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    Westland Lysander Liaison / Army Cooperation Aircraft

    The Westland Lysander arrived just in time to do battle in World War 2 and saw considerable service in the period following the Grand Conflict.

     Updated: 11/7/2016; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    In 1934, the British Air Ministry released a requirement for a new "Army Co-Operation / Liaison Aircraft" (Specification A.39/34). The role called for a platform capable of rough-field / short-field operation, long loitering times and excellent vision out-of-the-aircraft. The result of the new initiative became the high-winged, two-seat (tandem) Westland "Lysander" of which 1,786 examples were produced. Service introduction came in June of 1938 following a first-flight recorded two years earlier on June 15th (1936).

    The series went on to see operational service during all of World War 2 (1939-1945) and was ultimately taken on by the forces of Australia, British India, Canada, Egypt, Finland, France (Free France), Ireland, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.

    The aircraft was given a high-mounted monoplane wing arrangement sitting the wings well-forward of midships. The high wing mounting allowed for excellent lift properties needed for Short-Take-Off and Landing (STOL) operation. V-shaped struts secured the underside of the wing (at about the midway point) and reached down to the fixed undercarriage fairings. The main leg wheels were spatted to preserve aerodynamic efficiency while the tailwheel was fixed during flight. The crew cabin was extensively glazed for the vision out-of-the-aircraft needed. The engine was fitted to a compartment at the nose in the usual way (driving a three-bladed propeller unit) and the tail consisted of a single vertical fin with low-set horizontal planes.

    Two prototypes were used to prove the design sound - the first flying with a Bristol Mercury XII radial engine of 890 horsepower. It proved successful and this led to adoption of the aircraft as the Lysander Mk.I of which 169 of the type followed into service.

    There were ten notable variants of the Lysander line: Lysander Mk.I was armed with 2 x .303 Browning machine guns in fixed, forward-firing mounts at the wheel fairings and a trainable Lewis or Vickers machine gun for the rear observer / gunner. Additionally, this mark could carry a modest bombload totaling nearly 600lb of conventional drop ordnance. Lysander TT Mk.I marked target tug aircraft converted from retiring Mk.I airframes.

    The Lysander Mk.II was powered by the Bristol Perseus XII radial piston engine (sleeve valve) of 905 horsepower. Its target tug forms were known as Lysander TT Mk.II. 517 were built to the Lysander Mk.II standard.

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    Westland Lysander Mk III Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1938
    Type: Liaison / Army Cooperation Aircraft
    National Origin: United Kingdom
    Manufacturer(s): Westland Aircraft - UK
    Production Total: 1,786

    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

    Operating Crew: 2
    Length: 30.51 feet (9.3 meters)
    Width: 50.03 feet (15.25 meters)
    Height: 14.53 feet (4.43 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 4,376 lb (1,985 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 6,338 lb (2,875 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

    Engine(s): 1 x Bristol Mercury XX radial piston engine developing 870 horsepower.

    Maximum Speed: 211 mph (340 kph; 184 knots)
    Maximum Range: 600 miles (965 km)
    Service Ceiling: 21,490 feet (6,550 meters; 4.07 miles)
    Rate-of-Climb: 1,250 feet-per-minute (381 m/min)

    Armament / Mission Payload

    2 x 7.7mm Browning machine guns in fixed, forward-firing positions at wheel fairings.
    2 x 7.7mm Lewis machine guns at observer's position.

    4 x 20lb conventional drop bombs (rear fuselage)

    up to 500lb of conventional drop bomb under wings if fitted with wing stubs.

    Global Operators / Customers

    Australia; Canada; Egypt; Finland; France (Free French); India (British India); Ireland; Poland; Portugal; South Africa; Turkey; United Kingdom; United States

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

    Lysander - Base Series Name

    Lysander Mk I - Initial production mark; Bristol Mercury XII engine of 890 horsepower; 2 x .303 Browning fixed machine guns; 1 x .303 Lewis/Vickers trainable machine gun; optional wing stubs for conventional drop ordnance.

    Lysander TT Mk I - Target tug conversion model

    Lysander Mk II - Fitted with Bristol Perseus XII radial engine of 905 horsepower.

    Lysander TT Mk II - Target tug conversion model

    Lysander Mk III - Fitted with Bristol Mercury XX / 30 radial engines; 2 x .303 machine guns in rear cockpit.

    Lysander Mk IIIA - Bristol Mercury 20 series engine; 2 x .303 machine guns in rear cockpit.

    Lysander Mk III SCW ("Special Contract Westland") - Specially-modified version for clandestine operations; external ladder fitted; increased fuel stores; sans all armament.

    Lysander TT Mk III - Target tug conversion model from stock of Mk.I, Mk.II and Mk.III aircraft.

    Lysander TT Mk IIIA - Target tug conversions from Mk.III models; 100 examples.

    P/12 Lysander Delanne ("Westland Wendover") - Proposed version fitting 4-gunned powered turret at rear of fuselage; revised, twin-tailed arrangement; trialed with dummy turret but not adopted for service.