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Airspeed Oxford - United Kingdom, 1937

Detailing the development and operational history of the Airspeed Oxford Gunnery / Bomber / Navigation / Radio Crew Trainer.

 Entry last updated on 3/25/2016; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Airspeed Oxford  
Picture of Airspeed Oxford

The Airspeed Oxford was a priceless trainer in use by British and Commonwealth forces throughout the Second World War.

The Airspeed Oxford was a critical component of the British and Commonwealth forces aerial training program during World War 2. The type appeared in two notable forms as the "Oxford I" and the "Oxford II" with a few subvariants emerging between. The Oxford I series was charged with the training of bomber and gunnery personnel while the Oxford II was used to train navigators and radio personnel on the finer points of their respective crafts. As such, the Oxford series as a whole became a rather indispensable addition to the British Empire - serving to train numerous aircrews for their very specialized functions. First flight of the prototype occurred on June 19th, 1937.

Design-wise, the Airspeed Oxford was of a conventional design and overall arrangement. The engines were mounted along the leading edges of their respective low monoplane wings which straddled the cockpit. The cockpit was, itself, heavily glazed to provide for maximum views at nearly all angles in flight (including a perfect view of each engine). A single vertical tail fin was affixed to the tail unit as were a pair of horizontal tailplanes. There were enough crew accommodations for up to three personnel. The undercarriage was of a tail-dragger configuration, made up of a pair of single-wheeled main landing gear legs and a small tail wheel at the rear. Only the main legs were retractable and these only partially so under each engine nacelle.

Armament was optional and utilized in the training of bomber and gunnery personnel. A 7.7mm Vickers K machine gun could be mounted to a dorsal position while 16 x 11.5lb practice bombs could be stowed in the internal bomb bay.

The Airspeed Oxford went on to see extensive service in the inventories of many countries before her tenure had ended. Some 8,586 examples were produced in all.

Airspeed Oxford Mk I Specifications

Service Year: 1937
Type: Gunnery / Bomber / Navigation / Radio Crew Trainer
National Origin: United Kingdom
Manufacturer(s): Airspeed Ltd - UK
Total Production: 8,586

Structural (Crew, Dimensions, Weights)

Operating Crew (Typical): 3
Overall Length: 34.48 feet (10.51 meters)
Overall Width: 53.31 feet (16.25 meters)
Overall Height: 11.09 feet (3.38 meters)

Weight (Empty): 5,335 lb (2,420 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 7,518 lb (3,410 kg)

Power / Performance (Engine Type, Top Speed)

Engine: 2 x Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah X radial engines generating 355hp each.

Maximum Speed: 167 knots (192 mph; 309 kph)
Maximum Range: 810 nautical miles (932 miles; 1,500 km)
Service Ceiling: 23,556 feet (7,180 meters; 4.46 miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 1,340 feet-per-minute (408 m/min)

Armament / Mission Payload

1 x 7.7mm Vickers K machine gun in dorsal gun position.
16 x 11.5lb practice bombs in internal bomb bay.

Global Operators (Customers, Users)

Australia; Belgium; Burma (Myanmar); Ceylon (Sri Lanka); Denmark; Canada; Czechoslovakia; Egypt; France (Free French Forces; Greece; India; Iran; Israel; Netherlands; New Zealand; Norway; Poland; Portugal; South Africa; Turkey; United Kingdom; United States; Yugoslavia

Model Variants

AS.10 Oxford Mk I - Bombing/Gunnery Trainer; increased wingspan from commercial model; fitted with Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah IX radial engines of 355 horsepower in engine cowls; redesigned nose assembly.
AS.10 Oxford Mk II - Radio/Navigation Trainer; sans powered turret.
AS.10 Oxford Mk III - Radio/Navigation Trainer; fitted with 2 x Cheetah XV engines of 425 horsepower.
AS.10 Oxford Mk IV - Developmental Test Bed Aircraft for de Havilland Gipsy Queen IV powerplants.
Oxford T.II - Improved Oxford; mostly converted from Oxford Mk.I models (8); 9 examples.
AS.40 Oxford - Civilian conversion model; radio testbed; 2 examples converted.
AS.41 Oxford - Developmental Test Bed Aircraft for Alvis Leonides powerplant; single example.
AS.42 Oxford - New Zealand Air Force Variant
AS.43 Oxford - Survey Platform based on AS.42 model.
AS.46 Oxford Mk V - Fitted with Pratt & Whitney R-985 radial engines of 450 horsepower; final production variant; standardized model for Oxford Mk I and Oxford Mk II types.
AS.65 Consul - Civilian Post-War Transport Models.

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