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Fairey Hendon

United Kingdom (1936)

Detailing the development and operational history of the Fairey Hendon Heavy Night-Bomber.

 Entry last updated on 6/24/2016; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com



  Fairey Hendon  
Picture of Fairey Hendon Heavy Night-Bomber


An interwar night bomber design for Britain, the Fairey Hendon saw a short service life span from 1936 until 1939 - restricted by the crash of its prototype.

Air Ministry Specification B.19/27 of 1927 was eventually fulfilled (more or less) by two competing products - the Handley Page Heyford and the Fairey Hendon. The requirement called for a heavy, twin-engined night-bomber capable of 115 mile per hour speeds while carrying a 1,546lb war load out to 920 miles. While the Hendon was officially declared the winner (beating out submissions from Avro, Bristol and Vickers), delays in the product forced the Air Ministry to also accept the Handley Page Heyford - the Heyford went on to be produced in greater numbers than the winning Hendon.

The Fairey Hendon offered the RAF their first all-metal, low-wing monoplane bomber (the Heyford was a biplane, the last such aircraft adopted by the service). Design work resulted in a true interwar design with a mix of modern qualities and those taken from a by-gone era of flight - open-air cockpits, fixed, spatted main landing gear legs, etc... Each wing was given an engine installation and the tail unit incorporated a twin-rudder approach. Internally, a steel tube framework was constructed and covered over in fabric. The crew number five and included a pilot, radioman/navigator and three dedicated machine gunners - single 7.7mm guns were fitted to a nose, dorsal and tail position. The bomb load totaled 1,660lb and held in a centrally-located bay.

The prototype aircraft was designated "K1695" and operated under the internal name of "Fairey Night Bomber" during a portion of its development. A first-flight was had on November 25th, 1930 over Heathrow and this example carried Bristol "Jupiter VIII" series air-cooled radial piston engines of 460 horsepower each. However, on a March 1931 test flight, the prototype crashed which severely hampered development - prompting officials to look at bringing the competing Handley Page Heyford to fruition. Heavily damaged, the prototype was rebuilt and now flew with 2 x Rolls Royce Kestrel VI engines in place of the Bristol fits seen earlier.

In this form, the bomber passed its testing phase and an order for fourteen of the type was formulated. As the prototype was recognized as "Hendon Mk.I", the production models became "Hendon Mk.II" and appeared from 1936 until 1937 (these finally featured enclosed crew positions). By this time attention had turned to the more modern Armstrong Whitworth Whitley heavy bomber then in development and set to outshine both the Hendon and Heyford in their roles. As such, an order for sixty Hendons was cancelled and these rerouted to the purchase of the Heyfords as interim measures.

No.38 Squadron became the sole operator of Hendons in November 1936, succeeding the Heyford stock. As with the Heyford, the Hendon was declared obsolete before World War 2 and were themselves succeeded by Vickers Wellington bombers from late-1938 onward. Formal retirement met the line in early 1939 at which point the Hendons joined the Heyfords as training / instructional instruments.
Any available statistics for the Fairey Hendon Heavy Night-Bomber are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).
Fairey Hendon Mk.II Specifications
National Flag Graphic
United Kingdom
Year: 1936
Type: Heavy Night-Bomber
Manufacturer(s): Fairey Aviation - UK
Production: 15
Supported Mission Types
Air-to-Air
Interception
Unmanned
Ground Attack
Close-Air Support
Training
Anti-Submarine
Anti-Ship
Airborne Early Warning
MEDEVAC
Electronic Warfare
Maritime/Navy
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
Passenger Industry
VIP Travel
Business Travel
Search/Rescue
Recon/Scouting
Special Forces
X-Plane/Development
Structural
Crew: 5
Length: 60.76 ft (18.52 m)
Width: 101.71 ft (31.00 m)
Height: 18.70 ft (5.70 m)
Empty Weight: 12,798 lb (5,805 kg)
MTOW: 20,062 lb (9,100 kg)


Installed Power
2 x Rolls-Royce Kestrel VI V12 liquid-cooled inline piston engines developing 600 horsepower each.

Standard Day Performance
Maximum Speed: 152 mph (245 kph; 132 kts)
Maximum Range: 1,361 mi (2,190 km; 1,183 nm)
Service Ceiling: 21,407 ft (6,525 m; 4.05 mi)
Rate-of-Climb: 940 ft/min (287 m/min)


Armament
STANDARD:
1 x 7.7mm Lewis Machine Gun in nose position
1 x 7.7mm Lewis Machine Gun in dorsal position
1 x 7.7mm Lewis Machine Gun in ventral position

OPTIONAL:
Up to 1,660 lb of bombs carried.


Operators List
United Kingdom

Series Model Variants
• Hendon - Base Series Name
• Hendon Mk.I - Prototype; single example completed; originally fitted with Bristol Jupiter VIII engines until prototype crashed and was rebuilt with Rolls-Royce Kestrel engines instead.
• Hendon Mk.II - Production model; fitted with Rolls-Royce Kestrel VI engines; fourteen aircraft completed.


Supported Weapon Systems
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition