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Armstrong Whitworth AW.681


Four-Engined STOL Transport Aircraft


United Kingdom | 1965



"The Armstrong Whitworth AW681 briefly challenged as an STOL military transport product but the project was cancelled in February of 1965."



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 03/13/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
Like the United States Air Force (USAF) during the 1960s, the British Royal Air Force (RAF) also sought a tactically-minded Short Take-Off and Landing (STOL) aircraft of strong performance to replace a mixed and aging fleet of transports made up of Blackburn Beverly and Handley Page Hasting aircraft. Between two submissions, one from Hawker Siddeley and the other from Armstrong Whitworth (AW), the AW design was selected for development as the "AW.681" to fulfill "Operational Requirement 351". The project formally began in 1962 (under the designation of Hawker Siddeley "HS.681") with the goal of seeing a first-flight recorded sometime in 1966.

AW engineers selected a conventional arrangement for their new aircraft, incorporating swept-back wing mainplanes and a "T-style" tail unit. The empennage would be raised to accommodate a loading ramp under the tail and the flightdeck would be sat over the nose in the usual way. Two engine nacelles (with a deflected-thrust capability) would be held under each wing. The engine of choice became the Rolls-Royce RB.142 "Medway" of 13,790lb thrust each with the alternative being the Bristol Siddeley "Pegasus" ducted-flow turbofan (18,000lb thrust each) coupled with 18 x RB.162-64 "lifting fans" (6,000lb thrust output) installed to cover a Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) capability. A tricycle undercarriage would allow for ground-running. Blown flaps would aid in low-altitude control and short-field take-off and landing actions. Internally, the aircraft could carry around 35,000lb of cargo or sixty combat-ready troops.

Dimensions included a length of 104.1 feet, a wingspan of 134 feet and a height of 37.9 feet. Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) would reach 181,200lb. Maximum speed was estimated at 545 miles per hour with a range out to 4,800 miles and a service ceiling of 25,000 feet.

Just as soon as the AW.681 project was to get "off the ground", it was cancelled by the incoming government (Labour Party) in February of 1965 after review of ongoing military programs. The RAF then decided to secure a fleet of Lockheed C-130 "Hercules" aircraft for the transport role instead and this marked the official end of the AW.681 tale. The aircraft existed for a short time beyond that when Armstrong-Whitworth attempted to sell the same aircraft (sans the complicated VTOL capability) by combining the existing designs of the AW.681 fuselage and tail with the wings and engines of the Hawker Siddeley "Nimrod". This idea did not progress.

The AW.681 product was also known as the Whitworth Gloster Model 681.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Armstrong Whitworth AW.681 Four-Engined STOL Transport Aircraft.
4 x Rolls-Royce Medway turbofan engines (with thrust deflection) developing 13,800lb of thrust each.
Propulsion
544 mph
875 kph | 472 kts
Max Speed
25,000 ft
7,620 m | 5 miles
Service Ceiling
4,800 miles
7,725 km | 4,171 nm
Operational Range
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Structure
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Armstrong Whitworth AW.681 Four-Engined STOL Transport Aircraft.
3
(MANNED)
Crew
104.2 ft
31.75 m
O/A Length
134.0 ft
(40.85 m)
O/A Width
37.9 ft
(11.55 m)
O/A Height
181,573 lb
(82,360 kg)
MTOW
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
RANGE
ALT
SPEED
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the Armstrong Whitworth AW.681 family line.
AW.681 - Base Project Designation
HS.681 - Alternative designation under the Hawker Siddeley brand label.
Model 681 - Alternative designation under Whitworth Gloster brand label.
Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Armstrong Whitworth AW.681. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 0 Units

Contractor(s): Armstrong Whitworth / Hawker Siddeley / Whitworth Gloster - UK
National flag of the United Kingdom

[ United Kingdom (cancelled) ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 750mph
Lo: 375mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (544mph).

Graph Average of 563 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
MACH Regime (Sonic)
Sub
Trans
Super
Hyper
HiHyper
ReEntry
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
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Image of the Armstrong Whitworth AW.681
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
TRANSPORT
X-PLANE
Recognition
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Armstrong Whitworth AW.681 Four-Engined STOL Transport Aircraft appears in the following collections:
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