Avro 557 Ava

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Role Torpedo Bomber
Manufacturer Avro
Designer Roy Chadwick
First flight 1924
Status Prototype
Number built 2

The Avro Type 557 Ava was a British twin-engined biplane torpedo bomber of the 1920s. It was developed by Avro to meet a requirement for a heavy torpedo bomber for the Royal Air Force but was unsuccessful, only two prototypes being built.

Design and development[edit]

The British Air Ministry produced Specification 16/22 in 1922 for a long-range land-based torpedo bomber. The specification required that the aircraft be capable of carrying a 21 in (533 mm) torpedo or an equivalent weight of bombs and produced responses both from Blackburn Aircraft (the Cubaroo) and Avro.[1] Roy Chadwick, chief designer of Avro, initially produced a single-engined design, the Avro 556 powered by a Napier Cub engine, similar to the Cubaroo. This was rejected in favour of a twin-engined aircraft using two Rolls-Royce Condor engines, the Avro Type 557 Ava and winning an order for two prototypes from the Air Ministry.[1] Completed in secret (owing to its armament of a 21 in (533 mm) torpedo, thought to be able to sink the largest warships), the first prototype Ava (serial number N171) flew in mid-1924.[1]

The Ava was a three-bay biplane of wooden construction, with the un-cowled engines between the wings. It had a biplane tail, initially fitted with triple rudders, of which the centre rudder was soon removed.[2] The fuselage accommodated two pilots in an open cockpit, with nose and dorsal gun positions and a retractable ventral "dustbin" gun position that could be manned by the navigator/bomb aimer, who otherwise occupied a large enclosed cabin. The 2,000 lb (910 kg) torpedo or equivalent bomb load were carried on external racks under the fuselage.[1]

The Air Ministry dropped its plans to use the 21 in (533 mm) torpedo but Avro continued with construction of the second prototype, which was of all-metal construction but was otherwise similar to the first prototype, flying on 22 April 1927.[2] While a modified version of the Ava was proposed to meet Specification B19/27 for a heavy bomber, it was unsuccessful, no further aircraft being built.[1]


Ava Mk I
First prototype. Wooden construction.
Ava Mk II
Second prototype. Metal construction.

Specifications (Ava Mk I)[edit]

Data from The British Bomber since 1914 [1]

General characteristics



  • 3 × 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Lewis Guns (Nose, dorsal and retractable ventral positions)
  • 1 × 21 in (553 mm) torpedo or 4 × 550 lb (250 kg) bombs

See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era


  1. ^ a b c d e f Mason, Francis K (1994). The British Bomber since 1914. London: Putnam Aeronautical Books. pp. 156–157. ISBN 0-85177-861-5.
  2. ^ a b Jackson, A. J. (1990). Avro Aircraft since 1908 (2nd ed.). London: Putnam Aeronautical Books. pp. 209–211. ISBN 0-85177-834-8.
  3. ^ Lewis, Peter (1980). The British Bomber since 1914 (Third ed.). London: Putnam. pp. 416–417. ISBN 0-370-30265-6.

External links[edit]