The Lockheed Hudson Super Electra

United States of America
United States of America

side viewfront viewunder view

When Lockheed was founded, it first sought to establish a solid base with small and fast aircraft. In 1935 Lockheed decided they were ready for a larger design, and went to enlarge one of their most recent successes. Since Douglas was working at it's DC-3 (C-47) design at the time, Lockheed opted for a somewhat smaller aircraft, but with the same powerplants. This way it would be faster. Work on earlier models was still in progress, so design of the Model 14 was delayed. This turned out to be no problem, because the result was more advanced then initially planned. It had a great range of possible engines, Fowler flaps, leading-edge slats and a flexibel passenger cabin.
The high performance of the resulting aircraft made it very suitable for adoption to the military role. In June 1938 the British Aircraft Purchasing Comission ordered the first 200 right off the drawing board.

Versions:

Further pictures:

Lockheed Model 14 Super Electra (Hudson) or Lockheed A-29 (same model) in full flight
Lockheed Model 14 Super Electra (Hudson) or Lockheed A-29 (same model) in full flight

 

Technical data on the Lockheed Hudson Mk I
Powerplant 2 × Wright GR-1820-G102A Cyclone radial, rated at 1100 hp (820.04 kW) each Role during war
  • Light Bomber
  • U-boat Destroyer
  • Maritime/Coastal patrol reconnaissance Bomber
  • Transport
Length 45 ft 3.75 inch Height 10 ft 10.5 inch
Empty weight 12091 lb Operational weight 17500 lb typical,
19500 lb max
Wing Span 65 ft 6 inch Wing Aspect ratio 7.79
Wing Area 551 sq ft Service ceiling 21000 ft
Maximum speed 222 mph at 7900 ft Cruising speed 191 mph at 10000 ft
Initial climb rate 2,180 ft per min,
Climb to 10,000 ft in 10 min 0 sec
Range 1140 miles typical,
1960 miles max
Fuel capacity internal 536 Imp gal (644 US gal) Fuel capacity external -
Machine guns
  • 2 × 0.303 inch Browning fixed forward-firing in the upper nose, 500 rounds each
  • 2 × 0.303 inch Browning trainable in the Boulton Paul Type C Mk II power operated dorsal turret, 1,000 rounds each
Cannons -
Bomb load Up to 1,350 lb, carried in the lower-fuselage weapons bay, rated at 1,400 lb. General disposables load consisted of:
  • 4 × 250 lb anti-submarine, general-purpose or semi-armor-piercing bombs, or
  • 10 × 110 lb anti-submarine bombs, or
  • 12 × 112 lb Mk VIIc anti-submarine bombs
Torpedoes/rockets -
Crew 6: pilot, co-pilot, bomb-aimer/navigator, radio operator/dorsal gunner, 2 gunners (optional) Naval or ground based Ground
First flight (prototype) 10 December 1938 Operational Service Early 1939 - 1949
Manufacturer Lockheed Aircraft Corporation Number produced 2.941 total, 350 this version
Metric system
Length 13.81 m Height 3.31 m
Empty weight 5484 kg Operational weight 7938 kg typical,
8845 kg max
Wing Span 19.96 m Wing Aspect ratio 7.79
Wing Area 51.19 m² Service ceiling 6401 m
Maximum speed 357 km/h at 2408 m Cruising speed 307 km/h at 3048 m
Initial climb rate 664 m per min,
Climb to 3.050 m in 10 min 0 sec
Range 1835 km typical,
3154 km max
Fuel capacity internal 2.438 liters Fuel capacity external -
Machine guns
  • 2 × 7,7 mm Browning fixed forward-firing in the upper nose, 500 rounds each
  • 2 × 7,7 mm Browning trainable in the Boulton Paul Type C Mk II power operated dorsal turret, 1.000 rounds each
Cannons -
Bomb load Up to 612 kg, carried in the lower-fuselage weapons bay, rated at 635 kg. General disposables load consisted of:
  • 4 × 113 kg anti-submarine, general-purpose or semi-armor-piercing bombs, or
  • 10 × 50 kg anti-submarine bombs, or
  • 12 × 51 kg Mk VIIc anti-submarine bombs
Torpedoes/rockets -

Technical data on the Lockheed Hudson Mk IV
Powerplant 2 × pratt & Whitney R-1830-SC3-G Twin Wasp radial, rated at 1050 hp (782.76 kW) each Role during war
  • Light Bomber
  • U-boat Destroyer
  • Maritime/Coastal patrol reconnaissance Bomber
  • Transport
Length 44 ft 4 inch Height 11 ft 10 inch
Empty weight 13195 lb Operational weight 22360 lb max
Wing Span 65 ft 6 inch Wing Aspect ratio 7.79
Wing Area 551 sq ft Service ceiling 27000 ft
Maximum speed 284 mph at 15000 ft Cruising speed 224 mph at optimum altitude
Initial climb rate 2,160 ft per min Range 2160 miles max
Fuel capacity internal 536 Imp gal (644 US gal) Fuel capacity external -
Machine guns
  • 2 × 0.303 inch Browning fixed forward-firing in the upper nose, 500 rounds each
  • 1 × 0.303 inch trainable in an open dorsal position
Cannons -
Bomb load Up to 1,350 lb, carried in the lower-fuselage weapons bay, rated at 1,400 lb. General disposables load consisted of:
  • 4 × 250 lb anti-submarine, general-purpose or semi-armor-piercing bombs, or
  • 10 × 110 lb anti-submarine bombs, or
  • 12 × 112 lb Mk VIIc anti-submarine bombs
Torpedoes/rockets -
Crew 6: pilot, co-pilot, bomb-aimer/navigator, radio operator/dorsal gunner, 2 gunners (optional) Naval or ground based Ground
First flight (prototype) 10 December 1938 Operational Service Early 1939 - 1949
Manufacturer Lockheed Aircraft Corporation Number produced 2.941 total, 130 this version
Metric system
Length 13.51 m Height 3.61 m
Empty weight 5985 kg Operational weight 10142 kg max
Wing Span 19.96 m Wing Aspect ratio 7.79
Wing Area 51.19 m² Service ceiling 8230 m
Maximum speed 457 km/h at 4572 m Cruising speed 360 km/h at optimum altitude
Initial climb rate 658 m per min Range 3476 km max
Fuel capacity internal 2.438 liters Fuel capacity external -
Machine guns
  • 2 × 7,7 mm Browning fixed forward-firing in the upper nose, 500 rounds each
  • 2 × 7,7 mm trainable in an open dorsal position
Cannons -
Bomb load Up to 612 kg, carried in the lower-fuselage weapons bay, rated at 635 kg. General disposables load consisted of:
  • 4 × 113 kg anti-submarine, general-purpose or semi-armor-piercing bombs, or
  • 10 × 50 kg anti-submarine bombs, or
  • 12 × 51 kg Mk VIIc anti-submarine bombs
Torpedoes/rockets -

Technical data on the Lockheed A-29
Powerplant 2 × Wright GR-1820-87 Cyclone radial, rated at 1200 hp (894.59 kW) each Role during war
  • Light Bomber
  • U-boat Destroyer
  • Maritime/Coastal patrol reconnaissance Bomber
  • Transport
Length 44 ft 4 inch Height 11 ft 10 inch
Empty weight 12825 lb Operational weight 21000 lb max
Wing Span 65 ft 6 inch Wing Aspect ratio 7.79
Wing Area 551 sq ft Service ceiling 26500 ft
Maximum speed 253 mph at 15000 ft Cruising speed 205 mph at optimum altitude
Initial climb rate Climb to 10,000 ft in 6 min 18 sec Range 2800 miles max
Fuel capacity internal 536 Imp gal (644 US gal) Fuel capacity external -
Machine guns
  • 2 × 0.303 inch Browning fixed forward-firing in the upper nose, 500 rounds each
  • 2 × 0.303 inch Browning trainable in the Boulton Paul Type C Mk II power operated dorsal turret, 1,000 rounds each
Cannons -
Bomb load Up to 1,350 lb, carried in the lower-fuselage weapons bay, rated at 1,400 lb. General disposables load consisted of:
  • 4 × 250 lb anti-submarine, general-purpose or semi-armor-piercing bombs, or
  • 10 × 110 lb anti-submarine bombs, or
  • 12 × 112 lb Mk VIIc anti-submarine bombs
Torpedoes/rockets -
Crew 4: pilot, co-pilot, bomb-aimer/navigator, radio operator/dorsal gunner Naval or ground based Ground
First flight (prototype) 10 December 1938 Operational Service Early 1939 - 1949
Manufacturer Lockheed Aircraft Corporation Number produced 2.941 total, 176 this version
Metric system
Length 13.51 m Height 3.61 m
Empty weight 5817 kg Operational weight 9526 kg max
Wing Span 19.96 m Wing Aspect ratio 7.79
Wing Area 51.19 m² Service ceiling 8077 m
Maximum speed 407 km/h at 4572 m Cruising speed 330 km/h at optimum altitude
Initial climb rate Climb to 3.050 m in 6 min 18 sec Range 4506 km max
Fuel capacity internal 2.438 liters Fuel capacity external -
Machine guns
  • 2 × 7,7 mm Browning fixed forward-firing in the upper nose, 500 rounds each
  • 2 × 7,7 mm Browning trainable in the Boulton Paul Type C Mk II power operated dorsal turret, 1.000 rounds each
Cannons -
Bomb load Up to 612 kg, carried in the lower-fuselage weapons bay, rated at 635 kg. General disposables load consisted of:
  • 4 × 113 kg anti-submarine, general-purpose or semi-armor-piercing bombs, or
  • 10 × 50 kg anti-submarine bombs, or
  • 12 × 51 kg Mk VIIc anti-submarine bombs
Torpedoes/rockets -

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

Different versions of the Lockheed Hudson  Super Electra
Lockheed Hudson Mk I The Hudson was the British answer to the increasing fleet of Germany's U-boats. When Hitler gained power in Germany, he started an extensive rearmament program. In the Navy department a lot of emphasis was placed on U-boats, since the German U-boats had been very succesful during World War I (or the Great War, 1914-1918).
Initially the British (and French) rearmament was started later, and more modest, so that at a certain moment Germany was leaping ahead leaving the expanse of the British forces far behind. The British realised that they were too late to start and develop their own types, and so they were forced to used foreign designs that were already in existance, or close to production. Lockheed understood the needs of the British, and decided to create a mock-up of a Maritime Patrol Bomber based on the Model 14 Super Electra even before the British sent their British Purchasing Comission. This very much impressed and pleased the British, who promptly decided to negotiate for real with Lockheed for the Hudson. The Hudson Mk I was also known as the Model B14L, or the Model 214. See details above.
Number built: 351 (1 crash during flight trials)
Lockheed Hudson Mk II The Hudson Mk II differs only slightly from the Mk I: the fuselage was strengthened, and the propellers wer of the onstant speed type as opposed to the two-position propellers of the Mk I. This was also the first version to be fitted with an ASV (Air-to-surface-vessel) radar, which enhanced the Hudson's efficiency greatly. The Hudson Mk II was also known as the Model 414
Number built: 20
Lockheed Hudson Mk III This version was based on the Hudson Mk II, and was powered by 2 × Wright GR-1820-G205A Cyclone radials, rated at 1,200 hp (895 kW) each. Deffensive armament was increased with 1 × 0.303 inch (7,7 mm) Vickers 'K' trainable rearward-firing gun in a semi retractable ventral hatch, 500 rounds, and with 2 × 0.303 inch (7,7 mm) Vickers 'K' trainable lateral-firing gun in two optional beam positions, 500 rounds each. This increase was also retrofitted in a number of older aircraft. There are two subvariants of the Mk III:

Hudson Mk III(LR) Later production aircraft were fitted with increased fuel capacity, up to 856 Imp gal (1,028 US gal, 3.891 liters). Of this subversion 241 were built


Number built: 428
Lockheed Hudson C.Mk III Some aircraft were refitted for the air/sea rescue role when the Hudson became obsolete. These aircraft were fitted with a Mk I paradropped lifeboat under the fuselage
Number converted: unknown
Lockheed Hudson Mk IIIA This was the Lend-Lease version of the Mk III(LR). It was powered by 2 × Wright GR-1820-87 (GR-1820-G205A) Cyclone. About 616 were ordered by the British, but this order was taken over by the USAAF, and cut down to 440 aircraft. These were delivered to the Chinese Air Force (23), RAF (32), RAAF (41), RCAF (133), RNZAF (14) and USAAF (153 aircraft, with a crew of 4, and the dorsal turret replaced by 1 × 0.50 inch (12,7 mm) Browning M2 trainable rearward-firing gun on an open mounting). Of the remaining aircraft 24 were converted to A-29B photo survey standard, and 20 to PBO-1 anti-submarine patrol standard for the US Navy.
This model was also known as the Lockheed Model 414-56
Number built: 440
Lockheed Hudson Mk IV In 1938 also the RAAF chose the Hudson for it's maritime patrol duties. These aircraft were powered by 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-1830-SC3-G Twin Wasp twin-row radial, rated at 1,050 hp (729 kW) each. The reason for this was the fact that the CAC (Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation) was already producing the Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp single-row radial, which shared a lot with it's bigger brother, the Twin Wasp.
The aircraft were delivered over sea, the first to arrive in February 1940. This version was first designated Hudson Mk I, but because of possible confusion with the RAF variant was later redesignated Hudson Mk IV. Thses aircraft lacked the dorsal turrets, but defense in that angle was provided by 1 × 0.303 inch (7,7 mm) trainable rearward-firing gun in an open dorsal position.
This model was also known as the Lockheed Model B14L.
Number built: 130
Lockheed Hudson Mk IVA Lend-Lease version of the Hudson Mk IV. It was powered by 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-1830-45 (R-1830-SC3-G) Twin Wasp radials. These aircraft were delivered to the RAAF.
This model was also known as the Lockheed Model 414-08.
Number built: 52
Lockheed Hudson Mk V The final Hudson version that was directly ordered by the RAF. They were meant for the RAF, but powered by 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-1830-S3C4-G twin Wasp radials, rated at 1,200 hp (895 kW). This version had 2 subvariants which differed in fuel capacity:

Hudson Mk V(SR) Original fuel capacity of 536 Imp gal (644 US gal, 2.438 liters). Number built: 202
Hudson Mk V(LR) Extended fuel capacity of 856 Imp gal (1,028 US gal, 3.891 liters). Number built: 207


Number built: 409
Lockheed Hudson Mk VI Lend-Lease version of the Hudson Mk V. These were powered by 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-1830-67 (R-1830-S3C4-G) Twin Wasp radial.
Number built: 450
Lockheed Hudson C.Mk VI Conversion from the Hudson Mk VI to unarmed transports.
Number converted: unknown
Lockheed Model 14 Super Electra This is the Lockheed designation for the civilian forefather of the Hudson. Several versions were built for several countries, including Japan.
Number built: unknown
Lockheed C-111 During the Japanese attack on the Dutch East Indies 4 Model 14-W civil transports escaped. 1 Crashed sadly on ariving in Australia, but the remainder were redesignated to C-111 by the USAAF.
Redesignated aircraft
lockheed XR40-1 A single Model 14-H, powered by 2 × R-1690-52 Hornet radials, rated 850 hp (634 kW) each. It was ordered by the US Navy, and used as a staff transport.
Number built: 1
Lockheed A-28 USAAF designation of the Lockheed Model 414-08 or Lockheed Hudson Mk IVA.
Redesignated aircraft
Lockheed A-28A USAAF designation of the Lockheed Hudson Mk V.
Redesignated aircraft
Lockheed A-29 USAAF designation of the Lockheed Model 414-56 or Lockheed Hudson Mk IIIA.
Redesignated aircraft
Lockheed A-29A USAAF version of the A-29, but fitted with an interior that could be adapted for troop transport.
Number built: 384
Lockheed A-29B Conversion of the A-29 to photo-survey standard
Number converted: 24
Lockheed PBO-1 Identical to the A-29B, but converted for the US Navy and designated as such
Number converted: 20
Lockheed AT-18 This version was based on the A-29A, but meant for air gunnery training. It was powered by 2 × Wright R-1820-87 radials, and had a Martin dorsal turret with 2 × 0.50 inch (12,7 mm) Browning M2 guns. It had a crew of 2, and provision for target towing.
Number built: 217
Lockheed AT-18A This version was based on the A-29A, but meant for air navigator training. It was powered by 2 × Wright R-1820-87 radials, and had accomodation for a pilot, an instructor, and 3 students.
Number built: 83
Tachikawa type LO The Hudson was a pre-war design, that was already license built in Japan when the War broke out in the Pacific. See separate entry (under construction)
License built aircraft

Remarks:

The Hudson had a lot of 'Firsts' on it's account. It is noted that the Hudson was the first USA built aircraft in RAF service. It was the first RAF aircraft to score a kill against an enemy aircraft on 8 October 1939. It was the first aircraft in Coastal Command to be fitted with an A.S.V. radar. It was the first aircraft to destroy a submarine with underwing rockets in may 1943. Apart from that it is known that a Hudson forced a German submarine to surrender, just by circling it in August 1941.
The Hudson was used by the Alied forces all over the world, in virtually all theatres. It was used in the European theatres mostly by Coastal Command, and in the Far East it was used against the Japanese. Not only were they used for maritime patrol, but also as plain bombers in the Netherlands East Indies and New Guinea.

Strengths:

Weaknesses:

 

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© by Frans Bonné, 2000
Last revision: 2/9/01