Vickers Warwick Multirole Heavy Bomber Aircraft
Though developed as a heavy bomber, the twin-engine Vickers Warwick saw more time in other roles during World War 2.
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The Vickers Warwick became a further evolution of the Type 271 design which was intended to fulfill the earlier Specification B.9/32. The new aircraft was arranged around Specification B.1/35 of 1935 to serve as a heavy bomber despite its reliance on a twin-engine configuration (heavies of the period generally carried four or more engines). For the requirement Vickers formulated the Type 284 and outfitted the design with Bristol Hercules radial piston engines, one nacelle fitted to either wing mainplane. The mainplanes were mid-mounted along the deep fuselage which sported a stepped cockpit arrangement, the nose glazed some for vision by the bombardier. The fuselage tapered at the rear to which a single vertical fin was featured with low-set horizontal planes. A tail-dragger undercarriage would be used for ground running and be made retractable in to the aircraft.
The Type 284 was one of eight aircraft designs submitted for review to the Air Ministry and became the first to be ordered in prototype form - two were ultimately completed. 1936 and 1937 saw formal revisions to the requirement as well as mounting delays with the intended engines (now Rolls-Royce "Vulture" inlines) and other issues including a commitment to other wartime programs on the part of Vickers. First flight was finally had on August 13th, 1939 and the second prototype followed with Bristol Centaurus engines - later changed to the Pratt & Whitney R2800 "Double Wasp" series due to limited Centaurus supplies. As with other large Vickers aircraft of the day, a geodesic "basket-weave" understructure was employed in the construction of the Warwick - adding a certain layer of manufacturing complexity while benefitting the design through strength and weight savings.
A first-order by the Royal Air Force (RAF) was for 150 of the Pratt & Whitney-engined bombers and a follow-on batch of 100 Centaurus-engined forms. This therefore produced the Warwick Mk I and Warwick Mk II production forms with the first delivered to the RAF inventory in July of 1942.