Aviation & Aerospace Vehicles & Artillery Infantry Small Arms Warships & Submarines Military Ranks U.S. Military Pay Special Forces DoD Dictionary (Alpha-to-Zulu) Military Alphabet Code

Sopwith Rhino

Triplane Bomber Prototype Aircraft

United Kingdom | 1918

"Developmental problems aside, the Sopwith Rhino Triplane Bomber did not impress UK officials enough to warrant serial production by the end of World War 1."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 11/20/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
Lost in the discussions concerning Sopwith aircraft of World War 1 was the Sopwith "Rhino", an interesting triplane bomber given life in 1917. World War 1 had raged since the summer of 1914 and its end was consistently in doubt. The Sopwith Aviation Company had made a household name for itself with its earlier Sopwith Triplane of 1916 followed by its war-winning Sopwith Camel of 1917. With these and several other designs in tow, the firm concentrated on bringing about the Rhino as a private venture beginning in the middle of 1917. The design intended to successfully mate a triplane wing arrangement to a streamlined airframe to present a capable two-seat, single-engine bomber. Triplane wings had generally fallen out of favor by this time but it offered exceptional lift and maneuverability qualities at the expense of drag.

Outwardly, the fuselage of the Rhino was given a unique fuselage shape with its rather deep side profile. A most conventional design, the Rhino fitted a single powerplant at the forward end of the fuselage with a traditional tail unit at the rear. The engine powered a two-bladed propeller assembly and was housed in a metal compartment. The fuselage tapered at the rear in the usual way and sported slap sides. The main wing section consisted of three planes - a central plane running through the fuselage, an upper wing assembly running over the fuselage and a lower wing assembly across the fuselage belly. The undercarriage was fixed in place and showcased a two-wheeled, strutted assembly with a simplistic tail skid at the rear. The aircraft was crewed by two personnel in separate, open-air cockpits - the pilot in front and his observer/gunner at in the rear. Power was served through a Beardmore Halford Pullinger (BHP) 6-cylinder, water-cooled inline piston engine outputting at 230 horsepower. This supplied the mount with a listed maximum speed of 103 miles per hour with a service ceiling of 12,000 feet. Endurance was listed at 3.75 hours.

For its designated bomber role, the Rhino could carry up to 450lb of ordnance in an internal bomb bay. Unique to the design was that the ordnance was preloaded into an awaiting "pack" and then that pack was subsequently loaded up into the aircraft. The operation was intended to allow for quick resupply of bomb stores as required by the stresses of war. To counter the threat of enemy aircraft, the pilot managed a fixed, forward-firing 7.7mm Vickers machine gun over the engine cowling. This weapon was synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades. The rear gunner defended the critical "six" of the aircraft by managing a single 7.7mm Lewis machine gun on a flexible mounting.

Since the Rhino was never developed to any formal British military requirement, its very existence and subsequent future were always in doubt. An initial prototype was completed and flown in October of 1917. While generally a capable aircraft, the prototype exhibited persistent engine overheating issues and temperamental handling, the latter due to a pronounced "nose-heavy" arrangement. A second prototype followed though this only incorporated subtle changes to the rear cockpit and testing continuing into 1918. Doomed by its pedestrian performance showing, engine issues and general lack of interest from British authorities, the type was given up for good. The Rhino would, therefore, fall into military aviation obscurity in only its two completed prototype forms. Sopwith continued utilizing these airframes for various testing programs thereafter but nothing more came of the Rhino.

Content ©MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Sopwith Rhino Triplane Bomber Prototype Aircraft.
1 x Beardmore Halford Pullinger (BHP) 6-cylinder, water-cooled inline piston engine developing 230 horsepower and driving a two-bladed propeller at the nose.
103 mph
166 kph | 90 kts
Max Speed
12,008 ft
3,660 m | 2 miles
Service Ceiling
27 miles
44 km | 24 nm
Operational Range
400 ft/min
122 m/min
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Sopwith Rhino Triplane Bomber Prototype Aircraft.
27.7 ft
8.43 m
O/A Length
33.0 ft
(10.06 m)
O/A Width
10.9 ft
(3.33 m)
O/A Height
2,205 lb
(1,000 kg)
Empty Weight
3,594 lb
(1,630 kg)
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Sopwith Rhino Triplane Bomber Prototype Aircraft .
1 x 7.7mm Vickers fixed, forward-firing machine gun on forward fuselage synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.
1 x 7.7mm Lewis machine gun on trainable mount in rear cockpit.

Up to 450lbs of internal stores.
Notable series variants as part of the Sopwith Rhino family line.
Rhino - Base Series Designation; only two prototypes completed before project cancellation.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Sopwith Rhino. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 2 Units

Contractor(s): Sopwith Aircraft Company - UK
National flag of the United Kingdom

[ United Kingdom ]
1 / 1
Image of the Sopwith Rhino

Going Further...
The Sopwith Rhino Triplane Bomber Prototype Aircraft appears in the following collections:
Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies

2024 Military Pay Scale Military Ranks U.S. DoD Dictionary Conversion Calculators Military Alphabet Code Military Map Symbols US 5-Star Generals WW2 Weapons by Country

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com. No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.

Part of a network of sites that includes Global Firepower, WDMMA.org, WDMMW.org, and World War Next.

©2024 www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-2024 (21yrs)