Aircraft / Aviation Vehicles & Artillery Infantry Arms Warships & Submarines Military Ranks Military Pay Chart (2024)
Aviation / Aerospace

Armstrong Whitworth AW.58

Transonic Research Aircraft Design Study [ 1948 ]

The AW.58 was proposed by aeroplane-maker Armstrong Whitworth in the post-World War 2 years as a transonic research platform.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 04/20/2020 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The "transonic" flight envelope in the field of aeronautics exists between Mach 0.72 up to the speed of sound at Mach 1.0 assuming ideal conditions. This potential lethal "sweet spot" was encountered by airmen of World War 2 (1939-1945) but research was limited with the prop-driven aircraft available during the period. It was not until the advent of viable turbojets that the field could be pushed further along and, in the immediate post-war world and throughout the 1950s, great strides were made by global powers to reach the once-unreachable "breaking of the sound barrier".

For Britain, the road to supersonic flight was ultimately had through a myriad of sleek and powerful designs - some materializing and others remaining merely concepts. In the latter, the concern of Armstrong Whitworth drew up plans for their "AW.58", a swept-wing, single-seat / single-engine research airplane intended to solve some of the riddles of transonic flying - and potentially lead the way to a fully-fledged cannon-armed, radar-equipped military fighter form based on its design. The aircraft was detailed in a proposal during November 1948.

The aircraft drew upon what was then known to be the required qualities of a high-performance platform - namely a turbojet engine, efficient streamlining, and swept-back wing surfaces. The resulting design incorporated all of these traits: the cockpit was buried in the forward section of the fuselage with adequate vision for the sole pilot, the mainplanes (swept back some 60 degrees) were seated at midships and mid-mounted along the fuselage sides while exhibiting considerable sweepback, and the turbojet engine was buried within the aft-section of the tubular fuselage. The nose of the aircraft was cut-off to act as an intake (oval in its general shape) and aspirate the air-breathing engine within. The tail unit was of a "T-style" arrangement featuring a single, swept-back vertical fin and a pair of high-mounted, all-moving swept-back horizontal planes. A retractable tricycle undercarriage was planned for ground-running (single nose leg with two main legs near center mass).

The engine of choice centered on the Rolls-Royce "Avon" series, original designated the "AJ.65". This single unit could output 6,500lb of thrust and was to be exhausted through a circular ring found just under the tail unit (the tail unit extended just over the exhaust port). Estimated performance encompassing the engine and sleek design form included a maximum speed of Mach 1.07.

Dimensions included a running length of 45.1 feet with a wingspan of 24 feet. Gross weight was estimated at 12,000lb. A production fighter would have featured slightly larger dimensions to accommodate additional equipment, fuel, and weaponry.

As a research-minded aircraft, the AW.58 was not intended to carry armament of any kind though a realized military model, that would have been spawned from the AW.58 work would most likely have been equipped with 2 x 30mm automatic cannons near the nose.

The AW.58 existed only as a design study and was not accepted by authorities for further work - thus never progressing beyond its paper stage.©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.


Service Year

United Kingdom national flag graphic
United Kingdom

Development Ended.


National flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom (cancelled)
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
X-Plane (Developmental, Prototype, Technology Demonstrator)
Aircraft developed for the role of prototyping, technology demonstration, or research / data collection.

45.2 ft
(13.77 m)
24.0 ft
(7.32 m)
12,004 lb
(5,445 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Armstrong Whitworth AW.58 production variant)
Installed: 1 x Rolls-Royce Avon (AJ.65) turbojet engine developing 6,500lb of thrust.
Max Speed
820 mph
(1,320 kph | 713 kts)

♦ MACH Regime (Sonic)
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030

(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the base Armstrong Whitworth AW.58 production variant. Performance specifications showcased above are subject to environmental factors as well as aircraft configuration. Estimates are made when Real Data not available. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database or View aircraft by powerplant type)

Supported Types

(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
AW.58 - Base Project Designation.

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Ukranian-Russian War
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft

Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective aerial campaigns / operations / aviation periods.

Images Gallery

1 / 1
Image of the Armstrong Whitworth AW.58
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.

Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies

2024 Military Pay Chart Military Ranks DoD Dictionary Conversion Calculators Military Alphabet Code Military Map Symbols

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; site is 100% curated by humans.

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org (World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft), WDMMW.org (World Directory of Modern Military Warships), SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane, and MilitaryRibbons.info, cataloguing military medals and ribbons. Special Interest: RailRoad Junction, the locomotive encyclopedia.

©2023 www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-2023 (20yrs)