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Blackburn R.T.1 Kangaroo

United Kingdom (1918)

Detailing the development and operational history of the Blackburn R.T.1 Kangaroo Reconnaissance / Torpedo Bomber / Passenger Transport Aircraft.

 Entry last updated on 7/3/2016; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ©

  Blackburn R.T.1 Kangaroo  
Picture of Blackburn R.T.1 Kangaroo Reconnaissance / Torpedo Bomber / Passenger Transport Aircraft

The Blackburn Kangaroo biplane aircraft was a land-based variant of the Blackburn G.P. anti-submarine floatplane prototype design.

The Kangaroo was the product of the Blackburn Aeroplane and Motor Company, Limited. The design began as a venture in 1916 to which two complete prototypes were produced. These prototype aircraft, known collectively as the Blackburn GP ("GP" for "General Purpose"), featured floatplanes and were designed for use as anti-submarine aircraft. From this design, a land-based version was further developed when interest in a navalized form waned. The land-based model became the Blackburn R.T.1 Kangaroo (with the full "R.T.1" designation of the aircraft being "Reconnaissance Torpedo Type 1", effectively the roles the aircraft was called on to fulfill). Despite the sub-par performance output of the Rolls-Royce Falcon II series engines (250 horsepower), the Royal Air Force accepted the 20 already on order and the Kangaroo legacy was sealed. Deliveries began sometime in January of 1918 with units made combat-ready the same year. After the sixth production aircraft was complete, an attempt to boost performance was made with the introduction of the Rolls-Royce Falcon III engines developing a more promising 270 horsepower each.

Externally, the Kangaroo featured a long box-type straight fuselage. A crew of three was positioned about the forward portion and consisted of the pilot in the center cockpit, a gunner in the forward cockpit and a rear gunner in the far aft cockpit. All three positions were separated from one another with the rear gunner at the greatest disadvantage in terms of communicating with the pilot. The fuselage was straddled by two engines which sported either a two- or four-blade propeller system. The undercarriage was fixed and featured individual two-wheel bogie front landing gear systems and a traditional tail skid. The main landing gears were positioned just under the engines to handle these greater weight areas. Wings were of a biplane arrangement and featured three bays with parallel struts and associated cabling. The wings were of an uneven span with the top assembly extending outwards over the lower assembly. To save on storage space, the wings - outboard of the engines - could be swiveled back via hinges and folded against the tail section. The long empennage was affixed with twin vertical tail fins and a long-running horizontal plane.

Performance from the twin Rolls-Royce Falcon III liquid-cooled, V-12 270 horsepower engines netted a maximum speed of 98 miles per hour with a range out to 487 miles. A rate-of-climb of 480 feet per minute was possible as was a service ceiling of 12,992 feet. As a bomber the Kangaroo could call upon up to 920lbs of ordnance. Self-defense was handled by two 7.7mm Lewis-type machine guns, one mounted in the forward cockpit and the other in the rear cockpit.

The end of World War 1 resulted in only six months of operational wartime use for the Kangaroo and its war record held nothing much of note save for the sinking of one enemy U-Boat vessel. After the war, Kangaroos were used in limited numbers as dual-control trainers up to 1929, to which the aircraft was officially retired from service. Several also made their way into the civilian passenger market for a time, ferrying up to 8 people in the burgeoning commercial air services springing up around the globe.

The Blackburn Kangaroo was operated exclusively with No. 246 Squadron of the British RAF as well as the Peruvian Army Flying Service. Only 20 of the type were ultimately produced.
Any available statistics for the Blackburn R.T.1 Kangaroo Reconnaissance / Torpedo Bomber / Passenger Transport Aircraft 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).
Blackburn R.T.1 Kangaroo Specifications
National Flag Graphic
United Kingdom
Year: 1918
Type: Reconnaissance / Torpedo Bomber / Passenger Transport Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Blackburn Aeroplane and Motor Company, Ltd - UK
Production: 20
Supported Mission Types
Ground Attack
Close-Air Support
Airborne Early Warning
Electronic Warfare
Aerial Tanker
Passenger Industry
VIP Travel
Business Travel
Special Forces
Crew: 3
Length: 44.16 ft (13.46 m)
Width: 74.87 ft (22.82 m)
Height: 16.83 ft (5.13 m)
Empty Weight: 5,284 lb (2,397 kg)
MTOW: 6,288 lb (2,852 kg)

Installed Power
2 x Rolls-Royce Falcon III liquid-cooled V-12 engine developing 270 horsepower each.

Standard Day Performance
Maximum Speed: 98 mph (158 kph; 85 kts)
Maximum Range: 487 mi (784 km; 423 nm)
Service Ceiling: 12,992 ft (3,960 m; 2.46 mi)
Rate-of-Climb: 480 ft/min (146 m/min)

1 x 7.7mm Lewis machine gun in forward cockpit
1 x 7.7mm Lewis machine gun in rear cockpit

Up to 920 lb of conventional drop ordnance.

Operators List
Peru; United Kingdom

Series Model Variants
• R.T.1 Kangaroo - Base Series Designation; land-based version of the Blackburn G.P. (General Purpose) anti-submarine floatplane prototype design.