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SAF (Armstrong Whitworth) Atlas


Army Co-operation Aircraft


Aviation / Aerospace

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Image from the Public Domain; British Atlas pictured.

Greek industry produced just ten of the Armstrong Whitworth Atlas - the localized versions found to be wanting for performance.



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 5/28/2020 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
After the "Velos" torpedo bomber biplane of 1926 and the "Chelidon" training-reconnaissance biplane of 1927 for the Hellenic Navy, the State Aircraft Factory (SAF) of Greece manufactured a variant of the British Armstrong Whitworth "Atlas" in 1931 under the same name for the Army Co-Operation role. The aircraft was intended from the outset as a budget-friendly alternative to the original and featured only minor changes to its propeller, wings, and powerplant components. However, its performance was soon found to be lacking and only ten were ever taken into service - these destined to lead a short service life in the period prior to World War 2 (1939-1945).

Both the Navy and Air Force of Greece eventually operated some form of the Atlas biplane.

The localized version retained much of the form-and-function of the original including its over-under biplane wing arrangement with parallel strut works and cabling for strength. The mainplanes were set ahead of the pilot's open-air cockpit while an observer sat to his immediate rear in a slightly raised position armed with a trainable machine gun for point defense. The engine was fitted to the nose in the usual way and this was used to drive a simple two-bladed, fixed-pitch propeller unit in tractor arrangement. Under the forward center mass of the aircraft lay its twin-wheeled undercarriage, the tail supported by a simple skid when ground-running. Alternatively, the aircraft could be affixed with floats for waterborne work if need be. The tail unit incorporated a single, large-area rounded vertical fin and low-mounted horizontal planes.

Beyond the aforementioned rear machine gun was a fixed, forward-firing machine gun for the pilot and support was had for up to 4 x 112lb conventional drop bombs under the wings.

As for the original British Atlas, some 478 units were built in all and these were produced from 1927 until 1933, operating until 1935 with the Royal Air Force (RAF) and until 1942 with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF).


Specifications



Year:
1931
Status
Retired, Out-of-Service
Crew
2
[ 10 Units ] :
State Aircraft Factory (SAF) - Greece / Armstrong Whitworth - UK
National flag of Greece Greece
- Ground Attack
- Reconnaissance (RECCE)
Length:
28.54 ft (8.7 m)
Width:
39.53 ft (12.05 m)
Height:
10.50 ft (3.2 m)
(Showcased structural dimension values pertain to the SAF Atlas production model)
Empty Weight:
2,557 lb (1,160 kg)
MTOW:
4,023 lb (1,825 kg)
(Diff: +1,466lb)
(Showcased weight values pertain to the SAF Atlas production model)
1 x Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar IVC 14-cylinder twin-row air-cooled radial piston engine developing 450 horsepower and driving a two-bladed propeller unit at the nose.
(Showcased powerplant information pertains to the SAF Atlas production model)
Max Speed:
84 mph (135 kph; 73 kts)
Service Ceiling:
15,420 feet (4,700 m; 2.92 miles)
Max Range:
395 miles (635 km; 343 nm)
Rate-of-Climb:
855 ft/min (261 m/min)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the SAF Atlas production model; Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database)
STANDARD:
1 x 0.303" (7.7mm) Vickers Machine Gun in fixed, forward-firing mounting for pilot.
1 x 0.303" (7.7mm) Lewis Machine Gun on trainable mounting in rear cockpit for rear-facing gunner.

OPTIONAL:
4 x 112lb conventional drop bombs carried under the wings.
(Showcased armament details pertain to the SAF Atlas production model)
"Atlas" - Base Series Designation.
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