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.
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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.