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Austin A.F.T.3 (Osprey)

Triplane Fighter Aircraft Prototype

Austin A.F.T.3 (Osprey)

Triplane Fighter Aircraft Prototype

OVERVIEW
SPECIFICATIONS
ARMAMENT
VARIANTS
HISTORY
MEDIA
OVERVIEW



The Austin Motor Company of Britain tried its hand at an in-house triplane fighter design as the Osprey - it lost to the Sopwith Snipe in competition.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: United Kingdom
YEAR: 1918
STATUS: Retired, Out-of-Service
MANUFACTURER(S): Austin Motor Company - United Kingdom
PRODUCTION: 1
OPERATORS: United Kingdom (cancelled)
SPECIFICATIONS



Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Austin A.F.T.3 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
CREW: 1
LENGTH: 17.55 feet (5.35 meters)
WIDTH: 22.97 feet (7 meters)
HEIGHT: 10.66 feet (3.25 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 1,102 pounds (500 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 1,896 pounds (860 kilograms)
ENGINE: 1 x Bentley BR.2 rotary engine developing 230 horsepower and driving two-bladed propeller at the nose.
SPEED (MAX): 118 miles-per-hour (190 kilometers-per-hour; 103 knots)
RANGE: 354 miles (570 kilometers; 308 nautical miles)
CEILING: 19,029 feet (5,800 meters; 3.60 miles)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 980 feet-per-minute (299 meters-per-minute)




ARMAMENT



STANDARD:
2 x .303 Vickers machine guns in fixed, forward-firing positions over the nose and synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.

OPTIONAL:
1 x .303 Lewis Gun in central wing assembly on trainable mounting.
VARIANTS



Series Model Variants
• A.F.T.3 "Osprey" - Base Series Designation; single prototype completed.


HISTORY



Detailing the development and operational history of the Austin A.F.T.3 (Osprey) Triplane Fighter Aircraft Prototype.  Entry last updated on 7/3/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
Heading into 1918 during World War 1, there was already work being done to find a viable successor to the classic Sopwith Camel biplane fighter. The Camel appeared in June of 1917 and, by wartime standards, it lived a healthily long service life amidst changing technologies and tactics concerning the air war. The Austin Osprey, a single-seat triplane fighter - was developed with the hopes that it could follow the veteran design but it eventually lost out to the Sopwith Snipe - of which nearly 500 were produced from 1918 onward. For the Osprey, only a single prototype was ever made by the Austin Motor Company and the design quickly forgotten.

The original requirement was made by British authorities in 1917 (Specification A.1.A) calling for a single-seat, twin-gunned mount to succeed the venerable Camel. At this point in the war, the Austen Motor Company, like other concerns in British industry, were already helping in the war effort by producing other company's aircraft designs to meet demand. When the specification came down, Austen decided to try its hand in the design and development of a suitable fighter. The result was the A.F.T.3 "Osprey" of which three prototypes were ordered. Interestingly, engineers elected for a triple-wing arrangement over the standard two wings common to many fighters of the period.

On the whole, the Osprey utilized proven construction internally and out as well as traditional design techniques which did little to set it apart from the competition. Dimensions included a length of 17.6 feet, a wingspan of 23 feet and a height of 18.7 feet. Empty weight was 500 kilograms to a loaded weight of 860 kilograms. Power was served from a Bentley BR2 series rotary engine of 230 horsepower fitted to the nose and driving a two-bladed wooden propeller. Performance specs included a maximum speed of 119 miles per hour, a service ceiling of 19,000 feet and endurance up to three hours in the air. The triple-wing arrangement was all equal-span with a forward cant and parallel strut works.

Armament was the usual pairing of 2 x .303 Vickers machine guns in fixed, forward firing positions over the nose and synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades. Another interesting quality of the Osprey was the placement of a third machine gun, this being a Lewis Gun, set upon the center section of the middle wing assembly. Additionally this installation was trainable to an extent but its flexibility added little.

A first-flight of a prototype Osprey was had during February of 1918 as the war raged and testing followed into the coming weeks. As it stood, the Osprey simply could not compete, performance-wise, with the speedy, two-winged Snipe (fitting the same engine). Its three-winged arrangement created drag despite offering increased agility, this during a time when speed for fighter aircraft was the rule of the day. As such, the Osprey never advanced beyond the prototype stage and its two remaining prototypes were never built.




MEDIA









Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

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Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 120mph
Lo: 60mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (118mph).

    Graph average of 90 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LDN
LDN
 
  PAR
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  BER
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  MSK
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  TKY
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  SYD
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  LAX
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  NYC
Graph showcases the Austin A.F.T.3's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
1
1

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
A2A
Interception
UAV
Ground Attack
CAS
Training
ASW
Anti-Ship
AEW
MEDEVAC
EW
Maritime/Navy
SAR
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
VIP
Passenger
Business
Recon
SPECOPS
X-Plane/Development
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
Supported Arsenal
Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.