The Armstrong Whitworth F.K.10 fighter was the full production-minded realization of the earlier F.K.9 prototype (detailed elsewhere on this site). The types were formed around a single-engine, twin-seat "quadruplane" platform and the F.K.10 model became one of the few quadruplane designs to see formal adoption by a major air service during World War 1 (1914-1918). However, the series managed only eight completed forms before being given up for good. The F.K.9 prototype first-flew in late-1916 and paved the way for the modified (and slightly improved) F.K.10 that followed in 1917.
At this point in the war the biplane was entrenched as the primary fighter standard though a few companies were able to sell the various air services on a monoplane fighter design. The triplane's appearance in 1917 vaulted multi-winged gunnery platforms to the forefront but this dominance was short-lived and the biplane remained the standard. Aeronautical engineers saw the value in adding more wings to an aircraft but this ultimately came at a steep price - drag. Multiple wings provided additional lift and better controlling at the expense of additional air resistance which did not bode well as a strong quality for a fighter to have - speed was still the call of the day as it were. As such, there were many failed experiments in the realm of more-than-three winged aircraft during the war years - the F.K.10 more or less being an exception.
The quadruplane wing arrangement appropriately featured four planes set parallel to one another. A thick supporting structure (called an "interplane strut") was run through all four planes for the needed strength. The stacked wings were noticeably cranked forwards from the bottom-up when viewing the aircraft's side profile. The pilot's cockpit was positioned aft of the engine but under the top-most wing plane and behind the second plane. The third plane was positioned midway along the sides of the fuselage with the fourth plane held low and away from the belly of the aircraft.
Power for the series was to come from a Clerget 9B rotary engine of 130 horsepower, giving it more output than the original prototype's Clerget 9Z rotary of 110 horsepower.
Design of the F.K.10 was attributed to Dutchmen Frederick Koolhoven dating back to 1916's F.K.9 prototype. His surname would go on to drive some of the aircraft designs emerging from the Netherlands during the lead-up to World War 2 (1939-1945).
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(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Air-to-Air Combat, Fighter
General ability to actively engage other aircraft of similar form and function, typically through guns, missiles, and/or aerial rockets.
✓Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR), Scout
Surveil ground targets / target areas to assess environmental threat levels, enemy strength, or enemy movement.
22.2 ft (6.78 m)
27.8 ft (8.48 m)
11.5 ft (3.50 m)
1,246 lb (565 kg)
2,028 lb (920 kg)
+783 lb (+355 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Armstrong Whitworth F.K.10 production variant)
1 x Clerget 9B rotary engine developing 130 horsepower and driving two-bladed wooden propeller at nose.
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