The Armstrong-Whitworth Whitley 

Great Britain
Great Britain

Sorry, No ID pictures yet

The Armstrong-Whitworth Whitley first flew in March 1936, a two-engined bomber. Even though it was outdated at the outbreak of the war the Whitley served it's purpose by bombing the Germans for the first time on March 19 1940. It's bomber role was continued well into 1943, but because of it's medium to bad characteristics in armour, armament and handling it suffered severe losses. Because of the bad loss ratio other roles were sought and found, and it served as U-boat destroyer, test plaform for avionics and as a transport.

Production of the Whitley was ceased in June 1943.

Versions:

Further pictures:

Armstrong-Whitworth Whitley in full flight
Armstrong-Whitworth Whitley in full flight

 

Technical data on the Armstrong-Whitworth Whitley Mk V
Powerplant 2 × Rolls-Royce Merlin X 12-cylinder inline, rated at 1145 hp (853.59 kW) each Role during war
  • Medium Bomber
  • U-boat Destroyer
  • Transport
Length 70 ft 6 inch Height 15 ft 0 inch
Empty weight 19350 lb Operational weight 28200 lb typical,
33500 lb max
Wing Span 84 ft 0 inch Wing Aspect ratio 6.21
Wing Area 1137 sq ft Service ceiling 26000 ft
Maximum speed 230 mph at 16400 ft Cruising speed 210 mph at 15000 ft
Initial climb rate 800 ft / min at Sea level,
Climb to 15000 ft in 16 min 0 sec
Range 1650 miles typical
Fuel capacity internal 837 Imp gal (1,005 US gal), plus provision for up to 132 Imp gal (158.5 US gal) in auxiliary weapon-bay fuel tank Fuel capacity external -
Machine guns 1 x .303 inch in nose turret,
4 x .303 inch in tail turret
Cannons -
Bomb load Up to 7,000 lb total in two lower-fuselage weapon bays each rated at 2,000 lb plus 14 wing cells each rated at 250 lb. Standard load consisted of either
  • 2 × 2,000 lb bombs, or
  • 4 × 1,000 lb bombs, or
  • 8 × 500 lb bombs, or
  • 2 × 500 lb bombs plus 12 × 250 lb bombs
Torpedoes/rockets -
Crew 5: 1 pilot, 1 navigator/bombardier, 1 radio operator, and 2 gunners Naval or ground based Ground
First flight (prototype) 17 March 1936 Operational Service March 1937 - 1945
Manufacturer Armstrong-Whitworth Aircraft Co. Number produced 1812 total, 1466 this version
Metric system
Length 21.49 m Height 4.57 m
Empty weight 8777 kg Operational weight 12792 kg typical,
15196 kg max
Wing Span 25.6 m Wing Aspect ratio 6.21
Wing Area 105.63 m² Service ceiling 7925 m
Maximum speed 370 km/h at 4999 m Cruising speed 338 km/h at 4572 m
Initial climb rate 244 m / min at Sea level,
Climb to 4570 m in 16 min 0 sec
Range 2655 km typical
Fuel capacity internal 3805 liters, plus provision for up to 600 liters in auxiliary weapon-bay fuel tank Fuel capacity external -
Machine guns 1 x 7,7 mm in nose turret,
4 x 7,7 mm in tail turret
Cannons -
Bomb load Up to 3175 kg total in two lower-fuselage weapon bays each rated at 907 kg plus 14 wing cells each rated at 113 kg. Standard load consisted of either
  • 2 × 907 kg bombs, or
  • 4 × 454 kg bombs, or
  • 8 × 227 kg bombs, or
  • 2 × 227 kg bombs plus 12 × 113 kg bombs
Torpedoes/rockets -

Here is a quick overview of all different versions, without the full technical specifications:

Different versions of the Armstrong-Whitworth Whitley 
Armstrong-Whitworth Whitley Mk I First production model of the Whitley. It was powered by 2 × Armstrong Siddeley Tiger IX radials, rated at 795 hp (593 kW) each. The max llevel speed was 192 mph (309 km/h), max bombload was 3,360 lb (1524 kg). It's defenses consisted of 1 × 0.303 in machine guns each in two turrets: nose and tail. Dimensionally it differed from th Whitley Mk V only in i's length: 69 ft 3 in (21.11 m)
Number built: 34
Armstrong-Whitworth Whitley Mk II Equal to the Whitley Mk I, but powered by 2 × Armstrong Siddeley Tiger VIII, rated at 845 hp (630 kW) each. Dimensionally the same, it reached a max level speed of 209 mph (336 km/h), and had generally improved performances.
Number built: 46
Armstrong-Whitworth Whitley Mk III Based on the Whitley Mk II, it featured changed weapons bays, so it could carry larger bombs. Also the nose machine gun turret became powered, and a ventral turret with 2 × 0.303 in guns was added.
Number built: 80
Armstrong-Whitworth Whitley Mk IV Trends in weapons-loads and improved performances of the enemy: single seat fighters, necessitated a drastic improvement in power deliverd by it's engines. Because the Tiger had reached it's end-stage, the engines became 2 × Rolls Royce Merlin IV inverted Vee, rated at 1,030 hp (768 kW) each. Defensive armamentr increased by changing the tail turret to a power operated one with 4 × 0.303 in guns. Also the bombardiers stations was placed at a more suitable location:in the nose behind a flat aiming window. Maximum level speed increased to 244 mph (393 km/h)
Number built: 33
Armstrong-Whitworth Whitley Mk IVA Trends in weapons-loads and improved performances of the enemy: single seat fighters, necessitated a drastic improvement in power deliverd by it's engines. With the yet slightly inproved Whitley Mk IVA, the engines became 2 × Rolls Royce Merlin X inverted Vee, rated at 1,145 hp (854 kW) each. Other changes were minor.
Number built: 7
Armstrong-Whitworth Whitley Mk V The Whitley Mk V was an improved Mk IVA (see technical specifications above). The two vertical tail surfaces where revised to a more straight edge, and the rear-fuselage was extended with 1 ft 3 in (0.38 m) to provide the tailgunner with a better field of view. Further improvements where rubber de-icing boots on the wings leading edges, and a bigger fuel capacity
Number built: 1466
Armstrong-Whitworth Whitley Mk V Frieghter Conversion from the Whitley Mk V bomber. Defensive armament was stripped, and additional fuel capacity was created in the former weapons-bays.
Number converted: 15
Armstrong-Whitworth Whitley GR.Mk VII Based on the Whitley Mk V, this was the specialized anti-submarine version. It had a fuel capacity of 1,101 Imp gal (5005 liters, was fitted with the ASV.Mk II Air-to-surface radar, and had a specialist radar operator.
Number built: 146
Armstrong-Whitworth Whitley Mk VII (Naval conversion) Conversion of the Whiley GR.Mk VII for the Royal Navy. The Navy used these as trainers for flight engineers and carried special equipment on board.
Number converted: a few

Remarks:

After it's bomber role was suspended due to heavy losses the Whitley performed a great number of other roles, like U-boat destroyer, trainer for crews, radar tester and transport of goods. Especially the U-boat destroyer tasks was a task in which the Whitley proved proficient. It enabled the Allied forces to free other, more advanced, bombers from this task for their main role.

Strengths:

Weaknesses:

 

 

© by Frans Bonné, 2000
Last revision: 9/20/00