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Handley Page V/1500

Four-Engine Strategic Heavy Biplane Bomber

United Kingdom | 1918

"Fewer than fifty Handley Page V1500 strategic heavy bombers were made - these serving just three RAF squadrons."

Authored By: Dan Alex | Last Edited: 06/29/2020 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
Towards the end of World War 1 (1914-1918), the strategic bomber was entrenched as a part of warfare. These massive, lumbering attack platforms were built with range in mind and, for the British, this meant taking off from Allied-controlled airfields and dropping ordnance on targets as far away as the German capital of Berlin. A late-war product of the period that just missed out on action in the conflict became the large "V/1500" from Handley Page which appeared in 1918 to satisfy a 1917 British Air Board requirement for such a type - particularly to operate in the night time hours against far-off German target areas. The requirement specified a warload up to 3,000lb with acceptable range to meet the demand.

Handley Page already held extensive experience in building long-range bombers through its commitment to the Handley Page O/100 and O/400 series systems detailed elsewhere on this site. The V/1500 was in many ways an extension of these two projects, projecting further in terms of range and enhanced warloads.

In the V/1500, the aircraft was given a centralized wood-and-fabric fuselage set within an over-under biplane wing configuration. The fuselage sides were slabs and the upper and lower wing members were joined by parallel struts and applicable bracing wire. Four bays were created in the wide-spanning arrangement. For power, this fell to a unique configuration involving 4 x Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engines rated at 375 horsepower each and seated inline across two nacelles - a "push-pull" configuration of concentrated power. The tail unit incorporated four individual vertical fins with biplane tailplane arrangement to boot. Ground-running was handled in the typical tail-dragger arrangement with a collection of wheels seated under the forward mass of the large aircraft.

As finalized, the aircraft held an overall length of 64 feet, a wingspan of 126 feet, and a height of 12 feet. Empty weight was 15,000lb against an MTOW of 30,000lb. Performance included a maximum speed of just over 100 miles-per-hour with a mission endurance of 14 hours. Beyond the typical Rolls-Royce Eagle fit, the aircraft could also be equipped with Galloway Atlantic, Napier Lion, or Liberty V-12 engines of 500hp, 450hp, and 400hp, respectively - changing performance figures some. In all cases, the engines drove four-bladed wooden propellers (fixed-pitch).

The crew numbered between eight and nine and point defense was from three positions - the nose, dorsal section, and tail unit - mounting a single, trainable 0.303" Lewis Machine Gun. The tail emplacement was notable at it sat between the four vertical fins at rear. The bomber's warload totaled up to 7,500lb of conventional drop bombs to be held in an internal bomb bay - typically 30 x 250lb drop bombs.

Up to forty V/1500 aircraft were produced, along with twenty-two airframes reserved for spare parts, for the bomber's short time in the air. A first-flight was hand on May 22nd, 1918 and serial production continued on after the war into 1921. The series arrived too late for service in The Great War with deliveries had in November - just before the Armistice of November 11th, 1918. The series was eventually superseded by the competing Vickers Vimy (detailed elsewhere on this site).

In the post-war world, one V/1500 example recorded the first-ever flight from England to India in December 1918 and arriving the following month in 1919. The type served briefly in the 3rd Anglo-Afghan War (May 1919 - August 1919) but became more a psychological weapon than a strategic bombing one. One example was flown to Canada in an attempt to cross the Atlantic but this crash-landed in Pennsylvania field during 1919. Another attempt from Nova Scotia in the July 1919 ended with a forced landing at Parrsboro. This model ended up delivering the first mail between Canada and the United States that October.

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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 Handley Page V/1500 Four-Engine Strategic Heavy Biplane Bomber.
4 x Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII V-12 liquid-cooled piston engines (push-pull configuration) developing 375 horsepower driving four-bladed propeller units. Also Galloway Atlantic 500hp, Napier Lion 450hp, and Liberty V-12 400hp used.
103 mph
165 kph | 89 kts
Max Speed
10,007 ft
3,050 m | 2 miles
Service Ceiling
1,367 miles
2,200 km | 1,188 nm
Operational Range
476 ft/min
145 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 Handley Page V/1500 Four-Engine Strategic Heavy Biplane Bomber.
64.0 ft
19.50 m
O/A Length
126.0 ft
(38.40 m)
O/A Width
23.0 ft
(7.00 m)
O/A Height
15,002 lb
(6,805 kg)
Empty Weight
30,005 lb
(13,610 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 Handley Page V/1500 Four-Engine Strategic Heavy Biplane Bomber .
1 x 0.303in Lewis Machine Gun on trainable mounting at nose.
1 x 0.303in Lewis Machine Gun on trainable mounting at dorsal position.
1 x 0.303in Lewis Machine Gun on trainable mounting at tail position.

Up to 7,500lb of internally-held conventional drop ordnance / bombs.
Notable series variants as part of the Handley Page V/1500 family line.
V/1500 - Base Series Designation.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Handley Page V/1500. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 40 Units

Contractor(s): Handley Page - UK
National flag of the United Kingdom

[ United Kingdom ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 120mph
Lo: 60mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (103mph).

Graph Average of 90 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
MACH Regime (Sonic)
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
Aviation Timeline
1 / 1
Image of the Handley Page V/1500
Image from the Public Domain.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
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 Handley Page V/1500 Four-Engine Strategic Heavy Biplane Bomber appears in the following collections:
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