ghana).

    In late 1944, a radar-equipped Wellington was modified for use by the RAF's Fighter Interception Unit as what would now be described as an Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft. It operated at an altitude of some 4,000 ft (1,219 m) over the North Sea to control de Havilland Mosquito fighters intercepting Heinkel He 111 bombers flying from Dutch airbases and carrying out airborne launches of the V-1 flying bomb.

    The Wellington is listed in the appendix to the novel KG 200 as one flown by the German secret operations unit KG 200, which also tested, evaluated and sometimes clandestinely operated captured enemy aircraft during the Second World War

    Watch the video: The Vickers Wellington