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  • Avro Lancaster Four-Engined Heavy Bomber / Reconnaissance Aircraft

    The Avro Lancaster was the definitive heavy bomber of the British cause during World War 2 - considered by many to be the best of the entire conflict.

     Updated: 6/7/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    The Avro Lancaster went on to become the most important British heavy bomber or World War 2. Interestingly, its success was born from the failure of the Avro Manchester bomber - a twin-engined heavy bomber first flown in July of 1939 and adopted in November of 1940. The type was hampered by unreliable engines that led to only 202 examples being produced in all. The Lancaster was born from this failed design to include different engines set along a revised wing. The prototype version was nothing more than a revised Manchester complete with its triple vertical finned tail unit - the key difference lay in the selection of the Rolls-Royce Merlin X series inline piston engines of 1,145 horsepower each. Within time, the triple-finned tail unit was given up in favor of the standard twin rudder arrangement common to the Lancaster history.

    In its prototype form, the Lancaster went airborne for the first time on January 9th, 1941. With World War 2 in full swing and the British commitment extensive, the prototype was quickly handed to Boscombe Down for formal evaluations. Development was so speedy that a production-quality form was airborne as early as October 1941 and the series, upon passing its requisite trials, was adopted for operational service in February of 1942, quantitative orders forthcoming. Early production versions were born for Manchester airframes still on Avro lines and inducted into RAF service as the Lancaster B.Mk I.

    Images Gallery


    Avro Lancaster B.Mk I Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1942
    Type: Four-Engined Heavy Bomber / Reconnaissance Aircraft
    National Origin: United Kingdom
    Manufacturer(s): Avro (AV Roe) / Armstrong Whitworth - UK
    Production Total: 7,377

    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

    Operating Crew: 7
    Length: 69.49 feet (21.18 meters)
    Width: 102.00 feet (31.09 meters)
    Height: 20.01 feet (6.10 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 36,901 lb (16,738 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 69,999 lb (31,751 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

    Engine(s): 4 x Rolls-Royce Merlin XX V12 water-cooled, inline piston engines developing 1,280 horsepower each.

    Maximum Speed: 287 mph (462 kph; 249 knots)
    Maximum Range: 2,529 miles (4,070 km)
    Service Ceiling: 24,508 feet (7,470 meters; 4.64 miles)

    Armament / Mission Payload

    2 x 7.7mm Browning machine guns in nose turret
    2 x 7.7mm Browning machine guns in dorsal turret
    4 x 7.7mm Browning machine guns in tail turret

    4,000lbs to 22,000lbs of internal ordnance or specialized mission equipment (22,000lb Grand Slam, 12,000lb Tallboy or 9,250lb Upkeep bombs).

    Global Operators / Customers

    Argentina; Australia; Canada; Egypt; France; Poland; Soviet Union; Sweden; United Kingdom

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

    Type 683 - Initial Avro Model Designation

    Mk I - Initial Prototype and Production Model Designation (1941); two prototypes completed.

    B.Mk I - Redesignated from 1942 onwards; definitive production model; 3,425 examples completed.

    PR.Mk I - Photo-reconnaissance variant based on the Mk I sans armament.

    B.Mk I (FE) - Tropicalized Far East variant of the Mk I

    B.Mk II - Fitted with Bristol Hercules VI/XVI radial engines; 300 produced by Armstrong Whitworth.

    B.Mk III - B.Mk Is fitted with American Packard Merlin engines; 3,039 produced.

    ASR.Mk I - Air-Sea Rescue Platform

    GR.Mk III / MR.Mk III - Maritime Reconnaissance Platform

    B.Mk IV - Lengthened fuselage with increased wingspan; fitted with Bouton Paul turret and 2 x 0.50 caliber Browning machine guns; mixed Merlin 85 and 68 engine configuration; redesigned nose; becoming the Lincoln B.Mk I.

    B.Mk V - Lengthened fuselage with increased wingspan; Merlin 85 engines; becoming the Lincoln B.Mk II.

    B.Mk VI - B.III conversions with Merlin 85/87 supercharged engines.

    B.Mk VII - Final production Lancaster variant; Martin dorsal turret with 2 x 05.0cal Browning machine guns moved forward along spine; 2 x 0.50cal Browning heavy machine guns at tail turret.

    B.VII (FE) - Far East Variant

    B.VII (Western Union) - French-bound Mk VIIs

    B.Mk X - Canadian-produced Lancaster B.III

    B.Mk XV - Canadian-produced Lancaster B.IV (Lincoln B.Mk I).