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Beardmore WB III / SB 3

United Kingdom (1917)
Picture of Beardmore WB III / SB 3 Carried-based Fighter

William Beardmore and Co developed their W.B.III as a carrier version of the Sopwith Pup fighter.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Beardmore WB III / SB 3 Carried-based Fighter.  Entry last updated on 4/5/2016. Authored by Dan Alex. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The Beardmore WB III was nothing more than a highly-modified, navalized version of the successful land-based Sopwith Pup single-seat, single-engine biplane fighter of 1916. The William Beardmore and Company firm was already under contract to produce the land-based Sopwith Pup, this under legal license, and developed the WB III for shipboard use by the Royal Naval Air Service during World War 1. First flight was recorded in 1917 and some 100 examples were ultimately produced.

Design of the WB III was conventional for biplane fighter aircraft of the time, keeping up with features as found on the Sopwith Pup. The engine was held in a forward compartment at the front of the slab-sided fuselage. A cylindrical engine cowling was fitted over the front engine facing for a more streamlined approach. The engine, a single nine-cylinder Le Rhone 9C series engine or a seven-cylinder Clerget (each delivering up to 80 horsepower), turned a two-bladed wooden propeller. The biplane wing arrangement featured straight parallel struts unlike the Sopwith Pup's staggered formation, necessitated by the Navy requirement for manually folding wings (space on aircraft carriers was always at a premium). Additionally, the undercarriage - consisting of two fixed single-wheeled members - could be removed by the ground crew for improved stowage while the tail was supported by a simplistic tail skid. The fuselage tapered off to the empennage to which was affixed a rounded vertical tail fin and applicable horizontal planes.

Performance from the available powerplant allowed for a top speed of up to 103 miles per hour with a service ceiling of up to 12,400 feet and a rate-of-climb equal to 534 feet per minute. Endurance time (essentially the aircraft's operational range) was listed at 2 hours and 45 minutes. The WB.III maintained a wingspan of 25 feet with a running length of 20 feet, 3 inches. She sat with an 8 foot, 1 inch height. On empty, she weighed in at 890lbs and could take off with a weight of up to 1,290 lbs. Armament was a single fixed, upward-firing .303 Lewis machine gun, firing through a cut-out section of the upper wing assembly.

The prototype WB III was accepted by the British military on February 7th, 1917. A contract for 100 production examples soon followed. Furthermore, the official British designation for the WB III family became "SB 3". The initial production models fell under the designation of SB 3F and covered some thirteen examples until supplanted by the revised SB 3D. The SB 3D sported a jettisonable undercarriage as well as emergency flotation equipment in a slightly lengthened fuselage.

The WB III served on only three Royal aircraft carriers, these being the HMS Furious, HMS Nairana and the HMS Pegasus. Japan became the only other notable operator of the WB III/SB 3 series.

Any available statistics for the Beardmore WB III / SB 3 Carried-based Fighter 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).






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.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 120mph
Lo: 60mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (103mph).

    Graph average of 90 miles-per-hour.
Relative Operational Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Beardmore SB 3F's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era Impact
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
100
100


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

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


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
  Compare this entry against other aircraft using our Comparison Tool  
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
National Flag Graphic
National Origin: United Kingdom
Service Year: 1917
Classification Type: Carried-based Fighter
Manufacturer(s): William Beardmore and Company LTD - UK
Production Units: 100
Global Operators:
Japan; United Kingdom
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Beardmore SB 3F model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
20.21 ft


Meters
6.16 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
25.00 ft


Meters
7.62 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
8.10 ft


Meters
2.47 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
891 lb


Kilograms
404 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
1,290 lb


Kilograms
585 kg

Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Le Rhone 9C OR 1 x Clerget rotary piston engine developing 80 horsepower.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
103 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
166 kph


Knots
90 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
171 mi


Kilometers
275 km


Nautical Miles
148 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
12,402 ft


Meters
3,780 m


Miles
2.35 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
534 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
163 m/min

Armament - Hardpoints (0):

1 x 7.7mm (0.303 caliber) Lewis machine gun in fixed, upward-firing.
Visual Armory:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Variants: Series Model Variants
• WB III - William Beardmore and Company company designation; navalized version of the ship-borne Sopwith Pup; folding wings; removable undercarriage; straight parallel struts.
• SB 3 - Official Royal Naval Air Service series designation.
• SB 3F - Initial production models; 13 examples produced.
• SB 3D - Improved SB 3F; jettisonable undercarriage; emergency floation equipment in a lengthened fuselage.