Armstrong Whitworth A.W.19

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A.W.19
AWAW19.jpg
Role General purpose military
National origin United Kingdom
Manufacturer Sir W.G.Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft Company
First flight 26 February 1934
Number built 1

The Armstrong Whitworth A.W.19 was a two/three-seat single-engine biplane, built as a general-purpose military aircraft in the mid-1930s. A newer, monoplane aircraft was preferred and only one A.W.19 was built.

Development[edit]

Multi-tasking "general purpose" aircraft were attractive to a British Air Ministry keen to use air power to help control a large Empire. Manufacturers welcomed these aircraft in the hope of large contracts. So when Air Ministry Specification G.9/31 was issued for a Westland Wapiti replacement capable of filling roles as a bomber (day or night, conventional, dive or torpedo), and as an army co-operation or reconnaissance aircraft, the Ministry received 30 designs. Only three companies were awarded single prototype contracts, but another five decided to submit private venture machines. The Armstrong Whitworth A.W.19 was one of the latter group.

The A.W.19[1] was a single-engine single-bay biplane with unswept, constant chord wings of mild stagger. The wings were fabric covered over a structure built up around rolled-steel strip spars and aluminium alloy ribs. Both planes carried ailerons and there were automatic slots on the upper one. The lower wing was cranked, with negative dihedral over a short centre section, and the main undercarriage legs joined the wing at the end of this section. The main undercarriage was split, a necessary feature in a torpedo bomber carrying its long weapon under its fuselage; there was a small tailwheel. The tailplane was externally braced and both elevators and rudder were balanced. The square-section fuselage was of steel tube construction, aluminium covered at the front and canvas covered at the rear. Somewhat unusually, the fuselage filled the space between the wings, deep enough for a spacious, windowed cabin for the observer/navigator. This cabin was between both the wings and the two cockpits; the pilot sat forward of the upper wing,[2] with his head above it and the gunner's position was well aft of the trailing edge. The latter had a ring-mounted .303 in (7.7 mm) Lewis Gun, and there was an unusual metal tunnel that could be slid rearwards to protect him from the elements when the gun was not in use. There was also a single, forward-firing .303 in (7.7 mm) machine gun operated by the pilot. At the nose, the fuselage diameter decreased to the engine mounting, holding a supercharged 810 hp (600 kW) Armstrong Siddeley Tiger IV. It was enclosed in a long chord cowling.

The A.W.19 first flew on 26 February 1934. It flew well, but suffered from engine overheating. Unfortunately for manufacturers competing for Specification G.9/31, Vickers had, in the three years since the specification's release produced the monoplane Vickers Wellesley as a private venture, and the Air Ministry were convinced that this was much the superior machine; it had a specification written round it, and the early specification and all machines built to it were abandoned. The A.W.19 continued in its manufacturer's service as a test bed for the Tiger engines. A Tiger VI was installed in 1935 and a Tiger VII in 1935; it continued as a test bed until 1940.

Specifications[edit]

Data from Tapper 1973, p. 208 and p.194

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2 or 3
  • Length: 42 ft 2 in (12.85 m)
  • Wingspan: 49 ft 8 in (15.14 m)
  • Height: 13 ft 0 in (3.96 m)
  • Wing area: 654 ft2 (60.78 m2)
  • Empty weight: 4,298 lb (1,950 kg)
  • Gross weight: 8,750 lb (3,969 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Armstrong Siddeley Tiger IV 14-cylinder radial, 810 hp (600 kW) each

Performance

  • Maximum speed: at 6,000 ft (1,826 m) 163 mph (262 km/h)
  • Service ceiling: 21,000 ft (6,400 m)

Armament

  • 1 × 0.303 in (7.7 mm) machine gun firing through propeller
  • 1 × 0.303 in (7.7 mm) ring-mounted Lewis Gun in rear cockpit
  • 1 × 2,000 lb (907 kg) torpedo or 1 × 1,000 lb (454 kg) bomb under fuselage
  • up to 1,000 lb (454 kg) bombs in under-wing racks

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Tapper 1973, pp. 193–7, 208
  2. ^ Flight 15 November 1934, p.1198

Bibliography[edit]