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  • Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle Transport / Tug Aircraft

    The Armstrong Albemarle failed to impress as a bomber and, as such, was relegated to glider tug and transport service during World War 2.

     Updated: 5/17/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    The Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle became one of those aircraft designs that evolved into a role not initially envisioned. The system was born from an earlier Bristol-designed reconnaissance platform that went nowhere and was further evolved by Armstrong Whitworth as a bomber. When that classification failed for the Albemarle, the system was relegated to dedicated transport and glider tug, taking part in some of the major offensives and invasions of World War 2. Generally regarded as unpleasant-an-aircraft as there ever was, the Albemarle would nevertheless become an integral part of the British war effort.

    The Albemarle appeared in prototype form as early as 1939 with production sending early examples to frontline forces by 1941. The system failed to shine as a dedicated bomber through the first 42 systems delivered and many were switched over to the transport role. Construction was of a mix-wood and metal, incorporating a basic fuselage with heavy glazing along the nose. The twin engines were mounted along a mid-wing monoplane arrangement. A lone, manually-operated turret was fitted in a dorsal/middle-fuselage position and could be fitted with 2 x or 4 x 7.7mm machine guns as required. Twin rudder fins were set in the tail section. Power came from 2 x Bristol Hercules XI series, 14-cylinder radial piston engines which could generate up to 1,590 horsepower apiece. One unique aspect of the Albermarle's design was in her use of a tricycle landing gear system, something no other British production aircraft had fielded up to this point.

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    Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle Mk II Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1941
    Type: Transport / Tug Aircraft
    National Origin: United Kingdom
    Manufacturer(s): Armstrong Whitworth - UK
    Production Total: 600

    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

    Operating Crew: 4
    Length: 59.91 feet (18.26 meters)
    Width: 77.00 feet (23.47 meters)
    Height: 15.58 feet (4.75 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 22,600 lb (10,251 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 36,500 lb (16,556 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

    Engine(s): 2 x Bristol Hercules XI 14-cylinder radial air-cooled piston engines developing 1,590 horsepower each.

    Maximum Speed: 256 mph (412 kph; 222 knots)
    Maximum Range: 1,350 miles (2,173 km)
    Service Ceiling: 17,999 feet (5,486 meters; 3.41 miles)

    Armament / Mission Payload

    2 OR 4 x 7.7mm Vickers machine guns in manually-operated dorsal turret

    Up to 4,500lb of ordnance held internally.

    Global Operators / Customers

    United Kingdom; Soviet Union

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

    Mk I - Initial Production Models; 42 being completed as bomber types whilst remaining 558 built to transport specifications.

    Mk II - Transport Variant

    Mk V - Glider Tug

    Mk VI - Glider Tug