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  • Supermarine B.12/36 (Type 316) Heavy Bomber Prototype

    This Supermarine bomber project was, itself, ended by German bombs dropped on the production facility in September of 1940.

     Updated: 8/16/2016; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    Specification B.12/36 was issued by the British Air Ministry in 1936 to cover a new, all-modern, four-engined heavy bomber for use by the Royal Air Force (RAF). Three designs came from this initiative which was eventually fulfilled by the Short "Stirling" (detailed elsewhere on this site). The other two submissions were the ultimately-abandoned Armstrong Whitworth B.12/36 and the Supermarine B.12/36, the latter which produced the related Type 316, Type 317, and Type 318 forms.

    Supermarine went down in World War 2 history as the makers of the classic "Spitfire" fighter series and added a navalized form through its "Seafire" development. However, large aircraft types were not out of its design, development and construction scope and proven by the many flying boats the company put out prior to the conflict. Against the details of their proposed "Type 316" to fulfill Specification B.12/36, Supermarine was contracted for two prototypes in 1937.

    The Air Ministry sought a four-engined type with a maximum bomb load of 14,000lb and a range out to 2,000 miles. Conversely, engineers could opt for a longer-endurance design of 3,000 mile range with a reduced internal bomb load of 8,000lb. Cruising speeds would reach at least 230 miles per hour when flying at about 15,000 feet and turrets would be featured for local defense against enemy fighters. Beyond its service as a heavy bomber, the airframe should also prove suitable for service in the transport role. Drive power was also given some leeway for either Bristol (Hercules) or Rolls-Royce (Merlins) were under consideration for finalized bomber production forms. This produced the "Type 317" (Hercules-powered) and the "Type 318" (Merlin-powered) variants. In the end, the Merlin-powered variant was given up for good - no doubt those engines badly needed in other more important types like Spitfire fighters.

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    Supermarine B.12/36 (Type 316) Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1937
    Type: Heavy Bomber Prototype
    National Origin: United Kingdom
    Manufacturer(s): Supermarine - United Kingdom
    Production Total: 2

    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

    Operating Crew: 6
    Length: 73.49 feet (22.4 meters)
    Width: 97.01 feet (29.57 meters)
    Height: 21.98 feet (6.70 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 38,581 lb (17,500 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 59,007 lb (26,765 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

    Engine(s): 4 x Bristol Hercules HE 1.5M air-cooled radial piston engines developing 1,330 horsepower each.

    Maximum Speed: 329 mph (530 kph; 286 knots)
    Maximum Range: 3,679 miles (5,920 km)
    Service Ceiling: 31,972 feet (9,745 meters; 6.06 miles)
    Rate-of-Climb: 800 feet-per-minute (244 m/min)

    Armament / Mission Payload

    PROPOSED, DEFENSIVE (Never Fitted):
    8 x 0.303in (7.7mm) machine guns in multiple defensive positions including the nose and tail.

    7 x 2,000lb conventional drop bombs or similar load.

    Global Operators / Customers

    United Kingdom (cancelled)

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

    B.12/36 - Air Ministry Specification

    Type 316 - Original proposed bomber form by Supermarine evolving to become the Type 317/Type 318 offerings.

    Type 317 - Bristol Hercules-engined form eventually to serve as the production-quality model.

    Type 318 - Rolls-Royce Merlin-engined form eventually dropped from consideration.