|First flight||24 September 1930|
|Primary user||Royal Air Force|
|Developed from||Short S.8 Calcutta|
In 1929, the Royal Air Force needed urgent replacements of the Supermarine Southampton IIs then operated by No. 203 Squadron RAF based at Basra, Iraq. The Air Ministry issued Specification S.18/29 to specifically cover the procurement of a military variant of the Short S.8 Calcutta, similar to the S.8/2 Calcutta then being designed in collaboration with Breguet for Aviation Navale (French Naval Aviation). The new RAF version had Shorts designation S.8/8 and RAF designation Rangoon, and three examples were initially ordered.
Design and development
The Rangoon was a straightforward military adaption of the Calcutta. The main structure was assembled from Duralumin formers, spars, ribs and stringers; the fuselage was skinned with Duralumin, and the flying surfaces were partly skinned and partly fabric-covered. The major changes were the provision of an enclosed cockpit for the pilots, rest bunks, enlarged fuel tanks in the upper wing, three Lewis guns (one mounted forward of the cockpit, and two in the fuselage behind the wings), under-wing bomb racks, and a large fresh-water tank (for the intended use in tropical conditions).
On 24 September 1930, the first Rangoon (S1433) was flown from the River Medway at Rochester by Shorts' Chief Test Pilot, John Lankester Parker. In early 1931, the first three Rangoons were delivered to the RAF for training at Felixstowe, then in April 1931 they were flown in formation to No. 203 Squadron RAF at Basra. They were used for surveying and anti-smuggling patrols over Iraq and the Persian Gulf. Over the following three years, three more Rangoons (built to a higher specification R.19/31) were delivered to No. 203 Squadron at Basra, where they served without problem until 1935, when they were replaced by Short Singapore IIIs.
In August 1935, five Rangoons were transferred to No. 210 Squadron RAF at Pembroke Dock. In September 1935, they were temporarily deployed to Gibraltar during the Abyssinia Crisis, and all were retired from service at the end of 1935. Meanwhile, the first Rangoon (S1433) was stripped of military equipment by Shorts at Rochester, registered G-AEIM, then used by Air Pilots Training Ltd for training crews of Imperial Airways at Hamble, until it was retired in late 1938.
Specifications (S.8/8 Rangoon)
Data from Thetford 1957, p. 367
- Crew: 5
- Length: 66 ft 9½ in (20.35 m)
- Wingspan: 93 ft (28.35 m)
- Height: 23 ft 9 in (7.24 m)
- Wing area: 1,828 sq ft (169.8 m)
- Empty weight: 14,000 lb (6,350 kg)
- Loaded weight: 22,500 lb (10,206 kg)
- Powerplant: 3 × Bristol Jupiter XIF, 540 hp (403 kW) each
- Maximum speed: 100 knots (115 mph, 185 km/h)
- Cruise speed: 83 knots (92 mph , 148 km/h)
- Range: 565 nm (650 miles, 1046 km)
- Service ceiling: 12,000 ft (3,658 m)
- Rate of climb: 550 ft/min (2.8 m/s)
- Endurance: 7 hrs at 92 mph
- Guns: Three 0.303 in Lewis guns
- Bombs: Up to 1,000 lb (455 kg)
- Related development
- Related lists
- Barnes 1989, p. 234
- Barnes 1989, p. 235
- RAF timeline: Rangoon entered RAF service in April 1931
- Rangoons in Melbourne 1934
- Barnes 1989, p. 236
- Thetford 1957, p. 366.
- Thetford 1957, p. 367
- Barnes, C.H.; James D.N. (1989). Shorts Aircraft since 1900. Putnam. ISBN 0-85177-819-4.
- Thetford, Owen (1957). Aircraft of the Royal Air Force 1918-57 (1st ed.). Putnam.
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