Aerospatiale/BAC Concorde

Aircraft Profile
British Airways Concorde G-BOAA
(photo, not known)


“Soon there will be only two kinds of airliner: Concorde, and all the rest”. So ran the copyline in press adverts during the early 1970s. The intention was to draw attention to Concorde’s imminent introduction into service, but thirty years later the prediction still holds true – Concorde is treated differently from all other airliners.

Concorde has always been different. It entered service amid huge controversy over rising development costs and possible environmental impact, went on to become the ultimate in prestige trans-Atlantic travel and then arose from a fiery grave to take to the skies once again.

The idea of a supersonic airliner was first conceived around the time that Britains’s pioneering Comet jet airliner ran into major problems. By the mid-1950s, military aircraft were routinely able to exceed Mach 1 in a short duration dash, but supersonic passenger travel would require sustained high speed for hours at a time, opening up a whole new set of technical challenges. It was clear that, if the technical issues could be overcome, the result would be a world-beating aircraft which would restore Britain’s lead in airliner design.

British aircraft companies began seriously examining the possibilities of a Supersonic Transport (SST) in 1955. To co-ordinate and encourage these project studies a join government-industry committee was formed in November 1956, called STAC (Supersonic Transport Aircraft Committee). STAC initiated the development of a number of aerodynamic research aircraft (BAC 221 and HP.115), and funded some 400 technical papers covering every conceivable aspect of SST design and operation. A final report was issued on 9 March 1959, recommending development of a Mach 1.2 100-seat medium-range (1500 miles) SST and a Mach 1.8 150-seat long-range (3000 miles) variant. A major conclusion was that Mach 2.2 was the upper limit for aircraft with aluminum alloy structure. The Bristol Aircraft Company had been a leading player in developing a workable aircraft configuration for STAC, producing several successive designs under the generic label Type 198. In 1959 further contracts were awarded to continue design studies and by January 1960 the Type 198 had evolved into a shape recognisable as an ancestor of Concorde. It featured a tail-less slender delta wing with a gentle curved leading edge, six engines in two groups of three in nacelles under the wing, and was to carry 136 passengers at Mach 1.8. A comparative study of a Mach 3 version (made of steel to withstand the increased air friction heating) was designated Type 213, but soon dropped as uneconomic.

During 1961 a less-ambitious scaled-down version of the latest Type 198 was studied in parallel, under the designation Type 223. This design was a 100-seater with only four engines but otherwise of similar configuration. In the meantime, Sud Aviation in France had been studying a 70/80 seat short-range (1500-1800 miles) Mach 2 SST to replace the Caravelle. Designed for use on European and African routes, the Super Caravelle, as it was known, looked very similar to the Type 223, but lacked a drooping nose. When BAC approached potential joint-venture partners in early 1961, (at government insistence due to the likely cost), Sud Aviation was the only one to give a positive response. The Americans were planning a Mach 3 SST and weren’t interested in BAC’s slower design. The first Anglo-French meeting was held at the June 1961 Paris Air Show, and after a further talks an intergovernment agreement was signed on 29 November 1962. Funding was to be shared equally between the two governments, with the industry partners being BAC and Sud Aviation (later Aerospatiale) for the airframe and Bristol Siddeley (later Rolls-Royce) and SNECMA for the engines. Initially the project was going to comprise two versions of the SST – a short/medium range aircraft and a heavier trans-Atlantic version, but the former was dropped after consultation with potential airline customers showed it to be non-viable.

In early 1965 the design was frozen and construction of two prototypes commenced. The industrial workshare was: BAC – nose, tail and engine installations; Sud Aviation (Aerospatiale) – wings, centre fuselage and landing gear. France had a larger airframe share because Britain had a greater share of the engine work – Bristol Siddeley on the Olympus engines and SNECMA on the exhaust system and afterburner. The infrastructure required to support this production effort was huge and included the transport of completed airframe sections between production sites, the construction of numerous full-size test rigs and the introduction of an ‘air bridge’ aircraft shuttling engineers daily between Filton and Toulouse to co-ordinate the development process. There was no precedent for Anglo-French collaboration on a major prestige industrial project, and lessons had to be learnt the hard way. At the same time, the original estimates for the programme costs were proving to be hopelessly optimistic and revised estimates were seriously undermined by the high inflation rates prevalent at the time.

The subtle and graceful external shape of Concorde hides a great many advanced engineering features. The wing is a masterpiece of aerodynamic shaping. The slender delta shape with an ogival (curved) leading edge was only arrived at after a huge amount of wind tunnel testing and reaches optimum efficiency at around Mach 2.2. Most of the fuel is stored in the wings, where it acts as a heat sink for the wing skin during prolonged supersonic flight. Fuel is also used to control the aircraft centre of gravity, to counter-act the rearward shift in the centre of lift as the aircraft goes supersonic. Fuel is pumped into trim tanks in the rear fuselage during acceleration and forward again during deceleration to subsonic speed. Computer controlled variable-area air intakes ensure that each engine receives an optimum air flow under all flight conditions. The nose of the aircraft can be hinged down 17.5 degrees to improve the view of the pilot while landing or taking-off, although in practice only 12.5 degrees is normally used.

By 1967, 74 options from 16 airlines had been obtained, including Pan Am and Air Canada. This good start gave great confidence in the future prospects for the project, with potential for 240 sales being forecast by 1978, when the American SST was expected to be available. These options were fully refundable and couldn’t be converted into contracts until guaranteed performance figures had been established by the flight test programme.

The first prototype (aircraft 001 F-WTSS) was rolled out at Toulouse on 11 December 1967, but extensive ground testing meant that it didn’t fly until 2 March 1969. The first British aircraft (002 G-BSST) flew a month later. The flight test programme proceeded smoothly without any major problems. In December 1971, the first pre-production aircraft (101) made its maiden flight. The pre-production aircraft featured a much improved visor design, with greater cockpit window area, a longer forward fuselage and extended tail. The flight test programme verified aircraft and systems performance under a very wide range of conditions, and included a substantial amount of work refining the operation of the computer-controlled engine intakes. This was followed by nearly 1000 hours of endurance flying over typical airline routes, using the first three production aircraft (201 to 203).

The first airlines to formally place firm orders were British Airways and Air France, who ordered a total of nine aircraft on 28 July 1972. Restrictions had been placed on over-land supersonic routes by various countries due to the expectation that frequent sonic booms would cause damage under the projected flightpath, and this had an adverse affect on potential sales. In fact, during the route proving trials, many complaints of sonic boom problems from affected countries turned out to have more to do with gaining increased access to Heathrow and Paris for national airlines than any actual damage. Vociferous protests over noise and air pollution from politically motivated pressure groups also generated a lot of adverse publicity for Concorde. However, the oil crisis sparked by the ‘Yom Kippur’ war of 1973 had a most devastating affect on sales. The soaring cost of fuel rendered Concorde completely uneconomic for all but state-subsidised airlines. No further orders were achieved and production ceased after 16 production aircraft, with 201 and 202 going into store and the remaining fourteen aircraft being shared equally between British Airways and Air France.

Despite protests over noise a trial service did begin to Washington DC in 1976, and when that proved successful a ban on flights to New York was overturned in 1977. Noise measurements of Concorde operations at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York all proved to be within the legal limits. New York soon became the favoured destination for Concorde passengers. After service-entry the maximum take-off weight was raised to 408,000 lb (185,066 kg), and a number of aerodynamic refinements were introduced, comprising a sharper leading edge to the upper portion of the fin, a thinned and lowered engine intake lip, and extending the rudders and elevons aft by 2 inches (0.05 m). This combination gave significant reductions in drag and fuel consumption. In subsequent years, fuel prices became relatively much cheaper, and the premium-price fares levied for supersonic service allowed a handsome operating profit to be made. In regular service Concorde proved to be very reliable and load factors remained high. In 1984, after prolonged negotiations, British Airways took over financial responsibility for in-service support of Concorde from the British Government, who had previously paid for everything. From 1995, the Concorde fleet was progressively equipped with the TCAS collision avoidance system.

Niggling incidents did sometimes occur. On more than one occasion, part of the rudder broke-away in flight, but the aircraft’s handling was not seriously affected. The rudder was replaced by a newer design. Tyre bursts on take-off or landing had been shown to cause minor damage to the wing skin on a number of occasions, but these incidents were regarded as minor. Then, on 25 July 2000, while on its take-off roll from Paris-Charles De Gaulle Airport, Air France Concorde F-BTSC hit a strip of titanium metal dropped onto the runway by a preceding aircraft. The metal strip sliced into the left front tyre of the left mainwheel bogie, which immediately exploded, causing large chunks of rubber to penetrate the lower wing skin at very high speed. The fuel tank in this portion of the wing was ruptured by the force of the impact, causing fuel to stream back along the underside of the wing. At this time number 2 engine lost all power and number 1 engine began behaving erratically. The fuel stream then caught fire. As the aircraft was already too far down the runway to stop, the pilot decided carry on and attempt an emergency landing at nearby Le Bourget Airport. After take-off the landing gear would not retract, and the aircraft could not gain airspeed. The aircraft stalled and crashed at Gonesse less than three minutes later, killing 113 people.

An unbreakable rule of airliner safety is ‘No single failure shall cause the loss of the aircraft’. In this case a single tyre burst resulted in a crash, and once a probable cause had been established, all Concordes were immediately grounded. Teams of engineers in Britain and France strived to produce workable solutions that would eliminate the problem but not cripple the operating economics of the airliner. On 5 September 2001 the proposed package of modifications was agreed by the airworthiness authorities. New Michelin-developed Near Zero Growth (NZG) tyres would be fitted, which didn’t explode when punctured, and Kevlar liners were to be installed in each fuel tank to drastically cut the rate of fuel leakage if the wing skin was damaged. The hydraulics for the main landing gear was also protected and potential sources of sparks eliminated. The first modified British Airways aircraft flew on 17 July 2001. On 7 November 2001 British Airways and Air France resumed regular passenger services, with the first Concorde arriving to a very special welcome in New York. The downturn in airline travel after 11 September 2001 slowed down the rate of return to service for the rest of the fleet, but with a new interior trim and plenty of fatigue life remaining the aircraft was still good for several more years yet. Four Air France and five British Airways Concordes underwent the modification programme.

On 10 April 2003, British Airways and Air France simultaneously announced that they would be withdrawing Concorde from service. Since it’s return to service, passenger numbers had not recovered to a sustainable level and the aircraft could no longer made a profit. The drastic decline in transatlantic air travel – Concorde’s only route – after September 2001 meant falling passenger revenue at the same time as support costs had increased. For example, the mandatory fitting of new cockpit security doors would cost ten times as much for the small Concorde fleet as it would for a Boeing aircraft. On 31 May 2003 Air France operated its last commercial service in a very low-key manner, and in the following month proceeded to deliver its aircraft to various museums. On 24 October 2003 British Airways celebrated the end of Concorde operations in grand style, with three aircraft landing one after another at Heathrow in front of a large crowd. The last ever Concorde flight occurred on 26 November 2003, when 216 (the last aircraft off the production line) returned to its birthplace in Filton, to be the centrepiece of a planned new Aviation Heritage Museum.

In the end, the real legacy of the Concorde programme is not just a beautiful airliner, but the culture and infrastructure of European technical collaboration which arose from its production. The Concorde factories at Filton and Toulouse became part of the Airbus company, which has now reached parity in airliner sales with the once dominant Boeing. Meanwhile, Concorde is still the world’s only commercial supersonic airliner in service.

Two views of G-BSST performing at the 1972 Farnborough Air Show. (photos, Keith McKenzie)


Requirement Specification: n/a
Manufacturers Designation: n/a

Development History:
Bristol Type 198 Series of SST design studies for STAC 1956-1960, evolving from a Mach 1.3 M-wing aircraft to a Mach 2.2 tail-less slender delta with 6 Olympus 591 engines.
Bristol Type 213 Mach 3.0 design study by Bristol (1959) with steel structure.
Bristol Type 223 Scaled-down version of final Type 198 design. Mach 2.2 design with four Olympus 593 engines and 100 passengers. (1961)
Super Caravelle Short/medium range 70-80 seat SST project design by Sud Aviation.
Concorde Trans-Atlantic British-led design study of long-haul version with additional fuselage fuel tank.
Concorde Medium Range French-led design study of short-haul version with ventral stairway instead of rear fuel tank. Dropped in favour of trans-Atlantic version.
Concorde 001/002 First and second prototypes. Shorter fuselage and only small windows in metal nose visor. Olympus 593-1, 2B or 3B engines.
Concorde 101/102 Pre-production aircraft with lengthened fuselage, smaller cabin windows and new glazed visor design. Olympus 593-4 or 593 Mk 602 engines.
Concorde series 200 Production version with higher gross weight, slightly extended main landing gear legs and improved systems. Olympus 593 Mk 602 or 610 engines.
Concorde Freighter Projected freighter version for Federal Express.
Concorde ‘B’ model Improved production version – planned for introduction from aircraft 17 onwards. Full span leading-edge droop and exended wingtips. Uprated engines with reheat deleted. Not built.
F-BTSD in ‘Pepsi’ colour scheme
(photo, Carl Ford)
British Airways Concorde G-BOAD
(photo, APG)


Key Dates:
5 November 1956    First meeting of STAC.
9 March 1959    STAC report recommends UK develop long-range supersonic transport.
February 1960    Bristol merged into BAC.
June 1961    Super Caravelle model displayed at Paris Air Show.
29 November 1962    Anglo-French Agreement signed and initial order placed for 2 prototypes, 2 pre-production examples and 2 test airframes.
January 1963    Concord(e) name first used.
June 1963    Three key airlines place first order options.
early 1965    Short-range Concorde version dropped by the French.
May 1965    Pre-production design announced.
11 December 1967    Prototype 001 rolled out at Toulouse.
September 1968    Prototype 002 rolled out at Filton.
2 March 1969    Maiden flight of prototype 001 at Toulouse.
9 April 1969    First flight of prototype 002 at Filton.
1 October 1969    001 exceeds Mach 1 for the first time.
1 January 1970    Sud Aviation merged into Aerospatiale.
4 November 1970    001 exceeds Mach 2 for the first time.
December 1970    Production version design frozen.
17 December 1971    First pre-production aircraft (101) maiden flight.
April 1972    Initial production batch started.
28 July 1972    First firm orders placed by BOAC & Air France.
10 January 1973    Second pre-production aircraft (102) maiden flight.
6 December 1973    First production aircraft (201) maiden flight.
January 1974    US airlines cancel their options.
July 1974    Agreement to limit production to 16 aircraft already ordered.
21 January 1976    World’s first supersonic passenger services, to Bahrain and Rio de Janeiro.
13 October 1975    French Certificate of Airworthiness granted.
5 December 1975    British Certificate of Airworthiness granted.
19 December 1975    First aircraft delivered to Air France (F-BVFA).
14 January 1976    First aircraft delivered to British Airways (G-BOAA).
March 1976    Concorde banned from New York JFK airport
24 May 1976    Services to Washington DC begin.
April 1977    BAC merged into British Aerospace.
22 November 1977    New York services begin.
20 April 1979    Maiden flight of last production aircraft.
1 April 1984    British Airways buys UK Concorde fleet from the British Government and assumes responsibility for their upkeep.
25 July 2000    Air France flight AF4590 crashes near Paris. Air France fleet grounded.
15 August 2000    British Airways fleet grounded following initial findings of accident investigation.
January 2001    Details of return to flight modifications announced.
17 July 2001    Successful test flight by first modified Concorde (G-BOAF)
5 September 2001    Modifications approved by airworthiness authorities – CofA restored
7 November 2001    Passengers services to New York resumed.
10 April 2003    British Airways and Air France announce withdrawal of Concorde from service.
31 May 2003    Air France operates last commercial services.
27 June 2003    Last Air France Concorde flight – delivery to a museum.
24 October 2003    British Airways operates last commercial services.
26 November 2003    Last ever Concorde flight – delivery to museum at Filton.


Military Operators


Government Agencies


Civilian Operators

UK BOAC – later British Airways
France Air France
Head-on view of F-BTSD
(photo, Bernard Charles)
Air France Concorde F-BVFC
(photo, Antoine Grondeau)


Aerospatiale/BAC Concorde (prototype version)
Accomodation: Three crew + flight test observers and test equipment
Dimensions: Length 184 ft 6 in (56.30 m); Height 37 ft 5 in (11.40 m); Wing Span 83 ft 10 in (25.55 m); Wing Area 3,856 sq ft (358.22 sq m)
Engines: Four Rolls-Royce/SNECMA Olympus 593-1, 593-2B or 593-3B turbojets rated at 28,000 lb st (13 075 kg), 32,900 lb st (14 935 kg) or 34,730 lb st (15 767 kg) respectively with 17% reheat
Weights: Operating Empty 136,625 lb (61,976 kg); Maximum Take-off 326,000 lb (147,880 kg)
Performance: Maximum Speed Mach 2.08 at 51,300 ft (15,635 m); Cruising speed for optimum range Mach 2.02 at 51,300 ft (15,635 m); Maximum rate of climb at sea level 5000 ft/min (1525 m/min); Service ceiling 60,000 ft (18,290 m); Range not known.
Aerospatiale/BAC Concorde (Pre-production version)
Accomodation: Three crew + flight test observers and test equipment
Dimensions: Length 203 ft 9 in (62.10 m)
Engines: Four Rolls-Royce/SNECMA Olympus 593-4 or 593 Mk 602 turbojets rated at 36,800 lb st (16 707 kg) with 17% reheat
Weights: Maximum Take-off 358,000 lb (162,532 kg), later 389,100 lb (176 650 kg)
Aerospatiale/BAC Concorde (production version – final configuration)
Accomodation: Three crew + up to 144 economy-class passengers or 100 first-class passengers
Dimensions: Length 203 ft 9 in (62.10 m); Height 37 ft 5 in (11.40 m); Wing Span 83 ft 10 in (25.55 m); Wing Area 3,856 sq ft (358.22 sq m)
Engines: Four Rolls-Royce/SNECMA Olympus 593 Mk 610 turbojets rated at 38,050 lb st (17259 kg) with 17% reheat
Weights: Operating Empty 173,500 lb (78,698 kg); Maximum Take-off 408,000 lb (185,066 kg)
Performance: Maximum Speed Mach 2.2 at 51,300 ft (15,635 m); Cruising speed for optimum range Mach 2.04 at 51,300 ft (15,635 m) – equivalent to 1,354 mph (2,179 kph); Maximum rate of climb at sea level 5000 ft/min (1525 m/min); Service ceiling 60,000 ft (18,290 m); Range with maximum fuel 4,090 miles (6,582 km) with FAR fuel reserves and payload of 19,500 lb (8,845 kg), range with maximum payload at Mach 2.02 cruise 3,870 miles (6,228 km) with FAR fuel reserves.
F-BVFA landing
(photo, not known)
F-BVFB cleans-up after take-off
(photo, not known)


Design Centre

Head of Design Team: Dr Bill Strang and Lucien Servanty (Chief Engineers)
Design Offices: Filton & Toulouse


Sud Aviation
(St Martin, Toulouse, France – later Société Nationale Industrielle Aérospatiale)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
prototype (001) 1 Toulouse Feb 1965-1967
pre-production (102) 1 Toulouse 1967-1973
pre-production* (201-215) 8 Toulouse 1973-1979
Total: 10    

* Odd numbered airframes.

BAC – British Aircraft Corporation Ltd
(Filton, Bristol, UK – later British Aerospace)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
prototype (002) 1 Filton Feb 1965-1968
pre-production (101) 1 Filton 1968-1971
production* (202-216) 8 Filton 1971-1979
Total: 10    

* Even numbered airframes.

Total Produced: 20 a/c (all variants)
[An additional two complete airframes where built for static load testing (France) and thermal/fatigue testing (UK-RAE Farnborough), in parallel with the pre-production aircraft].

Production List

Listing of Concorde production and aircraft final locations

(photo, British Airways)
(photo, British Airways)

More Information


‘The Concorde Story’ [Order this book from USA] [Order this book from UK]
by Christopher Orlebar
Osprey Publishing, UK, 2002(5th)   ISBN: 1855326671
* Very comprehensive and detailed history.

‘Concorde: The Inside Story’ [Order this book from USA] [Order this book from UK]
by Brian Trubshaw
Sutton Publishing, UK, 21 Nov 2001 (2nd)   ISBN: 0750928115
* Authoritative history from the Concorde chief test pilot.

‘Flying Concorde – The Full Story’ [Order this book from UK]
by Brian Calvert
Airlife Publishing, UK, 1 Mar 2002(3rd)   ISBN: 1 840373520
* Development and service history.

‘Concorde – Airlife’s Airliners: 14’ [Order this book from UK]
by Gunter Endres
Airlife Publishing, UK, 31 Oct 2001   ISBN: 1 840372052
* Well illustrated service history.

‘Concorde’ [Order this book from UK]
Science Museum, UK, 15 Dec 2001   ISBN: 1 900 7474 21
* Explains the technology that went into Concorde’s design.

‘Concorde’ [Order this book from UK]
by Phil Birtles
Ian Allan, UK, 23 Nov 2000   ISBN: 0 7110 27404
* Concise development history.

‘Concorde – Airliner Color History’ [Order this book from UK]
by Gunter Endres
Motorbooks International, USA, Oct 2001   ISBN: 0 760 311 951
* Good pictorial history.

‘Concorde – From The Flightdeck: 5’
by Leney & Burney
Ian Allan Ltd, UK, 1991   ISBN: 0 7110 18960
* Describes a typical Concorde flight.


‘Flight International’ – various issues 2000-2001

‘Flightpath Volume 1 Autumn/Fall 2003’
AIRtime Publishing, UK/USA, 2003   ISBN: 1 880588 65 X/1 880588 66 8
* Includes 60-page feature on Concorde – published just to soon to cover it’s retirement.

Production List:
‘Jet Airliner Production List – Volume 2’
The Aviation Hobby Shop, UK, 1998   ISBN: ?
* Full production and service histories of several jetliners – including Concorde.


Concorde at Filton
* Visit G-BOAF at Filton.

British Airways

Air France

Last flight
* Video of Concorde’s last flight, returning to Filton in Bristol.

UK DoT Air Accidents Investigation Branch

BEA France Website
* Official Concorde crash report (in English).

* Huge website dedicated to every aspect of Concorde.

Concorde Supersonic Jet – Homepage
* Enthusiasts website dedicated to Concorde – several pages don’t work yet.

Le Site du Club Concorde AIACC
* Well illustrated history of Concorde.

Concorde en 1969
* French text illustrated report on the status of Concorde in June 1969.

BBC News In Depth Farewell to Concorde
* Full coverage of the retirement from service by British Airways.

BBC News In Depth Concorde Crash
* Another site covering the crash in detail.

Guardian Unlimited Special Reports The Concorde Crash
* Detailed coverage of the events surrounding the crash.


Flight Simulator Models:
To be added.

Scale Models:
To be added.

Scale Drawings:
To be added.


‘Concorde – The Ultimate Profile’ [Order this video from UK]
Catalogue Number: DD2919
* A more recent history of Concorde.

‘The Concorde Story’ [Order this video from UK]
Catalogue Number: CHV2035
* History of Concorde.

‘A Celebration of Concorde – 25th Anniversary’ [Order this video from UK]
Catalogue Number: DD983
* 25 years of Concorde operations.

‘Concorde In The 21st Century’ [Order this video from UK]
Catalogue Number: FFP9533
* Profile of the British Airways Concorde fleet.

‘Concorde – The New Era’ [Order this video from UK]
Catalogue Number: FFP9683
* Concorde operations after the crash.

‘Concorde’ [Order this video from UK]
Catalogue Number: DD05634
* New profile of Concorde.

Dornier Do 335

Aircraft Profile
[NASM example Do 335A-0 VG+PH]
The last surviving example, Do 335A-0 VG+PH,
seen after restoration by Dornier.
(photo, Dornier)


As the Second World War in Europe drew to a close, a powerful new twin-engined fighter was preparing to enter service with the Luftwaffe. The unique configuration of this aircraft conferred on it a phenomenal performance, which completely eclipsed all of its contemporaries; whilst its potential for devastating the massive Allied bomber streams that almost daily pounded the Reich was rivalled only by the Me 262 jet. This amazing machine was the piston-engined Dornier Do 335.

Aircraft designers are constantly seeking to maximise engine power and minimise drag. The increased power resulting from the adoption of a twin-engined layout, is normally partially offset by the increased drag and reduced manoeuvrability of an orthodox wing-mounted arrangement. An alternative arrangement, with the two engines mounted fore-and-aft in tandem is known as centre-line thrust. With the power from both engines being delivered along the aircraft centre-line, the obvious benefits of this layout include reduced frontal area, an aerodynamically clean wing and the elimination of the asymmetry problems associated with engine failure.

The Dornier Do 335 was a bold attempt to embody the centre-line thrust concept in a practical and efficient airframe. Its unique layout featured a conventional nose mounted engine and tractor airscrew, together with a second engine located in the rear fuselage, driving a pusher propeller situated aft of the tail unit.

The origins of the Dornier Do 335’s novel layout go back to the First World War. During the war Prof. Claude Dornier designed a number of flying boats, which typically featured a tandem engine installation. The engines were mounted back-to-back in pairs, with the forward unit driving a tractor airscrew and the aft facing unit a pusher propeller. This engine arrangement was subsequently adopted for the highly successful Dornier Do J Wal (Whale) flying boat of 1922.

In 1935 Dornier produced the Do 18, a much improved development of the Wal concept. To enable the pusher propeller to clear the trailing edge of the broad chord wing featured on this type, an extension drive shaft from the rear engine was introduced for the first time. The idea of placing the pilot between the two engines in such an arrangement obviously occurred to Dornier. Indeed, on 3rd August 1937 he filed patent number 728044 for an aircraft of just such a configuration. It was on the basis of this patent that the Do 335 came to be developed.

During 1939 Dornier was busy working on the P 59 high speed bomber project, which featured the tandem engine layout patented earlier. Work on the P 59 was stopped in early 1940 when Reichsmarschall Goering, anticipating a quick end to the war, ordered the cancellation of all work which would not see fruition within a year or so.

Despite this setback, Dornier soon began working on another unarmed high speed bomber project – the P 231. With an internal bomb load of 2200 lb, this design used a similar configuration to that of the P 59. In May 1942 Dornier submitted a refined version of the P 231 design in response to a Technische Amt requirement for a single seat high speed bomber. The Dornier proposal was selected as the winner after beating rival designs from Arado and Junkers. Despite official resistance to the unconventional layout, a development contract was awarded under the RLM designation Do 335.

In the Autumn of 1942, with detail design progressing, Dornier were informed by the RLM that the Do 335 was no longer required. In the light of the massive Allied air raids which had begun that year, the aircraft was to be redesigned as a multi-role fighter of broadly similar performance. Capable of duties as a single-seat fighter bomber, high speed reconnaissance, heavy fighter, and two seat night and all-weather interceptor.

However, the Technische Amt delayed issuing a formal contract, and Dornier eventually turned to the Inspector-General of the Luftwaffe, Generalfeldmarschall Milch, to expedite matters. The necessary redesign had been completed, and the first metal cut on the prototypes at Oberpfaffenhofen by the end of 1942.

As construction of the prototypes proceeded, the war situation was growing more serious. On 7 June 1943, Hitler himself intervened to expedite the Do 335 and Me 262 programmes. However, on 7 Sept 1943 Messerschmitt persuaded Hitler that the Me 262 would be a better suited as a high speed bomber than the Ar 234 or Do 335, and the Me 262 received sole priority. This was despite the fact that the Do 335’s bomb load was twice that of the Me 262. Milch’s advocacy of the other two types was brushed aside.

Fitted with Daimler-Benz DB603A-2 engines delivering 1750 hp at take-off, the first example, Do 335 V1 (CP+UA), flew for the first time on 26 October 1943 from Mengen, Württemberg, with Flugkapitan Hans Dieterle at the controls.

Aside from its unusual engine layout, the design incorporated several other unusual features. These included a reversible-pitch tractor airscrew, to shorten the rather long landing run; a wing leading edge de-icing system; hydraulically operated flaps; a tunnel radiator for the rear engine and a compressed air powered ejection seat. The latter being essential for a safe bale-out clear of the rear propeller, although the vertical tail and propeller could be jettisoned by explosive bolts when required.

After initial handling trials at Oberpfaffenhofen, the Do 335 V1 was ferried to the Rechlin Erprobungstelle for official evaluation. Although some snaking and porpoising was found at high speeds, the Rechlin test pilots were generally enthusiastic. They commented favourably on its general handling behaviour, manoeuvrability and in particular on its acceleration and turning circle. However, they also criticised the very poor rearward vision and weak undercarriage.

During the Winter and Spring of 1943-44, the first prototype was joined on the test programme by additional development aircraft. The Do 335 V2 (CP+UB) and V3 (CP+UC/T9+ZH) incorporated several minor changes with respect to the first prototype. The oil cooler intake under the nose was deleted and incorporated into an enlarged annular engine cowling; blisters were added to the cockpit canopy to house small rear view mirrors, and the main undercarriage doors were redesigned. Both aircraft were retained at Oberpfaffenhofen for further flight trails.

The Do 335 V4 was intended to be the prototype for the two-seat Do 435 night and all-weather interceptor, featuring side-by-side seating, cabin pressurisation, 2500 hp Jumo 222 engines and long span wooden outer wing panels. It was cancelled by the RLM in the Autumn of 1944 whilst still under construction.

The Do 335 V5 (CP+UE) was the armament test prototype, fitted with a 30 mm engine mounted MK103 cannon, and two 15 mm MG151 cannon mounted in the upper nose. The Do 335 V6 (CP+UF) and V7 (CP+UG) were retained at Oberpfaffenhofen for various equipment trials. The V7 later being transferred to Junkers at Dessau for ground tests with Jumo 213 engines installed. The Do 335 V8 (CP+UH) was used as an engine test bed, by Daimler-Benz.

The main production line was intended to be at Manzel, but a bombing raid in March 1944 destroyed much of the production tooling and forced Dornier to set up a new line at Oberpfaffenhofen.

On 23 May 1944, with an Allied invasion of France expected at any time, Hitler ordered maximum priority to be given to the Do 335 production effort. The decision was made to cancel the Heinkel He 219, and use it’s production facilities for the Do 335. However, Ernst Heinkel resisted the cancellation, and managed to delay (and eventually ignore) its implementation.

The Do 335 V9 (CP+UI) was the prototype for the Do 335A-0 pre-production model. Fitted with a strengthened undercarriage, DB603A-2 engines, and full armament, it was delivered to the Rechlin Erprobungstelle in May 1944 for further official trials. It was shortly followed off the Oberpfaffenhofen production line by the first Do 335A-0 (VG+PG). In all, ten Do 335A-0 fighter-bombers were produced. Several were used by Erprobungskommando 335 (EK335), formed in September 1944 for the service evaluation and development of operational tactics for this new type.

In late 1944, the Do 335A-1 superseded the A-0 on the production line. This was the initial production model, similar to the A-0 but with the uprated DB603E-1 engines and two underwing hard points for additional bombs or drop tanks. Delivery commenced in January 1945. Capable of a maximum speed of 474 mph at 21,325 ft with MW 50 boost, or 426 mph without boost, and able to climb to 26,250 ft in only 14.5 minutes, the Do 335A-1 could easily outpace any Allied fighters it encountered. It could also carry a bomb load of 1100 lb for 900 miles.

Although given the nickname ‘Pfeil’ (arrow) by Dornier test pilots, on account of its speed, service pilots quickly dubbed it ‘Ameisenbär’ (ant-eater) because of its long nose.

The Do 335A-2 And A-3 were proposed developments with improved cannon armament, but were never built. One Do 335A-0 became the prototype for the Do 335A-4. This was an unarmed long range reconnaissance model, with two Rb50/30 cameras in the weapons bay and DB603G engines. Ten A-4s were ordered for production, but none were completed.

The Do 335 V10 (CP+UK) was the prototype for the Do 335A-6 radar equipped two-seat night fighter variant. A second cockpit for the radar operator was inserted above and behind the normal cockpit. The weapons bay was replaced by a redesigned fuel tank, radar antennae were attached to the wing leading edges and flame dampers fitted to the exhausts. However, the FuG217 radar equipment was never actually fitted to the V10. Production of the A-6 was transferred to Heinkel in Vienna, but none were assembled.

The Do 335 V11 (CP+UL) and V12 (CP+UM) were prototypes for the Do 335A-10 and A-12 dual control conversion trainers respectively. The former having DB603A engines and the latter DB603E powerplants. The instructor occupied the second cockpit – although without an ejection seat, due to production shortages. Production examples were interspersed with the A-1 on the same production line.

As the war situation continued to deteriorate, development effort switched from the A-series fighter-bomber to the more heavily armed B-series heavy fighter. The Do 335 V13 (RP+UA) was the prototype of the Do 335B-1 which featured a revised nose undercarriage arrangement – the larger wheel being tilted at 45 degrees when fully retracted, a V-shaped armoured windscreen and DB603E engines. It’s weapons bay was replaced by an additional fuel tank, and the two 15 mm MG151 cannon in the nose replaced by 20 mm MG151s. The B-4 prototype, Do 335 V14 (RP+UB) had this armament supplemented by two 30 mm MK103 cannon mounted on the inner wing leading edges. Only the two B-series prototypes were actually completed and flown – further developments were still under construction, some with two-stage supercharger DB603LA engines capable of 2100 hp.

Plagued by mechanical unreliability and lack of aviation fuel, the operational career of the Do 335 is rather obscure. Do 335A-0 and A-1 aircraft are thought to have flown a number of operational missions with EK335. Some were also used by III/KG2 in the Spring of 1945. French fighter ace Pierre Clostermann’s book ‘The Big Show’ mentions an encounter with a Do 335 in April 1945, during which the German aircraft easily outpaced the pursuing Hawker Tempests and escaped. Such events were very rare, so it seems likely that most operations were high speed interdiction missions – many taking place at night.

When the US Army overran the Oberpfaffenhofen factory in late April 1945, only 11 Do 335A-1 single seat fighter-bombers and two Do 335A-12 conversion trainers had been completed. A further nine A-1’s, four A-4’s and two A-12’s were in final assembly, and components and assemblies for nearly 70 more had been completed. Heinkel at Vienna had been unable to build any Do 335A-6 night fighters.

A number of planned developments of the Do 335 were on the drawing board when the war ended, including several big-winged high altitude fighter versions, the Do 535 with a jet rear engine, the Do 635 (later Ju 8-635) long range reconnaissance version which featured twin fuselages linked by a common wing centre section, and the P.256 twin jet fighter.

As part of Operation Seahorse, two of the surviving A-0 single seaters were put aboard the US aircraft carrier ‘Reaper’ and shipped back to the USA, for detailed evaluation by the US Navy and USAAF. An airworthy A-12 two seater was flown to Britain and flight tested at RAE Farnborough, but a companion A-1 force-landed in France on its delivery flight and was abandoned. Two of the B-series prototypes were also evaluated by the CEV in France.

Today, the sole remaining example of this unique type is on display at the new Udvar-Hazy Center (the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum at Dulles Airport, Virginia, USA). Do 335A-0 VP+GH (Wk Nr. 240102) had been evaluated at the US Navy’s Patuxent River Test Center in 1945. Thereafter, it languished in open storage for 27 years. Initially in the grounds of NAS Norfolk, and later in the National Air & Space Museum (NASM) storage facility at Silver Hill. In October 1974 the decaying airframe was flown back to Munich, for a complete restoration by Dornier Aircraft at Oberpfaffenhofen (then building Alpha Jets). The magnificently restored aircraft was first displayed at the Hannover Airshow, 1-9 May 1976, and then loaned to the Deutches Museum, Munich, for a several years before returning to the NASM.

Technically innovative, heavily armed and possessing a performance which no other piston-engined aircraft has ever achieved or surpassed, the Do 335 possessed great potential as a combat aircraft, but never got the chance to prove itself. Delayed by high ranking indecision and Allied bombing raids, it simply ran out of time.

Do 335V-1 with chin oil cooler and circular
mainwheel doors. (photo, Dornier)
Do 335V-3 T9+ZH with revised nose shape and
mainwheel doors. (photo, Dornier)


Requirement Specification:
Manufacturers Designation: Do 335

Development History:
P 59-04 Initial single-seat high-speed bomber project. Push-pull engine configuration. Elliptical fin. 1938-39.
P 231 Revised single-seat high-speed bomber project. P 231/2 became Do 335.
Do 335V1 First prototype. DB603A-2 engines. Chin oil cooler intake. Circular mainwheel covers.
Do 335V2 & V3 Second & third prototypes. Chin intake deleted – enlarged nose cowling. Canopy blisters. Revised mainwheel doors.
Do 335V4 to V14 Development & test prototype aircraft. Various engine and armament standards.
Do 335A-0 Pre-production version. DB603A-2. (Prototype was V9).
Do 335A-1 Initial production version of fighter-bomber variant. DB603E-1 with enlarged supercharger, 2 external wing hard points.
Do 335A-2 Proposed heavy fighter variant, superceded by Do 335B series
Do 335A-3 Proposed heavy fighter variant, superceded by Do 335B series
Do 335A-4 Unarmed long-range reconnaissance variant. DB603G. 2 cameras in weapons bay. (Prototype was A-0 converted).
Do 335A-5 No information
Do 335A-6 2-seat night fighter, FuG 217J radar, DB 603E engines. (Prototype was V10).
Do 335A-7 No information
Do 335A-8 No information
Do 335A-9 No information
Do 335A-10 Tandem two-seat trainer version of Do 335A-0. DB603A-2 engines. (Prototype was V11).
Do 335A-11 No information
Do 335A-12 Tandem two-seat trainer version of Do 335A-1. DB603E-1 engines. (Prototype was V12).
Do 335B-1 Initial production heavy-fighter variant, with DB603E engines. (Prototype was V13).
Do 335B-2 Heavy fighter, DB603E engines.
Do 335B-3 Heavy fighter, DB603LA engines with two-stage superchargers.
Do 335B-4 High altitude version of B-3 with long span wings. (Prototype was V14).
Do 335B-5 No information
Do 335B-6 Night fighter with DB603E engines, similar to Do 335A-6.
Do 335B-7 High altitude night fighter, version of Do 335B-6 with DB603LA engines.
Do 335B-8 Version of B-7 with long-span wings of Do 335B-4.
Do 435 Side-by-side 2-seat radar-equipped night fighter. Pressurised cabin. Jumo 222 radial engines. Long span wings. (Prototype was V4).
Do 535 Designation reserved for production version of mixed-power P 232.
Do 635 Projected version with two Do 335B fuselages joined by common wing centre-section. DB603E engines. Heinkel Project 1075.
Ju 635 Version of Do 635 further developed by Junkers. 3-seater with stretched fuselages.
P 231/3 Projected mixed-power variant of Do 335A with rear engine replaced by Jumo 004C turbojet. Lateral air intakes.
P 232/2 Refined version of P 231/3. May 1943.
P 232/3 Projected variant of P 232/2 with single dorsal intake. Sept 1943.
P 237/3 High-altitude fighter project, similar to P 232. August 1944.
P 238/1 Projected high-altitude fighter. Elongated fuselage with teardrop canopy. Jumo 222A-2 radial engines. (Junkers Ju 435?)
P 247 ‘Next generation’ Do 335 project with nose engine deleted, Jumo 213T pusher engine, 30 degree wing sweep. Dec 1944.
P 252 Further variant of P 247 with tandem DB603LA or Jumo 213J engines driving rear mounted contra-rotating propellers. Jan 1945.
P 254 2-seat night-fighter/zerstorer project. Rear engine replaced by HeS 011 turbojet fed by lateral intakes. Lower fin deleted. Second crew member located just ahead of rear engine. Jan 1945.
P 256 Twin-jet night-fighter/zerstorer project based on Do 335. HeS 011 engines underwing. 3 crew. March 1945.
Pre-production Do 335A-0 240107.
(photo, Dornier)
Another view of Do 335A-0 240107.
(photo, Dornier)


Key Dates:
3 August 1937    Patent No. 728044 granted for tractor and shaft-driven pusher propeller arrangement.
1939    P 59 high speed bomber project.
1940    P 231 high speed bomber project initiated.
May 1942    P 231 submitted to RLM against single-seat bomber requirement.
1942    Development contract placed with Dornier. P 231 becomes Do 335.
1942    Dornier instructed to redesign Do 335 for multi-purpose fighter role.
late 1942    First metal cut at Oberpfafenhofen to construct a prototype.
1943    RLM places contracts with Dornier for 14 prototypes, 10 pre-production aircraft, 11 production aircraft and 3 two-seaters.
26 October 1943    First prototype, Do 335V1, first flight.
late 1943    Do 335V1 begins official trials at Rechlin.
Autumn 1944    Side-by-side two-seater Do 335V4 cancelled by RLM.
March 1944    Allied bombing raid on Manzel production line.
23 May 1944    Hitler gives Do 335 maximum priority.
September 1944    Luftwaffe establishes EK335 to evaluate Do 335 for service use.
January 1945    First Do 335A-1 deliveries.
22 April 1945    Oberpfaffenhofen captured by Allies.
June 1948    Evaluation by Allies completed – survivors scrapped or stored.
1961    Sole survivor donated to NASM, but stored at NAS Norfolk
10 October 1974    Sole survivor delivered from NASM to Dornier for restoration.
1986    Sole survivor returned to NASM Silver Hill storage centre.
2003    Sole survivor put on display at NASM Udvar-Hazy Center.
Trainer version Do 335A-12 240112, seen at
RAE Farnborough. (photo, Dornier)
Do 335A-0 204102 in US Navy markings.
Later donated to the NASM. (photo, Dornier)


Military Operators

Germany – Luftwaffe Some with EK335 & III/KG 2
USA – Navy 1 x Do 335A-0 for evaluation
USA – USAAF 1 x Do 335A-0 for evaluation

Government Agencies

France – CEV Do 335 V14 & V17 for evaluation
UK – RAE Farnborough 1 x Do 335A-1*, 1 x Do 335A-12 for evaluation

* forced landed on delivery flight and abandoned.

Civilian Operators

Rear propeller installation on Do 335V-9
CP+UI 23009. (photo, Dornier)
Do 335A-0 VG+PK/105 after capture by the US
Army at Lechfeld April 1945. (photo, Jim Reed)


Dornier Do 335A-1
Accomodation: One Pilot
Dimensions: Length 45 ft 5.25 in (13.85 m); Height 16 ft 4.8 in (5.0 m); Wing Span 45 ft 3.3 in (13.8 m); Wing Area 414.411 sq ft (38.5 sq m).
Engines: Two Daimler-Benz DB603E-1 12-cylinder inverted-vee liquid cooled engines in push-pull arrangement – each rated at 1,800 hp for take-off.
Weights: Empty equipped 16,005 lb (7,260 kg); Normal loaded 21,165 lb (9,600 kg).
Performance: Max speed 474 mph (763 km/h) at 21, 325 ft (6,500 m); Max cruising speed 426 mph (685 km/h) at 23,360 ft (7,100 m); Economical cruising speed 281 mph (552 km/h) at 19,685 ft (6000 m); Time to 3,280 ft (1000 m) 55 sec, to 26,245 ft (8000 m) 14.5 min; Service ceiling 37,400 ft (11,400 m); Range on internal fuel at max continuous power 867 miles (1400 km), at economical cruise power 1,280 miles (2050 km);
Armament: One 30 mm MK103 cannon with 70 rounds, firing through the front propeller hub, and two 15 mm MG151/15 cannon with 200 r.p.g. above the nose, plus one 1,102 lb (500 kg) bomb or two 551 lb (250 kg) bombs internally and 551 lb (250 kg) bombs on underwing racks.
Do 335 cockpit.
(photo, Dornier)
Nose engine installation
(photo, Dornier)


Design Centre

Head of Design Team: Prof. Claude Dornier
Design Offices: Dornier-Werke G.m.b.H., Oberpfaffenhofen


Dornier-Werke G.m.b.H.
(Oberpfaffenhofen, Weßling, Germany)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
Do 335V1 to V14 13+1* Friedrichshafen mid 1943-mid 1944
Do 335A-0 10 Oberpfaffenhofen July 1944-Oct 1944
Do 335A-1 11+9* Oberpfaffenhofen Nov 1944-April 1945
Do 335A-4 4* Oberpfaffenhofen Jan 1945-Feb 1945
Do 335A-6 none Heinkel, Vienna-Swechat
Do 335A-10 1+1* Oberpfaffenhofen Oct 1944-Apr 1945
Do 335A-12 2+2* Oberpfaffenhofen Nov 1944-Apr 1945
Do 335B-1 1 Oberpfaffenhofen Jan-Feb 1945
Do 335B-2 2 Oberpfaffenhofen Feb-Mar 1945
Do 335B-3 1* Oberpfaffenhofen Feb-April 1945
Do 335B-6 2 Oberpfaffenhofen Jan-Feb 1945
Do 335B-7 1* Oberpfaffenhofen Feb-April 1945
Do 335B-8 2* Oberpfaffenhofen Feb-April 1945
Total: 42 + 21*    

* not completed.

Total Produced: 42 (all variants)
Full Do 335 Production List

Production List

Do 335 prodn

More Information


‘Dornier Do 335 “Pfeil” – The Last and Best Piston-Engine Fighter of the Luftwaffe’ [Order this book from USA] [Order this book from UK]
by Heinz J Nowarra
Schiffer Publishing, Oct 1989   ISBN: 0 88740 189 9
* Landscape format pictorial history. B+w illustrations only, except for covers. English language version of German-text Waffen Arsenal 93 from Podzun-Pallas (ISBN 3-7909-0243-8)

‘Dornier 335 – Monogram Close-Up 21’ [Order this book from USA]
by J. Richard Smith and Eddie J. Creek
Monogram Aviation Publications, Jan 1983   ISBN: 0-914144-21-9
* Detailed look at the development of the Do 335.

‘Monogram Monarch Series Number 2: Dornier 335 Arrow’ [Order this book from USA] [Order this book from UK]
by J. Richard Smith, Eddie J. Creek & Thomas H. Hitchcock.
Monogram Aviation Publications, Jan 1998   ISBN: 0-914144-52-9
* Essentially an expanded version of Monogram Close Up 21 with the addition of a chapter on the history of the Dornier Company and a chapter on projects derived from the Do 335. It also contains additional illustrations. Extremely comprehensive.

‘Dornier Do 335. Mehrzweck-Jagdflugzeug’
by Karl Heinz Regnat
Aviatic Verlag, Dec 2000   ISBN: 3-925505-59-8
* Very good history of the Do 335. German text. Available from

‘Dornier Do 335: An Illustrated History’ [Order this book from UK]
by Karl Heinz Regnat
Schiffer Publishing, Aug 2003   ISBN: 0764318721
* English language version of above.

‘Dornier Do 335 Pfeil (Aircraft Monograph 15)’ [Order this book from USA]
by Marek Rys
AJ Press, July 2000   ISBN: 8372370532
* Extremely well illustrated profile with 34 pages of 1/72 scale drawings and 9 pages of colour drawings. English-language version of Polish-text Monografie Lotnicze 67 (ISBN: 83-7237-052-4)

‘Vom Original zum Modell: Dornier Do 335’ [Order this book from USA]
by Karl Heinz Regnat
Bernard & Graefe Verlag, July 1999   ISBN: 3-7637-6018-0
* Comprehensive scale modellers guide to the Do 335. German text. Available from

‘Dornier Do 335, 435, 635: Kampfflugzeug – Aufklärer – Zerstörer – Nachtjäger’
by Manfred Griehl
Motorbuch Verlag, April 2004   ISBN: 3613023806
* The most complete and authoritative book on the subject. German text. Available from

‘German Aircraft Industry and Production 1933-1945’ [Order this book from USA] [Order this book from UK]
by Ferenc A Vajda & Peter G Dancey
Airlife Publishing, July 1998   ISBN: 076800246X
* Includes details of Do 335 production from official records

‘War Prizes – An Illustrated Survey of German, Italian and Japanese Aircraft Brought to Allied Countries During and After the Second World War’ [Order this book from USA] [Order this book from UK]
by Phil Butler
Midland Publishing, April 1994   ISBN: 0904597865
* Includes the individual histories of the six operational Do 335s captured by the Allies after WW2

‘Warplanes of the Luftwaffe’ [Order this book from USA] [Order this book from UK]
by David Donald
Aerospace Publishing/AIRtime Publishing, Jan 1997   ISBN: 1880588102/1880588102
* Comprehensive, well illustrated, guide to the aircraft used by the Luftwaffe in WW2, including the Do 335


Air Enthusiast January 1973 p16-21
Air Enthusiast No.52 p54-59
Airfoil Vol.1 No.1 Winter 1983 p26-39
Aviation News Vol.22 No.5
IPMS-USA Quarterly Vol.17 No.4 p5-18
Scale Aircraft Modelling April 1982 p311-316
Scale Models Vol.6 No.70 July 1975 p348-358


Luftwaffe Resource Centre: Dornier Do 335
* Spec, photos

Dornier Do 335A-1 Pfeil
* NASM official page on the Do 335

* 13 Do 335 photos

The Luftwaffe in Scale
* Dornier Do 335V3 colour profile & notes

Camouflage of the Do 335:
A Critical Re-evaluation

* Detailed feature on Do 335 colours and paint schemes

WWII German Aircraft Photos – Fighters: Dornier 335 Pfeil
* 8 pages of Do 335 photos (144 photos)

Dornier Do 335
* Photos of the sole survivor’s restoration in Germany

Dornier Do 335 Decals
* Cutting Edge decals review

Dornier Do 335 Pfeil
* Two pages of b+w photos & drawings.

Rare Color Photographs of Do 335
* Good detail photos of Do 335 in storage at Silver Hill

Wikipedia: Dornier Do 335
* History, technical spec

The Do 335 ‘Arrow’ at Unter Biberg
* Narrative and photos of Do 335 visit to US occupied airfield in 1945

Wings Palette
* 31 colour profile drawings of German, French, UK & US Do 335s

AXLs Plane Gallery
* 17 Do 335 photos

WWII German Aircraft Projects List: Dornier
* Links to details for projects P 247, P 252 and P 256

Junkers Ju 635
* Artwork, history, spec

Dornier/Heinkel Do 435/He 535
* Drawing, spec and brief history


Flight Simulator Models:
To be added.

Scale Models:
To be added.

Scale Drawings:
Aviation News Vol.10 No.20
A. L. Bentley Drawings
NASM Archives


Dornier Do-335
* Documentary on the Do 335 using original flight test footage – VHS cassette

BAE Systems Hawk

Aircraft Profile
Royal Saudi Air Force Hawk Mk 65
(photo, BAE SYSTEMS)


The Hawk originates from a 1964 requirement for a new RAF trainer to replace the Gnat. The two-seat Jaguar was initially intended for this role, but it was soon realised that this would be far from ideal. Accordingly, in 1968 Hawker Siddeley Aviation began the design of a much simpler strictly subsonic trainer, which it designated P.1182 (later HS.1182). The stepped cockpit, allowing the instructor in the rear seat a good forward view, was an innovation subsequently adopted by many other training aircraft.

Confidence in the design was such that no prototypes or pre-production aircraft were ordered, the first six production aircraft being used for development testing. Five of these aircraft were later delivered to the RAF. After entering RAF service in April 1976, the Hawk replaced the Gnat and Hunter in the advanced training and weapons training roles respectively. The most famous RAF operator being the ‘Red Arrows’ aerobatic team.

The Hawk gained an additional role from January 1983, when modification of 88 RAF aircraft to carry Sidewinder missiles commenced. The resulting T.Mk 1A variant was intended for emergency use as a point-defence fighter, supporting Phantoms and Tornados in the UK Defence Region. These aircraft are now used as dedicated weapons trainers. The Hawk subsequently replaced the Canberra in the target towing role.

The Royal Navy also acquired a dozen Hawk T.Mk 1/1As from the RAF, for use by FRADU as aerial targets for the training of ships gunners and radar operators.

From an early stage, the Hawk had aroused considerable export interest, and in 1977 the 50 series export variant was introduced. This minimum change version included provision for underwing drop tanks for the first time. In 1982 an improved export version, the 60 series was introduced, featuring an uprated engine, improved wing aerodynamics and revised wheels and tyres. Further development led to the Hawk 100 and Hawk 200 series, described separately. The T-45 Goshawk variant, adopted by the US Navy is also described separately.


Requirement Specification: AST 397
Manufacturers Designation: HS.1182

Development History:
P.1182 Designation for initial project studies
HS.1182 Manufacturers designation for final project studies
Hawk T.Mk 1 Initial production version. No prototypes or pre-production aircraft produced
Hawk T.Mk 1A Modification to T.Mk 1A to allow installation of AIM-9L Sidewinder AAMs on underwing launchers for use in a back-up air defence role
Hawk 50 series Initial export version based on T.Mk 1
Hawk Mk 51 Initial export version for Finland
Hawk Mk 51A Second export batch for Finland
Hawk Mk 52 Export version for Kenya
Hawk Mk 53 Export version for Indonesia
Hawk 60 series Improved export version. Uprated Mk 861 Adour engine of 5,700 lb st (25.4 kN), additional wing leading-edge fences and four-position flaps to improve lift, anti-skid brakes and revised wheels and tyres.
Hawk Mk 60 Initial 60 series export version
Hawk Mk 60A Second batch for Indonesia
Hawk Mk 61 Export version for Dubai
Hawk Mk 63 Upgrade conversion of Mk 60 for Abu Dhabi
Hawk Mk 64 Export version for Kuwait
Hawk Mk 65 Export version for Saudi Arabia
Hawk Mk 66 Export version for Switzerland
Hawk Mk 67 Hybrid export version for South Korea. Combines a 60 series airframe with the avionics and systems of the 100 series aircraft. Equipped with ranging radar in an extended nose and nosewheel steering.
Hawk 100 series Advanced two-seat trainer and light attack variant
Hawk 200 series Single-seat fighter and ground attack variant
T-45 Goshawk Carrier-landing capable variant for the US Navy


Key Dates:
1968    Initial design studies
January 1970    Official AST 397 Requirement Issued
October 1970    HS.1182 wins production contract
1973    ‘Hawk’ name chosen
21 August 1974    Maiden flight of first prototype T.Mk 1
April 1976    First delivery of production T.Mk 1 to RAF
December 1977    First export delivery Mk 51 to Finland
1982    Red Arrows aerobatic team converts to Hawk
July 1982    First ’60 series’ export orders placed
January 1983    Contract for T.Mk 1A conversions placed
May 1986    T.Mk 1A conversions completed
1999    New fuselage programme for T.Mk.1/1A starts


Military Operators

Abu Dhabi AF Mk 60 – 16 a/c (15 to Mk 63A)
Dubai AF Mk 61 – 9 a/c
Finland AF Mk 51 – 50 a/c, Mk 51A – 7 a/c
Indonesia AF Mk 53 – 20 a/c
Kenya AF Mk 52 – 12 a/c
Kuwait AF Mk 64 – 12 a/c
Saudi Arabia AF Mk 65 – 30 a/c
South Korea AF Mk 67 – 20 a/c
Switzerland AF Mk 66 – 20 a/c
United Kingdom AF T.Mk 1 – 175 a/c (88 to T.Mk 1A)
United Kingdom Navy T.Mk 1/1A – 12 a/c ex-RAF
Zimbabwe AF Mk 60 – 8 a/c, Mk 60A – 5 a/c

Government Agencies

United Kingdom ETPS T.Mk 1 – 1 a/c, Hawk ASTRA – 1 a/c
United Kingdom Qinetiq T.Mk 1/1A – 2+ a/c ex-RAF

Civilian Operators



Crew: Two (Instructor – Rear cockpit, Trainee – Front cockpit)
Dimensions: Length 38 ft 11 in (11.86 m) incl. nose probe, 36 ft 7.75 in (11.17 m) excl. nose probe; Height 13 ft 1.24 in (3.99 m); Wing Span 30 ft 9.75 in (9.39 m); Wing Area 179.60 sq ft (16.69 sq m)
Engines: One Rolls-Royce/Turbomeca Adour Mk151-01 rated at 5,200 lb st (23.13 kN) dry
Weights: Empty Equipped 8,040 lb (3647 kg); Normal Take-off 11,100 lb (5035 kg); Maximum Take-off 12,566 lb (5700 kg)
Armament: Normal maximum external ordnance 1,500 lb (680 kg), Absolute maximum external ordnance 6,800 lb (3084 kg) on three hard points. Loads may comprise single 30-mm gun pod under the fuselage, and two AIM-9L Sidewinder air-to-air missiles or light bombs or [Export versions only] two underwing drop tanks of up to 190 Imp gal (228 US gal, 864 litres)
Performance: Maximum level speed 560 kt (645 mph, 1038 km/h) at 11,000 ft (3355 m); Maximum rate of climb at sea level 9,300 ft/min (2835 m/min); Service ceiling 50,000 ft (15240 m); Standard range 1310 nm (1509 miles, 2428 km); Ferry range 1670 nm (1923 miles, 3094 km)


Design Centre

Head of Design Team: Gordon Hudson (Design of the Hawk)
Assistant Chief Designer: Gordon Hodson (Customer Requirements/Marketing)
Design Office: Kingston Upon Thames, London


BAE SYSTEMS PLC, United Kingdom
(Formerly British Aerospace plc, Formerly Hawker-Siddeley Aviation Ltd)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
Hawk T.Mk 1 175 Dunsfold, Surrey* 1973-1982
Hawk 50 series  39 Dunsfold, Surrey* 1977-1981
Hawk 60 series 101 Dunsfold, Surrey* 1982-1992
Total: 315    

* Fuselages made at Kingston upon Thames factory near London.

Valmet, Finland
(Later Finaviatec)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
Hawk Mk 51 50 Helsinki 1977-1980
Total: 50    
F+W, Switzerland
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
Hawk Mk 66 20 Emmen 1985-1987
Total: 20    

Total Produced: 385 a/c

Production List

Hawk Production

Dubai AW Hawk Mk 61 serial 501
(photo, BAE SYSTEMS)

More Information


‘Hawk Comes Of Age’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Peter R March
Published by RAF Benevolent Fund Enterprises Ltd, Dec 1995 ISBN: 1 89980 800 0
* Very well illustrated history.

‘BAe Hawk – Modern Combat Aircraft No.20’
by Arthur Reed
Published by Ian Allan Ltd, 1985 ISBN: 0 7110 1465 5
* Development and operational history of the Hawk.

‘Hawk – British Aerospace’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Roy Braybrook
Published by Osprey Publishing Ltd, Oct 1984 ISBN: 0 85045 580 4
* Very good development history up to the Hawk 200.

‘Hawk T.1 – Aeroguide 1’
by Roger Chesnau & Ray Rimell
Published by Linewrights Ltd, 1983 ISBN: tba
* Modellers guide to the RAF Hawk.

‘BAe Hawk in Worldwide Service – On Target Profiles 3’
by Jon Freeman
Published by The Aviation Workshop Publications Ltd, 2004 ISBN: tba
* Collection of colour profile drawings of the various Hawk variants.

‘World Air Power Journal, Volume 22’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
Published by Aerospace Publishing Ltd, July 1995 ISBN: 1 87402 362 X
* Includes very detailed 66-page feature on the Hawk.


To be added.


The BAe Hawk
(Well written Hawk history)

(Brief details of the ASTRA Hawk used by ETPS)

(Mention of Hawk T.1 testing at Warton)

(2 pages of Hawk photos)


Flight Simulator Models:
To be added.

Scale Models:
To be added.

Scale Drawings:
Aviation News Vol.8 No.4, 20 July 1979


To be added.

Xian JH-7 ‘Flounder’

Aircraft Profile
Xian JH-7A 30698 of the PLAAF.
(photo, Mikhail Putnikov)


Although largely equipped with licensed and unlicensed copies of Russian aircraft designs, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) and Navy Air Force (PLANAF) do operate a growing number of indigenously designed aircraft types. For the Chinese Navy the most important of these indigenous designs is the Xian JH-7. A large twin-engined fighter-bomber, the JH-7 is designed for long-range anti-shipping missions and represents a significant upgrade in China’s naval air power compared to previous aircraft.

The JH-7 originated in a requirement issued in 1973 by the PLAAF for a new aircraft to replace the Harbin H-5 (Ilyushin Il-28 copy) – which was then the mainstay of all Chinese medium bomber units. Operational analysis showed that the new aircraft needed to possess long range and be able to fly at low altitudes at near sonic speeds in all weathers and at night, and would need a dedicated Weapons System Operator on-board to handle the final attack phase of the mission. Hence the requirement called for a fast two-seater fighter-bomber similar in concept to the F-111 or Su-24. The PLANAF also showed interest in applying the type to the anti-shipping role.

The task of fulfilling this ambitious objective was placed with the Xian Aircraft Factory, which was at the time busy with the H-6 (Tupolev Tu-16 copy), and therefore had some experience with bomber aircraft. The project was initially given the designation H-7 (where H for Hongzhaji = Bomber), but later in the programme this was amended to JH-7 (Jianjiji-Hongzhaji = Fighter-Bomber). To design the new aircraft from scratch, Xian went up a very steep learning curve, and inevitably encountered numerous problems along the way. One of the less obvious ones being the devastation caused to the Chinese aerospace industry by the Cultural Revolution, which frowned in technical skills such as engineering. However, the death of Chairman Mao in 1976 gradually saw a return to sanity.

Xian’s final design bore a broad resemblance to the SEPECAT Jaguar or JUROM IAR-93 Orao, although it is much larger than either, about the size of a F-4 Phantom. The high-wing configuration is ideal for its primary mission of low-level attack. The wing is swept and tapered with pronounced anhedral and features large trailing-edge flaps, but no leading edge devices. An aerodynamic fence is located at roughly 2/3 of span. The fuselage is relatively square-cornered, like a Tornado, and is waisted at the wing junction. The two crew sit in a tandem cockpit with individual canopies, ahead of simple fixed engine intakes. The rough-field undercarriage, with twin main wheels and trailing-link oleos, is clearly inspired by the units on the Jaguar. A swept vertical tail, and deep fixed ventral fin provide lateral stability, while the tailplane is all-moving.

The engine chosen was the Rolls-Royce Spey turbofan, successfully used in the West on the Buccaneer, F-4K/M Phantom and A-7 Corsair. In 1975 an agreement was signed with Rolls-Royce for the co-production of the Spey as the WS9. The Spey represented a new generation of engine technology compared to the Russian-derived powerplants then available in China. A trial production batch of the WS9 began in 1976. Production of the engine is reported to have continued, even though slippages in the JH-7 development programme meant that there weren’t any aircraft to take them yet. Rolls-Royce also provided 50 Spey Mk.202 engines as ‘patterns’.

The first JH-7 prototype (coded 081) was rolled out in August 1988 and made it’s first flight on 14 December 1988. This aircraft first went supersonic on 17 November 1989. It is reported that a total of five prototypes were built (coded 081 to 085), and that one aircraft (possibly 082) was lost in a fatal crash during flight testing in 1994, due to engine failure. Numerous problems with the Chinese-built engines seem to have resulted in the original British-built engines being substituted, after the aircraft was grounded several times. By this time, the protracted design phase and technical problems experienced during testing had caused the PLAAF to lose interest in the design, and in 1991 it placed an order for Su-27s instead.

The prototypes were followed by a pre-production development batch of 20 aircraft, which entered service with the PLANAF in 1994. These aircraft were used for air-surface missile firing trials, bombing accuracy exercises and other operational test flying. A production batch of about 35 aircraft was subsequently produced and these went on to equip the 16th Bomber Regiment of the PLANAF at Shanghai in the anti-shipping strike/attack role. In operational service the aircraft carries a typical weapon payload of two YJ-81K/C-801K anti-ship cruise missiles, similar in performance to the Exocet or Kormoran, plus two PL-5B air-to-air for self-defence. The Su-27 is not compatible with Chinese-designed missiles such as the C-801K and this was probably a key factor in keeping the programme alive.

The JH-7 was assigned the ASCC code-name ‘Flounder’ circa 1998 – displaying a previously unknown sense of humour, as in English Flounder is both the name of a fish (indicating a naval aircraft) and means ‘to move clumsily or act ineffectually’, offering a coded comment on the protracted development timescales of the type.

In the meantime, Xian was looking at the further development of the type. By 1998 a dedicated electronic warfare variant was reportedly under development, with a Radar Warning Receiver and underwing ECM jamming and ELINT pods, like the F/A-18G. If armed with the Russian KH-31P anti-radiation missile it could also attack enemy emitters. Another proposed variant was designated JH-7 II and featured more powerful engines such as the SNECMA M53-P2 or Lyulka-Saturn AL-31F (as used on the Su-27) in an attempt to overcome the previously mentioned engine problems and get more thrust. In the event, the idea of re-engining was abandoned in 2000 as too radical a change.

Two variants that did emerge were the FBC-1 ‘Flying Leopard’ and the JH-7A. The former was a proposed commercial export version of the JH-7, with customer specified avionics and weapons. It was suggested that these could include a new JL-10 radar, helmet mounted sighting system and a glass cockpit. Integration with the Russian R-73 and R-74 missiles was offered, together with external navigation and FLIR/laser targeting pods. The third prototype, coded 083, performed at AirShow China in November 1998 as a demonstrator for this version, although it is not thought that the proposed systems enhancements were actually fitted to this airframe.

The JH-7A, on the other hand, was far more successful. It began as a response to the many technical problems experienced during development and initial service trials, and features a more advanced avionics fit and expanded weapons capability, based on both Russian and Chinese technology. The improvements include a revised fly-by-wire flight control system, new multi-mode JL-10A PD fire control radar, new ‘glass’ digital cockpit with multi-functional displays, and 11 stores stations instead of seven to carry missiles, rockets and laser-guided bombs. The airframe was also cleaned up, with the introduction of a single-piece wrap-around cockpit windshield, deletion of the wing fences, replacement of the single ventral fin with a pair of fins and the incorporation of a substantial amount of composite materials to reduce weight. Chinese-built WS-9 engines are fitted in place of the Rolls-Royce originals used in the JH-7 – the XAE engineers having done a considerable amount of work to get the engines flight-worthy and reliable. Despite being relatively underpowered, these engines have logistical compatibility with the existing JH-7 fleet, and appear to work best at low altitude, where the JH-7 excels.

Design development was completed in May 2002 and two prototypes were built, with the first flying on 1 July 2002. The type entered PLANAF and PLAAF service in late 2004. In PLAAF service the aircraft can carry the Russian AS-17 air-to-surface missile and the Russian KAB-500 laser-guided bomb, as well as the Russian KH-31P anti-radiation missile.

While the JH-7 and JH-7A radars have a terrain following capability, the carriage of external Navigation/Targeting pods now allow the aircraft to flow as low as 60 m at 900 km/h in all weathers and at night. As well as an essential over-land capability, low level strike is a key element of anti-ship operations. Ship-borne radars can only detect low level aircraft out to about 40 km due to the curvature of the earth, hence the ability of the JH-7 to carry current and next-generation supersonic attack and stand-off cruise missiles is highly significant. For the PLAAF, traditionally weak in the interdictor strike role, the JH-7 represents a welcome boost to front-line capability, while the PLANAF, for a long time reliant of obsolescent types, now has a real long-range maritime strike weapon.

Although derided by many Western analysts as antiquated and not much better than a F-4 Phantom, the JH-7 programme continues to gather pace. As a strategic programme for the Chinese aircraft industry, it is clearly necessary to gain the skills and technology involved in developing world-class strike aircraft, which can’t be gained by just building foreign designs. As China gradually moves towards becoming a the worlds’ number one super-power in the 21st century, it is becoming increasingly aware of the need to protect the vital shipping lanes that carry it’s goods to the rest of the world. The introduction of improved avionics and new weapons has further enhanced the capability of the JH-7 and it now presents a formidable threat to enemy forces on land and at sea.

‘FBC-1’ demonstrator coded 083 in 1998
(photo, via Internet)
JH-7 development batch aircraft 81765
(photo, via Internet)


Requirement Specification: Not known
Manufacturers Designation: Not known

Development History:
JH-7 prototypes Initial version with limited avionics fit.
JH-7 pre-production Development version with full interim avionics fit.
JH-7 Planned interdictor strike version for PLAAF – abandoned due to prolonged programme delays.
JH-7 Flounder-A Initial production anti-shipping version for PLANAF with 3-piece windscreen, single deep ventral fin, wing fences at two-thirds span, 5 weapons hardpoints. Type 232H ‘Eagle-Eye’ radar.
JH-7A Development of JH-7 with revised avionics fit, glass cockpit, digital fly-by-wire controls, single-piece windscreen, twin ventral fins and deletion of wing fences. 2 additional wing hardpoints and expanded range of compatible weapons. JL-10A radar.
JH-7B Planned further development of JH-7A.
JH-7 Projected EW/ECR version of JH-7 with radar warning receiver, jamming and ELINT pods.
JH-7 II Projected re-engined version of JH-7 with more powerful M53 or AL-31F engines.
JH-7 ? Projected version with side-by-side seating – similiar in appearance to the Su-24 first prototype.
FBC-1 Flying Leopard Export version of JH-7 with ‘glass’ cockpit, helmet mounted sight, external NAV/Targeting pods, customer defined radar and wider range of compatible weapons. Announced 1998.
FBC-1M Flying Leopard II Upgraded export version of JH-7A with wider range of compatible weapons and up to 11 hardpoints for 9,000 kg (19,842 lb) of external stores. Announced Sept 2003.
Underside view of JH-7 81864
(photo, via Internet)
JH-7 81769 in clean configuration at altitude
(photo, via Internet)


Key Dates:
1973    PLAAF requirement for new fighter-bomber
1975    JH-7 project started
1977    Government approval secured
August 1988    First prototype completed at Xi’an
14 December 1988    First flight of first prototype
17 November 1989    First supersonic flight
1992    Original intended entry into service date
4 April 1994    Fatal crash of 2nd JH-7 prototype?
late 1996    JH-7 development completed
1997    First flight of first development batch aircraft
1998    Entry into service with PLANAF for evaluation
1998    Development of JH-7A version approved
November 1998    First public appearance, at Airshow China as “FBC-1”
2001    First flight of first JH-7 series production aircraft
2001    Development of JH-7A version completed
2002?    JH-7 enters regular front-line service
1 July 2002    First flight of JH-7A prototype
late 2004    JH-7A enters front-line service with PLAAF
Line-up of 28th Air Division JH-7As,
including 30597. (photo, Mikhail Putnikov)
PLAAF JH-7A 30594 on the flight-line.
(photo, Mikhail Putnikov)


Military Operators

China PLAAF JH-7A with 28th Air Division
China PLANAF JH-7 with 16th & 17th Bomber Regiments, JH-7A with 27th Bomber Regiment

Government Agencies

China CFTE* JH-7, “FBC-1”, JH-7A

Civilian Operators


* China Flight Test Establishment.

Good view of JH-7A 21092 with clean wing and
one-piece windscreen. (photo, via Internet)
Rear view of JH-7A during flight-line servicing.
(photo, Mikhail Putnikov)


Xian JH-7
Crew: One pilot, one weapons-system operator
Dimensions: Length 73 ft 3 in (22.325 m) including probe, 68 ft 11.75 in (21.025 m) excluding probe; Height 21 ft 6.75 in (6.575 m); Wing Span 41 ft 8.25 in (12.705 m); Wing Area 563.0 sq ft (52.30 sq m)
Engines: Two Xi’an WS9 Qinling turbofans (Rolls Royce RB.168 Spey Mk.202) each rated at 12,550 lb st (55.83 kN) dry and 20,515 lb st (91.26 kN) with afterburning
Weights: Empty Equipped 48,500 lb (22,000 kg); Maximum Take-off 62,776 lb (28,475 kg)
Armament: One 23 mm Type 23-III (GS-23L) twin-barrelled cannon with 200 rounds in starboard side of lower fuselage; 4 under-wing hard points and one centreline hard point plus wingtip missile launch rails for up to 14,332 lb (6,500 kg) of bombs, missiles and fuel tanks. Typically 2 C-701 or C-801K anti-ship missiles on inner pylons and 800 l or 1400 l drop tanks on outer pylons and centreline, plus 2 PL-5B or PL-7 air-to-air missiles at wingtips.
Performance: Maximum level speed Mach 1.7 (952 kts, 808 mph, 1122 kph) at 36,080 ft (11,000 m); Cruising speed: Mach 0.85 (487 kts, 561 mph, 903 kph); Service ceiling 51,180 ft (15,600 m); Combat radius 891 nm (1,025 miles, 1,650 km); Ferry range 1,970 nm (2,268 miles, 3,650 km) with drop tanks and no weapons
Xian JH-7A
As above except:
Weights: Empty Equipped 47,400 lb (21,500 kg); Maximum Take-off 66,138 lb (30,000 kg)
Armament: One 23 mm Type 23-III (GS-23L) twin-barrelled cannon with 200 rounds in starboard side of lower fuselage; 6 under-wing hard points, one centreline hard point, one on lower side of each engine intake trunk (for nav/targeting pods) plus wingtip missile launch rails for up to 17,640 lb (8,000 kg) of bombs, missiles and fuel tanks. Typical load for maritime attack 2 C-701 or C-801K anti-ship missiles on inner pylons, 2 PL-5 or PL-8 air-to-air missiles on mid pylons and 800 l or 1400 l drop tanks on outer pylons and centreline, plus 2 PL-5C or PL-8 air-to-air missiles at wingtips. Typical load for interdiction 4 x LT-2 500 kg laser-guided bombs, or 8 x 250 kg gravity bombs, plus centreline drop tank and 2 PL-5C missiles at wingtips.
Performance: Maximum level speed Mach 1.75 (980 kts, 832 mph, 1155 kph) at 36,080 ft (11,000 m); Cruising speed: Mach 0.85 (487 kts, 561 mph, 903 kph); Service ceiling 51,180 ft (15,600 m); Combat radius 950 nm (1,093 miles, 1,759 km); Ferry range 1,997 nm (2,299 miles, 3,700 km) with drop tanks and no weapons
JH-7A 30691 in landing configuration – note
the large flaps. (photo,
JH-7A 30591 taxying out for take-off.


Design Centre

Head of Design Team: Chen Yijian
Design Office: Xian Aircraft Design and Research Institute, P. O. Box 72, Yanliang District, Xi’an, Shanxi 710089, China


Xian Aircraft Industry Corporation (XIAC)
(PO Box 140-84, Xi’an 710089, People’s Republic of China)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
JH-7 prototypes   5 Xi’an 1985-1989
JH-7 pre-production   20 Xi’an 1997-2001
JH-7 production   35-40 Xi’an 2001-2003
JH-7A prototypes   2 (4?) Xi’an 2001-2002
JH-7A production   34+ Xi’an 2003-2005+
Total:   96-103+    

Total Produced: 96+ a/c (all versions)

Production List

List of known aircraft

More Information


‘World Aircraft & Systems Directory – Third Edition’
by Micheal J H Taylor
Published by Reed Business Information, 2002 ISBN: 0 617 01289 X
* Includes entry for JH-7.

‘World Air Power Journal, Volume 37’
Published by Aerospace Publishing Ltd, May 1999 ISBN: 1 86184 027 6
* Includes 2.5 page ‘briefing’ on the JH-7.


Air Forces Monthly December 2000


**** Xian JH-7A Walkaround ****

wikipedia: Xian JH-7 JH-7 Fighter-Bomber

SinoDefence Forum JH-7/JH-7A Thread

cnair: Attack Aircraft

Zhuhai Air Show, China 1998


Flight Simulator Models:
To be added.

Scale Models:
To be added.

Scale Drawings:
To be added.


To be added.

Lockheed F-104 Starfighter

Aircraft Profile
F-104A 56-0761 with tip tanks and pylon fuel
tanks. (photo, U.S. Air Force)


Boeing’s B-52 Stratofortress heavy bomber is widely recognized as the longest-serving combat aircraft in the active inventory today. The original B-52 concept dated back to the late 1940s and early 50s. Nearly half a century after the first prototype took to the air the B-52, or ‘Buff’ as their pilots commonly refer to them, is still the backbone of the United States Air force’s bomber fleet. Although its position is undeniable, there’s another early 1950s designed aircraft that nearly went as far as the vaunted Buff. It was the incredible Lockheed F-104 Starfighter. The origins of the Starfighter program date back to the early days of the Korean War, when US pilots encountered for the first time the agile Soviet-produced MiG-15. The new Soviet fighter was more agile and maneuverable than the US first-generation of jet fighters, the Lockheed F-80 Shooting Star and the Republic F-84 Thunderjet. At every instance, the MiG out-turned and out-maneuvered the Americans planes. It was a testament to the sheer skills and tactics of the American pilots that they were able to achieve and later, maintain, air superiority over the Korean skies. As time went by, there was a sentiment among high ranking officials that a new aircraft was needed, not only to oppose and defeat the current Soviet fighters, but to tackle anything the Soviet Union might be able to put into the air over the next two decades. A completely new and radical airplane was needed, and Lockheed, again, was ready to meet this new challenge.

Lockheed chief designer Clarence “Kelly” L. Johnson and his team of engineers traveled to the Korean Peninsula in the summer of 1951 to have an up-close encounter with the US pilots engaging this new and mysterious Soviet aircraft. They went on a fact-finding mission, and found that the need for a new air superiority fighter was greater than previously expressed. After the trip, Kelly Johnson and his team came up with a long list of systems and specification requirements for their new fighter design, a list not yet requested by the Air Force brass in the Pentagon. The new fighter would need to have advantages over anything flying or planned to fly in the next twenty years – and that meant higher speed and operational altitude. From this basic concept cornerstone, the team began the research phase of the still-not-government-funded program. After extensive research into aerodynamics and avionics systems, Lockheed presented its concept for an advanced fighter to the Pentagon in December 1952, less than a year after Kelly Johnson’s fact-finding expedition to Korea. After a relatively short analysis period, the US government gave Lockheed the project go-ahead in January 1953. With the overall concept in hand, the team shifted its attention to gathering data for the project development. Here is where the team struck gold. Over at Lockheed’s secret Skunk Works Division, engineers had produced an amazing looking aircraft: the X-7 unmanned research plane. As is the case with many experimental planes, the X-7 was designed to test airframe and wing performance at extremely high speeds and altitudes. The X-7 was able to fly at speeds between Mach 1.7 and 3.0 and was capable of reaching altitudes above 80,000 ft; all requirements needed within the new fighter performance envelope. One particular aspect that intrigued Johnson was the X-7’s short and ultra-slim wing structure. The thin wings were utilized on the X-7 project because it was determined by engineers that a small wing profile would give the aircraft an improved aerodynamic characteristic while at supersonic speeds. The X-7’s missile-type fuselage, used to improve lift-to-drag ratio at these altitudes, was also extensively evaluated by Johnson’s design team. After less than a year of research, design and construction, Lockheed unveiled its new aircraft platform to the Air Force top generals: the XF-104, the F-104 first prototype. The F-104 was truly a revolutionary aircraft. It represented Lockheed’s vision of the role of the air superiority fighter in the mid-twentieth century. It also represented a triumph of aviation design and development.

The newly built F-104 had a fuselage structure nearly two-and-a-half times longer than its wingspan. The complete wing carry-through structure was housed in the centre fuselage and centered on the horizontal reference plane. The nose cone was somewhat inclined and the aft part of the fuselage was elevated slightly from the horizontal reference plane. During flight operations, the F-104 assumed a nose-up profile which corresponded to the aircraft’s minimum drag angle of attack. In order to accommodate this flight profile, the engine air inlets, the engine thrust line, and the cockpit, were canted slightly with respect to the longitudinal center of the airframe. The short, straight, wing appeared to possess better aerodynamic characteristics in supersonic flight than conventional, swept wing designs. The shortness of the wing also enabled the aircraft to reduce drag. In order to achieve a better low speed performance for the wing, Lockheed engineers installed wing-leading edge as well as trailing-edge flaps. The function of these flaps was to convert the thin airfoil into a highly cambered one for better take-off and landing operations. A newly designed Boundary Layer Control System (BLCS) was installed of the F-104. The BLCS allowed the aircraft’s wings to delay flow separation at full flap setting and helped to increase the aircraft’s lift capacity, using high pressure bleed air blown over the trailing edge of the wing. The F-104 was one of the few aircraft in aviation history with more engine thrust than aerodynamic drag. This margin of thrust gave the F-104 it’s high speed capability and altitude performance. It also invested the aircraft with an uncanny ability to ascend at a steeper angle and with a higher climb rate than anything else in the skies. The climb rate was one of Johnson’s primary concerns in developing the Starfighter. He and his team designed the F-104 with the ability to intercept targets at an impressive climb rate of 60,000 ft per minute, with a fully loaded aircraft. This rate could be achieved with speeds in excess of Mach 1.7, the original profile requirement, without the aircraft losing overall forward speed. Overall speed and climb rate for the F-104 could only be achieved with the utilization of a massive power plant. The F-104 was fitted with a General Electric J79 engine capable of generating 15,800 pounds of thrust at sea level. It was a massive structure that weighed 3,500lb and was 17′-3″ in length. The J79’s twelve-to-one compression ratio assured the aircraft high supersonic thrust with the advantage of relative fuel economy while in subsonic cruise mode. The Starfighter engine air intakes were a fixed geometry inlet scoop with a conical ramp mechanism designed to provide a ram effect at speeds above Mach 1.5. Five bladder-type fuel cells were installed around the fuselage to provide fuel storage capacity. These cells gave the F-104 a capacity to store 896 gallons of aviation fuel. Additional wing-tip tanks, as well as two wing pylons and three optional tanks added to the airframe could give the F-104 an additional 855 gal of fuel for extended missions. An optional tank was also developed for use in the M61 gun position in the event of an extended flight operation.

The F-104 was fitted with one of the most advanced flight control systems ever developed, at that time. The aircraft’s speed brakes and flying surfaces control systems were hydraulically enhanced. An electrical system operated the wing flaps and trim mechanism. The Starfighter’s primary control systems were a rudder, one-piece horizontal stabilizer, and ailerons; all hydraulically powered. Secondary controls consisted of leading and trailing wing flaps and speed brakes. These control systems were augmented by a stability system that enhanced flight stability at any altitude. The Starfighter was fitted with a retractable, tricycle landing gear housed in the centre fuselage. All three components of the gear, the wheels, tires, and retraction system; were powered by hydraulic oil. In the event of a hydraulic failure, the gear could be operated manually to either of it’s two (landing or retracted) positions. To shorten the aircraft’s landing run, the F-104 was fitted with a landing drag chute that could cut landing distances by about 25%. The chute structure was 18 sq ft in area and it was housed at the end of the fuselage. An emergency arrestor hook, similar to those used by navy pilots on carrier operations, was also provided for emergency landings. At the time of its conception, the Starfighter was fitted with the most advanced avionics package in the world. The main instrument panel housed all the flight instruments on the upper section. Engine operation controls were located on the upper right hand side. Radar display and weapons controls were found on the lower instrument panel, directly in front of the pilot. One master alarm light, located in the center of the instrument display, was augmented by a strip panel display, each position indicating a different aircraft function – this replaced the multiple alarms system utilized on other aircraft. One of the most advanced features integrated on the F-104 was the Position and Homing Indicator or PHI. The PHI system plotted the aircraft’s position with reference to the terrain below, freeing the pilot from the painstaking task of manual navigation plotting.

Over it’s life, the Starfighter was fitted with a vast array of offensive and defensive weapon systems. A General Electric, rapid fire M61 20mm Vulcan cannon, commonly known as a ‘Gatling’ gun, was installed on the F-104 for air defense purposes. The Vulcan weighted 300 lb and was 72″ in length. At the time, this Vulcan gun was the most advanced gun system in the world. It possessed six 20mm barrels and could fire at a maximum rate of 6,000 rounds per minute or 100 rounds per second. The gun design was so successful that it can still be found on the world’s most advanced fighter flying today: the F-22 Raptor. A center-line bomb rack could be fitted, for up to 2,000lb of ordnance. Wing pylon racks could support an additional 1,000lb of weapons. Later versions of the F-104 were fitted with the AIM-9 Sidewinder missile, located on the wingtips. Another innovative feature of the Starfighter was it’s integrated fire control system. The F-104 radar system could supply guidance information to the onboard fire control system computer. Air-to-air and air-to-ground targets could be plotted over the horizon. The system also provided the pilot with cockpit displays portraying ground mapping information and low altitude navigation aids.

The first XF-104 test flight occurred on the Edwards Air Force Base facility on March 4th, 1954 with Lockheed’s chief test pilot, Antony “Tony” LeVier, at the controls. Testing of the aircraft by both the Air Force and Lockheed soon accelerated to a high rate. The first operational F-104A was handed over to the US Air Force on the morning of February 20th, 1958. Production of this amazing aircraft ran until mid 1979 and a grand total of 2,578 units were built in seven countries under license from Lockheed, which was at the time, the largest international cooperation venture in the history of the world. An amazing sixteen Starfighter major variants were developed by Lockheed.

Fourteen countries around the world fielded the Starfighter at one time or another. Belgium, Canada, Denmark, West Germany, Greece, Japan, Italy, Jordan, Norway, The Netherlands, Spain, Pakistan, Turkey, and Taiwan all operated the F-104. The United States Air Force only purchased two hundred and ninety six of the type. The last in-service examples were retired from the Italian Air Force in October 2004 – more than 50 years after the prototype’s first flight. Today, only three F-104s remain flying in the United States. A truly incredible run for an amazing aircraft designed and built in the 1950s.


Requirement Specification: n/a
Manufacturers Designation: L-246 or Model 83, Model 183, 283, 383, 483, 583, 683, 783

Development History:
XF-104 Two prototypes. Wright XJ65 engine of 10,200lb thrust. Able to reach Mach 1.79. Short fuselage, plain engine intakes.
YF-104A Service test version. Longer fuselage, engine inlet shock cones added, YJ79 engine.
F-104A First production model. J79-3A engine, M61-A1 20mm cannon. Retrofitted with ventral fin
QF-104A Twenty four modified YF-104A/F-104As used as target drones 1959 – 1960.
NF-104A Rocket-boosted conversion of three F-104As, used for NASA astronaut training.
RF-104A Projected unarmed photo-recce version of F-104A. Not built.
F-104B Tandem two-seat trainer version of F-104A. Larger fin.
F-104C All-weather fighter-bomber for Tactical Air Command. Option for refuelling probe on left side of the fuselage, extra under-wing and centreline pylons, blown flaps, J79-7 engine.
F-104D Tandem two-seater trainer version of F-104C.
F-104DJ Version of F-104D for Japan. J79-IHI-11A engine.
F-104F Version of F-104D for West Germany. F-104D structure, F-104G avionics, C-2 ejection seats.
F-104G Upgraded F-104C all-weather fighter bomber aircraft with a strengthened fuselage, NASARR (North American Search and Ranging Radar) fire control system, inertial navigation, 5 stores pylons, J79-11A engine. Most retrofitted with Martin Baker ejection seats.
TF-104G Tandem two-seat trainer version of F-104G. No gun or centreline pylon.
RF-104G Tactical reconnaissance version of F-104G. KS67-A camera system in the nose.
RTF-104G Projected two-seat multi-sensor recce version of F-104G. Some for EW missions. Not built.
F-104H Projected export version of F-104G with NASARR deleted and simplified equipment. Not built.
TF-104H Projected tandem two-seat trainer version of F-104H. Not built.
CF-104 Canadian version of F-104G for attack and recce roles.
CF-104D Tandem two-seat trainer version of CF-104.
F-104J All-weather interceptor version of F-104G for Japan. J79-IHI-11A engine.
QF-104J Target drone conversion of F-104J.
F-104N Three F-104G operated by NASA as supersonic chase aircraft.
F-104S Upgraded F-104G for the Italian Air Force. All-weather interceptor adapted for Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missiles. R-21G/H radar, 2 extra hardpoints under engine intakes, 2 additional ventral fins, gun deleted. J79-19 engine.
F-104S ASA Conversion of F-104S with new avionics and latest generation missiles. Fiat R21G/M1 radar, new IFF, improved weapons computer.
F-104S ASA/M Further upgrade of F-104S ASA and TF-104G with refurbished airframe, improved cockpit displays and updated navigation avionics.
F-104G/CCV One F-104G rebuild by MBB to test Control Configured Vehicle technology, with twin canards added.
CF-111 Initial CAF designation for CF-104.
CF-113 Initial CAF designation for CF-104D.
CL-1200 Lancer Projected advanced development of F-104, using F-104 fuselage but with new larger shoulder-mounted wing. Not built.
X-27 Designation of lightweight fighter version of CL-1200. Not built.
XF-104 53-7786, note lack of inlet shock
cones. (photo, U.S. Air Force)
83rd FIS F-104A 56-0791 in Taiwan in 1958.
(photo, U.S. Air Force)


Key Dates:
March 1952    Design studies for new fighter launched.
November 1952    Unsolicited proposal for L-246 design submitted to USAF.
12 March 1953    Order for 2 XF-104 prototypes placed with Lockheed.
28 Feb 1954    First prototype (53-37786) makes initial ‘hop’.
4 March 1954    Maiden flight of first prototype.
October 1953    Order for pre-series batch of YF-104As placed.
17 Feb 1956    First flight of first YF-104A (56-730).
27 April 1956    A YF-104A reaches Mach 2 for the first time.
14 October 1956    First production order for F-104A placed.
16 Jan 1957    First flight of first F-104B.
20 Feb 1958    F-104A enters USAF service.
7 May 1958    F-104A claims world altitude record.
24 July 1958    First flight of first F-104C.
16 October 1958    First F-104C delivery to USAF.
October 1958    West Germany selects F-104G as next generation multi-role fighter.
2 July 1959    Canada orders CF-104.
1960    F-104A withdrawn from USAF Air Defense Command service.
1960    Taiwan becomes first export customer for F-104A/B.
5 October 1960    F-104G first flight.
18 March 1961    Production CF-104 first flight.
6 September 1965    First air-to-air victory by Pakistani F-104A.
January 1966    Italy orders F-104S to replace F-104G
30 December 1968    First flight of first F-104S.
July 1975    F-104B/C retired from Air National Guard service.
1981    F-104S ASA upgrade launched
16 October 1987    West German Air Force retires F-104G from frontline service
27 October 2004    F-104S ASA/M retired from Italian service.
Front view of F-104A 56-0758.
(photo, U.S. Air Force)
The first F-104B, serial 56-3719.
(photo, U.S. Air Force)


Military Operators

Belgium – Air Force (4 Sqns with F-104G/TF-104G)
Canada – Air Force (12 Sqns with CF-104/CF-104D)
Denmark – Air Force (2 Sqns. with F-104G/TF-104G, CF-104/CF-104D)
Germany – Air Force (7 Wings with F-104F, F-104G/RF-104G/TF-104G)
Germany – Navy (2 Wings with F-104G/TF-104G)
Greece – Air Force (2 Sqns with F-104G/TF-104G)
Italy – Air Force (7 Gruppi with F-104G/RF-104G/TF-104G, F-104S)
Japan – Air Force (7 Sqns. with F-104J/F-104DJ)
Jordan – Air Force (1 Sqn with F-104A/F-104B)
Netherlands – Air Force (5 Sqns with F-104G/RF-104G/TF-104G)
Norway – Air Force (2 Sqns with F-104G/RF-104G/TF-104G, CF-104/CF-104D)
Pakistan – Air Force (1 Sqn with F-104A/F-104B)
Spain – Air Force (3 Sqns with F-104G/TF-104G)
Taiwan – Air Force (4 Sqns with F-104A/B, F-104G/RF-104G/TF-104G)
Turkey – Air Force (4 Sqns with F-104G/TF-104G, F-104S)
USA – Air Force (F-104A/B, F-104C/D)

Government Agencies

NASA F-104A/B, NF-104A

Civilian Operators

‘Starfighters’ demo team CF-104/CF-104D
F-104C 56-0914 at the National Museum of
the USAF. (photo, U.S. Air Force)
Lockheed-built F-104G 63-13240 from
Luke AFB. (photo, U.S. Air Force)


Lockheed F-104A Starfighter
Type: Fighter-bomber
Crew: One
Dimensions: Length 54 ft 8 in (16.66 m); Height 13 ft 5 in (4.08 m); Wing Span 21 ft 9 in (6.62 m) without wingtip AAMs; Wing Area 196.1 sq ft (18.21 sq m)
Engines: One General Electric J79-GE-3A turbojet rated at 9,600 lb st (4354 kg) dry and 14,800 lb st (6713 kg) with afterburning
Weights: Empty Equipped 13,384 lb (6,071 kg); Typical Combat Take-off 17,988 lb (8,159 kg); Maximum Take-off 25,840 lb (11,721 kg)
Armament: 20-mm M61A1 Vulcan cannon in port forward fuselage with ? rounds, wingtip launch rails for AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles.
Performance: Maximum level speed ‘clean’ 1,037 mph (1,669 kph) at 50,000 ft (15240 m); Cruising speed 519 mph (835 kph); Initial rate of climb 60,395 ft/min (18,408 m/min); Service ceiling 64,795 ft (19,750 m); Normal range 730 mls (1,175 km), Maximum range 1,400 mls (2253 km) with drop tanks.
Lockheed F-104G Starfighter
Type: All-weather multi-role fighter-bomber
Crew: One
Dimensions: Length 54 ft 9 in (16.69 m); Height 13 ft 6 in (4.15 m); Wing Span 21 ft 11 in (6.68 m) without wingtip AAMs; Wing Area 196.1 sq ft (18.21 sq m)
Engines: One General Electric J79-GE-11A turbojet rated at 10,000 lb st (4536 kg) dry and 15,600 lb st (7076 kg) with afterburning
Weights: Empty Equipped 13,966 lb (6,348 kg); Typical Combat Take-off 20,640 lb (9,362 kg); Maximum Take-off 29,038 lb (13,172 kg)
Armament: 20-mm M61A1 Vulcan cannon in port forward fuselage with ? rounds, wingtip launch rails for AIM-9 Sidewinder or similar missiles, four underwing hardpoints and one under-fuselage centre-line pylon for a maximum of 4,000 lb (1814 kg) of stores.
Performance: Maximum level speed ‘clean’ 1,328 mph (2,137 kph) at 35,000 ft (10668 m); Cruising speed 510 mph (821 kph); Initial rate of climb 48,000 ft/min (14,630 m/min); Service ceiling 50,000 ft (15,240 m); Normal range 1080 mls (1,738 km), Maximum range 1,630 mls (2623 km) with drop tanks.

Model Comparison:

Specs F-104A F-104B F-104C F-104G F-104S
Length 54′-8″ 54′-8″ 54′-8″ 54′-8″ 54′-9″
Height 13′-5″ 13′-5″ 13′-5″ 13′-5″ 13′-6″
Wingspan 21′-9″ 21′-9″ 21′-9″ 21′-9″ 21′-11″
Max. Weight 25,840 lb 24,912 27,853 29,038 31,000
Cruise Speed 519 mph 516 510 510 610
Maximum Speed 1,037 mph 1,145 1,150 1,146 1,450
Operational Ceiling 64,795′ 64,795′ 58,000′ 50,000′ 58,000′
Climb Rate (per min) 60,395′ 64,500′ 54,000′ 48,000′ 55,000′
Max Range 1,400 miles 1,225 1,500 1,630 1,815
WGAF F-104G 20+01 seen at Greenham
Common in June 1981. (photo, Anthony Noble)
Italian F-104G MM6542/3-40 seen at Honington
in June 1992. (photo, Anthony Noble)


Design Centre

Head of Design Team: Clarence ‘Kelly’ Johnson
Design Office: Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, Burbank, CA, USA


Production summary:

Model Lockheed Co-Prod’n Canadair Fiat Fokker MBB Mess. Mits. SABCA Total
XF-104 2 2
YF-104 17 17
F-104A 153 153
F-104B 26 26
F-104C 77 77
F-104D 21 21
F-104DJ 20 20
CF-104 200 200
CF-104D 38 38
F-104F 30 30
F-104G 139 140 164 231 50 210 188 1122
RF-104G 40 12 35 119 194
TF-104G 220 48 268
F-104J 3 207 210
F-104N 3 3
F-104S (2) 245 245
Total: 741 48 340 444 350 50 210 207 188 2578

Production Details by Factory

Total Produced: 2578 a/c

Production List

To be added.

312 Sqn KLu F-104G D-8266 seen in November
1982. (photo, E. Groenendijk)
F-104S ASA-M MM6767/9-37 seen in December
2003. (photo, David Cenciotti)

More Information


‘Lockheed F-104 Starfighter (Crowood Aviation Series)’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Martin W Bowman with Matthias Vogelsang
Published by Crowood Press, Dec 2000 ISBN: 1 86126 314 7
* Full design, development and service history.

‘F-104 Starfighter in Action’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Philip Friddell
Published by Squadron/Signal Publications, Aug 1993 ISBN: 0 89747 299 3
* Good pictorial history.

‘German Starfighters: The F-104 in German Air Force and Naval Air Service’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Klaus Kropf
Published by Midland Publishing, May 2002 ISBN: 1 85780 124 5
* Detailed history of the F-104 in German service.

‘Lockheed F-104 Starfighter (Warbird Tech Vol.38)’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Jim Upton
Published by Speciality Press, June 2006 ISBN: 1 58007 069 8
* Well illustrated design and development history.

‘Lockheed F-104 Starfighter (On Target Profiles 1)’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Jon Freeman
Published by The Aviation Workshop, April 2003 ISBN: 1 90464 300 0
* Well illustrated coverage of F-104 colours and markings.

‘Wings of Fame, Volume 2’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
Published by Aerospace Publishing Ltd, Mar 1996 ISBN: 1 874023 69 7
* Includes ‘Focus Aircraft’ 62-page feature on the F-104.

‘Lockheed NF-104A Aerospace Trainer (Air Force Legends No.204)’ [Order this book from Amazon USA]
by Scott Libis
Published by Steve Ginter, 1999 ISBN: 0942612973
* Fully illustrated history of the rocket-assisted NF-104A.

‘F-104 Starfighter (Photo Gallery & Profiles No.1)’ [Order this book from the Publisher]
by Alexandros Anestis and George Papadimitriou
Published by Periscopio Publications, 2006 ISBN: 0 9608345 54 5
* Close-up look for the scale modeller.


To be added.

(20 pages of good quality F-104 photos)

Cybermodeler Online: F-104 Starfighter
(Photo gallery, walkaround, US markings diagrams etc)

Lockheed F-104 Starfighter
(Very detailed profile covering all variants and operators – no photos or drawings)

The Lockheed F-104 Starfighter
(Good profile of development, variants, service use and derivatives)

F-104 Starfighter il ‘Cacciatore di Stelle’
(Photos and details of Italian F-104 use)

(Home page for Yahoo Groups F-104 Starfighter discussion group)

Warbirds of India – F-104 Starfighter
(Pakistani F-104s and details of the surviving aircraft)

Lockheed/Canadair F-104A Starfighter
(Canadian CF-104 use and Canadian Aviation Museum exhibit history – 13 page pdf)

Wings Palette: Lockheed F-104 Starfighter
(120+ F-104 colour profile drawings)

International F-104 Society
(Lots of F-104 info: news, versions, operators, database, forum, photos, books etc)

Starfighters F-104 Demo Team
(US-based airshow demonstration team flying three CF-104s)

Harry’s Lockheed F-104 Starfighter Site
(Lots of F-104 info and photos)
(F-104 in Norwegian service)

916 Starfighter
(Comprehensive data and photos on the F-104 in German service)

First Dutch Lockheed F-104 Starfighter Website
(Photos, patches, articles, links etc)

Lockheed F-104 Starfighter Walkaround
(Close-up photos of F-104G/D/TF-104G/F-104S variants)

F-104 Starfighter
(Global Security detailed profile of the F-104)

Lockheed F-104 Starfighter
(Listing of F-104s held in US aviation museums)

F-104 Starfighter
(NASA Dryden photos of F-104s)

319th Fighter Interceptor Squadron
(USAF F-104 unit in 1960s – photos etc)

wikipedia: F-104 Starfighter
(Well-written profile)

wikipedia: Canadair CF-104
(Short profile)

wikipedia: Aeritalia F-104S
(Good profile of Italian-built versions)

wikipedia: Lockheed X-7
(short X-7 profile)

wikipedia: Lockheed CL-1200
(CL-1200 Lancer profile)

National Museum of the USAF
(F-104 photos)


Flight Simulator Models:
To be added.

Scale Models:
To be added.

Scale Drawings:
To be added.


To be added.

Supermarine Spitfire Mks.I-III

Aircraft Profile
Spitfire IIA P7350 of the Battle of Britain
Memorial Flight, wearing codes PR-D


Enshrined in the popular imagination as the fighter that saved a nation during the Battle of Britain, the origins of the Supermarine Spitfire lie with a fighter which was much less successful.

In 1930, the Air Ministry began formulating the requirements for an advanced high-performance fighter to replace the Bristol Bulldog in RAF service. The requirements were spelt out in specification F.7/30, which was issued in Autumn 1931 to a number of aircraft manufacturers. To meet the specification, R. J. Mitchell, the chief designer of Supermarine Aviation, produced the Type 224. Supermarine specialised in seaplanes and flying boats, but was keen to broaden its product range by building a fighter. The Type 224 was a large angular looking monoplane design, with a cranked (inverted gull) wing, fixed undercarriage and open cockpit. It bore no resemblance to the famous family of Schneider Trophy racing seaplanes which had brought Supermarine such prestige in the years 1925-1931. The Air Ministry authorised the construction of one prototype Type 224, with the serial K2890, for evaluation. This aircraft first flew in February 1934 and proved to have a distinctly average performance. The Air Ministry production contract eventually went to the Gloster Gladiator.

The Type 224 was Mitchell’s first attempt at an all-metal unbraced cantilever monoplane, and he was unhappy with some of the compromises involved in the design. Accordingly, in July 1934 he set about designing a much improved version. The new fighter was given the designation Type 300 and was much better streamlined than the Type 224, with a shorter wing, retractable undercarriage and an enclosed cockpit. Mitchell continued to evolve the design, striving for the maximum performance he could get from the engine and airframe combination. A key design feature introduced in late 1934 was a broad elliptical wing, with curved leading and trailing edges meeting at the wingtips. Combined with an unusually thin section, the new wing shape helped the fighter achieve maximum theoretical aerodynamic efficiency with very little induced drag. Some accounts state that the wing shape came about mainly from the need to accommodate eight machine guns along the wingspan outboard of the propeller arc, but the wing shape was designed for four machine guns, long before the requirement was increased to eight.

In November 1934 the design was further revised to accommodate the promising new Rolls-Royce PV.XII (PV-12) engine, which later became the Merlin. The estimated performance of the new design was such that Supermarine authorised detailed design of a prototype to start as a private venture. Within a month of receiving initial data, the Air Ministry produced specification F.37/34 to cover the purchase of a prototype Type 300 fighter for evaluation. The Spitfire was thus a private venture for only a month. In April 1935 the Air Ministry issued revised requirements calling for increased fighter armament, and so the Type 300 wing was modified to accept eight machine guns.

Assembly of the hand-build first prototype, serial K5054, took place at Eastleigh, near Southampton. The Type 300 prototype flew for the first time on 5 March 1936. Test pilot ‘Mutt’ Summers commented ‘I don’t want anything touched’ – meaning the machine was a good basis for testing incremental improvements, not that it was already perfect. Flight testing revealed a number of problems with the control surfaces and with wing flutter at high speed. In May 1936, the Air Ministry agreed to the name ‘Spitfire’ for the Type 300. The name had already been applied to the mediocre Type 224 fighter, but this time it seemed more appropriate. In late May 1936 the Spitfire prototype was ferried to Martlesham Heath for official trials. On 3 June 1936, the Air Ministry placed an order with Supermarine for 310 Spitfire Mk Is, soon followed by additional large orders as the flight trials fulfilled expectations.

Putting the Spitfire into mass production proved to be much harder than Supermarine had anticipated. Supermarine had survived the lean years of the Great Depression producing small batches of virtually hand-built aircraft. Building hundreds of identical fighters required considerable re-organisation of the production process, which consumed a great deal of time, much to the dismay of the Air Ministry, who were pressing for early deliveries of the new fighter. To add to the difficulties, R. J. Mitchell succumed to terminal cancer and died on 11 June 1937. Responsibility for the Spitfire now fell to Joseph Smith, who in subsequent years skillfully managed the successful evolution of the Spitfire through 40 different variants, while retaining its essential fighting qualities.

Due to the production delays, the first RAF unit, 19 Squadron at Duxford, didn’t start receiving Spitfire Mk Is until 4 August 1938. Even then, production was slow to build-up, and only 49 Spitfires had reached the RAF by the start of 1939. By the middle of 1938, the production urgency was such that construction of a huge new ‘Shadow Factory’ at Castle Bromwich, near Birmingham, had commenced. The factory was intend solely for Spitfire production, and started with an order to 1000 Spitfire Mk IIs (equivalent to late series Mk Is).

In late 1938, a standard Mk I (K9834) was taken off the production line and modified for an attempt on the World Speed Record. The modified aircraft was known as the Speed Spitfire and first flew on 11 November 1938. Unfortunately, before an attempt on the record could be made, the Messerschmitt Me 209 raised the record beyond the reach of a modified Spitfire, and so the aircraft was used for photo reconnaissance duties instead. The Spitfire had by now gained a great deal of international attention, and in the first half of 1939, a number of countries had placed export orders with Supermarine. These included Estonia, Greece and Turkey. Only a handful of aircraft were actually delivered, before the outbreak of war put and end to all commercial export activity.

In the meantime, the Air Ministry had obtained a licence to produce 20 mm Hispano cannon and so ordered two Spitfire Mk Is to be modified to accommodate one of these guns in each wing. Tests had shown that the explosive shells from the slower firing cannon had a much greater destructive effect than the solid bullets fired from several machine guns. Flight trials showed the initial cannon installation was very unreliable and further development work was urgently undertaken. Wing structure and installation design changes eventually resulted in the production variants Spitfire Mk Ib and Mk IIb, which featured an armament of two 20mm cannon and 6 machine guns in a ‘Type B’ wing.

Soon after the outbreak of war, two Spitfire Mk Is were converted by Heston Aircraft Ltd for photo reconnaissance (PR) duties with the removal of all combat equipment and the addition of cameras. Operation of these unarmed PR Spitfires was so successful that soon a whole series of PR variants with increased fuel loads and a variety of camera installations were progressively converted from Mk I aircraft. Later PR Spitfires were based on the Mk V and subsequent variants.

A prototype for the planned Mk III variant (N3297) first flew on 16 March 1940 – featuring a Merlin XX engine and many structural changes including a ‘universal’ wing able to accommodate a variety of weapons. This model was intended to replace the Mk I and II in production, but the Merlin XX was needed for the Hurricane II and production was switched to the Spitfire Mk V instead. (This version of the Spitfire will be covered in a separate profile).

The Spitfire’s combat debut came on 16 October 1939, when two Junkers Ju 88s were shot down for no loss. (Older references identify these aircraft as He 111s). On 17 August 1940, during the Battle of Britain, RAF Fighter Command had 675 Hurricanes and 348 Spitfires available. This ratio reflected the faster production build-up of the structurally simpler Hurricane airframe compared to the Spitfire. Operating under Britain’s unique integrated air defence system, both fighters achieved considerable success, despite being heavily outnumbered in most actions. The Spitfire and Hurricane scored kills in almost direct proportion to their numbers in service, and thus the Hurricane scored considerably more kills than the Spitfire during the battle. However, because of their front-line location, the two highest scoring RAF fighter squadrons (Nos. 603 and 609 Squadrons) both flew the Spitfire.

British wartime propaganda – epitomised by the 1942 feature film ‘The First of the Few’ – purposely exaggerated the Spitfire’s contribution to the Battle of Britain. In the film, R. J. Mitchell is portrayed as a lone visionary doggedly pursuing his quest to build the fighter needed to protect Britain in the forthcoming war. The aesthetic appeal of the Spitfire, and its distinctive wing shape, ensured that it rapidly became a visual icon of Britain’s will to defend itself. So effective was this wartime propaganda that even today most people think of the Spitfire as the key to wining the battle. In fact, the Spitfire’s main contribution to the war came from 1941 onwards, over France, Malta and North Africa.

Soon after the Battle of Britain, most of the Mk Is were replaced by Mk IIs in RAF service, with the displaced aircraft going to Operational Training Units (OTUs) and other training schools. Such was the pace of wartime development however, that in March 1941 the Mk IIs themselves began to be replaced by Mk Vs, and then delivered to training units. During 1942 a number of Mk IIs were adapted for Air Sea Rescue duties as the Mk IIc, with rescue/survival packs carried in the fuselage and droppable smoke markers under the wings. The last Mk Is and IIs were withdrawn from RAF service by mid 1944.

Fast and manoeuvrable, pilot’s universally considered the early marks of Spitfire to be a delight to fly, but judged them slightly inferior to the Hurricane as a gun platform. The more ‘flighty’ Spitfire required more effort to keep the guns on target. While its aerodynamics gave it a performance to match or better any other fighter of the time, the early difficulties in getting it into mass production delayed its delivery to fighter squadrons, and so prevented it from paying a greater part in the Battle 0f Britain.

Spitfire prototype K5054 in 1936 Spitfire Mk IA X4474 taking-off
(both photos, Vic Flintham)


Requirement Specification: F.37/34 (prototype), F.16/36 (production)
Manufacturers Designation: see below

Development History:
Type 224 One aircraft to F.7/30 with Goshawk II engine (K2890). First Supermarine fighter to fly.
Spitfire prototype Supermarine Type 300. One aircraft (K5054) with Merlin C engine, flush exhausts and 2 bladed propeller. Later fitted with Merlin F engine and fishtail ejector exhausts and new propeller. Eight machine guns fitted during development.
Spitfire Mk IA Supermarine Type 300. Initial production version – designated Mk I at first. Strengthened wings. First few aircraft with only 4 machine guns installed due to supply shortage. Fixed tailwheel in place of tailskid. Triple ejector exhausts. Merlin II engine driving 2-blade fixed-pitch Watts wooden propeller initially, then (78th aircraft onwards) de Havilland 3-blade variable pitch metal propeller. Merlin III driving 3-blade constant speed propeller from 175th aircraft onwards. Additions during production run: self-sealing fuel tanks, improved radio and IFF with thicker radio mast, bulged cockpit canopy, armoured external windscreen and steel plate armour behind and in front of pilot.
Spitfire Mk IB Supermarine Type 300. Version of Mk I with two 20 mm Hispano cannon with 60 rpg. First batch (June 1940) with 2 cannon only. Second batch (November 1940) with 4 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns as well as 2 cannon in wings. Projecting gun barrels and blisters in top wing surface.
Speed Spitfire Supermarine Type 323. One conversion of Mk I for attempt on World Speed Record (K9834). New wing, 4 bladed propeller, streamlined cockpit, modified Merlin II engine using special fuel.
Spitfire Mk I floatplane Supermarine Type 342. One conversion of Mk I (R6722), fitted with Blackburn Roc floats. Not flown and soon converted back to standard.
Spitfire Mk IIA Supermarine Type 329. Version of Mk I for mass production at Castle Bromwich. Merlin XII engine with Coffman cartridge starter. Rotol contant-speed 3-blade propeller.
Spitfire Mk IIA(LR) Supermarine Type 343. Version of Mk IIA with prominent 40 gallon (182 l) fuel tank located asymmetrically under port wing. 60 conversions. Used as long range escort fighter.
Spitfire Mk IIB Supermarine Type 329. Cannon armed version of Mk II. 2 x 20 mm Hispano cannon + 4 x 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns in wings. Projecting gun barrels and blisters in top wing surface.
Spitfire Mk IIC Conversion of Mk IIB with 1,460 hp (1,089 kW) Merlin XX engine for Air Sea Rescue duties. Rescue pack dropped from 2 flare chutes in fuselage underside. Rack under port wing for smoke marker bombs. 52 conversions. Later redesignated ASR Mk II.
Spitfire Mk II One Mk II converted with flush fitting auxiliary fuel tank under each wing outboard of wheel wells, plus enlarged oil tank in deeper nose.
Spitfire Mk III Supermarine Type 330 & 348. Planned production version with Merlin XX engine, enlarged radiator and stronger wing spar, strengthened landing gear, retractable tailwheel, additional armour, new bullet proof windscreen. One new-build (N3297) and one Mk V converted (W3237). Further production cancelled.
Plastic Spitfire One Type 300 fuselage was constructed using Aerolite plastic material in August 1940, as an insurance against aluminium shortages. Not flown.
Spitfire PR Mk IA (Also known as PR Type A). Conversion of Mk I for photo reconnaissance role. Short range version. Armament removed. 1 x F.24 camera in each wing. 2 conversions (N3069 & N3071).
Spitfire PR Mk IB (Also known as PR Type B). Conversion of Mk I for photo recce. Medium range version. Armament removed. 1 x F.24 camera in each wing, 29 gallon (132 l) fuel tank behind pilot. 8+ conversions.
Spitfire PR Mk IC (Also known as PR Type C). Conversion of Mk I for photo recce. Long range version. Armament removed. 30 gallon (137 l) fixed blister tank under port wing, balanced by blister under starboard wing housing 2 x F.24 cameras. 29 gallon (132 l) fuel tank behind pilot. 15 conversions. Later designated PR Mk III.
Spitfire PR Mk ID (Also known as PR Type D). Conversion of Mk I for photo recce. Very long range version. Armament removed. 57 gallon (259 l) integral fuel tanks in wing leading edges, 2 x F.24 or F.8 camera in fuselage behind pilot, 29 gallon (132 l) fuel tank behind pilot. 14 gallons (64 l) extra oil in port wing former gun-bay. Rounded windscreen plus canopy with bulged canopy sides. 2 Mk I conversions (P9551 & P9552) plus ‘production’ version based on Mk V airframes as PR Mk IV.
Spitfire PR Mk IE (Also known as PR Type E). Conversion of Mk I for photo recce. Medium range version. Armament removed. 1 x F.24 camera under each wing in bulged mounting – sighted obliquely not vertically, 29 gallon fuel tank behind pilot. 1 conversion (N3317). Later designated PR Mk V.
Spitfire PR Mk IF (Also known as PR Type F). Conversion of Mk I for photo recce. Super long range version. Armament removed. 30 gallon (137 l) blister tank under each wing, 29 gallon (132 l) fuel tank behind pilot, total extra fuel 89 gals (269 l). Enlarged oil tank in deeper nose. 2 x F.24 cameras behind cockpit, later other camera installations. Nearly all existing Bs and Cs modified to F standard. Later designated PR Mk VI.
Spitfire PR Mk IG (Also known as PR Type G). Conversion of Mk I for photo recce. Armed recce version. 8 machine guns armament retained with bullet proof windscreen. 1 x F.24 camera mounted obliquely behind cockpit + 2 x F.24 looking vertically down, 29 gallon (132 l) fuel tank behind pilot. 5+ conversions. Later designated PR Mk VII.
Type 300 Supermarine designation for F.37/34 Spitfire prototype and Mk I production version.
Type 311 Supermarine designation for Spitfire F.37/34 with Merlin E engine. Project only
Type 312 Supermarine designation for Spitfire variant to meet F.37/35 with Merlin E engine and 4 x 20 mm cannon. Project only. Requirement met by Westland Whirlwind.
Type 323 Supermarine designation for Speed Spitfire
Type 329 Supermarine designation for Spitfire Mk II
Type 330 Supermarine designation for Spitfire Mk III
Type 332 Supermarine designation for Spitfire Mk I export for Estonia. FN guns.
Type 335 Supermarine designation for Spitfire Mk I export for Greece. Merlin XII.
Type 336 Supermarine designation for Spitfire Mk I export for Portugal. Merlin XII.
Type 337 Supermarine designation for Spitfire Mk IV
Type 338 Supermarine designation for Spitfire Mk I for Fleet Air Arm. Merlin XII.
Type 341 Supermarine designation for Spitfire Mk I export for Turkey. Merlin XII
Type 342 Supermarine designation for Spitfire Mk I with Roc floats.
Type 343 Supermarine designation for Spitfire Mk I long range version. Merlin XII. Project only
Type 344 Supermarine designation for Spitfire Mk III on Supermarine floats. Project only
Type 345 Supermarine designation for Spitfire Mk I with 13.2 mm guns. Project only
Type 346 Supermarine designation for Spitfire Mk IC universal wing.
Type 348 Supermarine designation for Spitfire Mk III 2nd prototype (W3237). Merlin XX.
Spitfire Mk IIA P7350, now coded BA-X
(photo, Gareth Horne)
Spitfire Mk IA K9795 of 19 Sqn at Duxford in 1938
(photo, Beehive Hockey Photo Museum)


Key Dates:
Autumn 1931    Specification F.7/30 issued for 4-machine gun fighter with high climb rate
19 February 1934    Type 224 maiden flight
July 1934    Initial redesign of Type 224 to produce Type 300
November 1934    Type 300 modified to take Rolls-Royce PV XII (PV.12) engine
6 November 1934    Vickers board approves construction of one Type 300 prototype
3 January 1935    Specification F.37/34 issued to cover Type 300 with PV.12 engine – no longer a private venture
29 April 1935    Specification F.10/35 issued accepted, calling for a fighter with 6-8 machine guns. Type 300 modified to accommodate 8 guns.
May 1935    Type 300 final mock-up conference
5 March 1936    Maiden flight of Type 300 prototype (K5054)
May 1936    Type 300 named ‘Spitfire’, at the suggestion of the Vickers parent company
26 May 1936    Prototype flown to Martlesham Heath for initial A&AEE evaluation
3 June 1936    Air Ministry places order for 310 Spitfire Mk I
28 July 1936    Specification F.16/36 covering production Spitfire Mk I reaches Supermarine
11 June 1937    R J Mitchell dies
12 April 1938    Order for 1000 Spitfire Mk IIs to be built at Castle Bromwich
14 May 1938    Maiden flight of first production Spitfire (K9787)
12 July 1938    Work starts on building Castle Bromwich factory
19 July 1938    First production Spitfire delivered to RAF for trials
4 August 1938    First RAF squadron (19 Sqn) starts to receive Spitfire Mk Is
11 November 1938    Maiden flight of Speed Spitfire
1 January 1939    Only 49 Spitfires in total delivered to the RAF so far
February 1939    First export order (Estonia) accepted
May 1939    First Spitfire Mk Is delivered to Auxiliary Air Force (602 Sqn)
July 1939    Flight testing of trial installation of two 20 mm Hispano cannon starts
3 September 1939    Total of 306 Spitfire Mk Is delivered to the RAF so far
24 September 1939    Maiden flight of first Spitfire Mk II
October 1939    First conversion to PR Mark 1A photo recce version
16 October 1939    First combat against the Luftwaffe – two Ju 88 claimed
18 November 1939    First operational flight by a Photo Recce Spitfire
16 March 1940    Maiden flight of Spitfire Mk III prototype
June 1940    First Castle Bromwich Spitfire Mk II completed
mid July 1940    Total of 19 RAF squadrons equipped with Spitfires
August 1940    First Spitfire Mk IIs delivered to the RAF (611 Sqn)
26 September 1940    Supermarine factory at Woolston bombed – dispersed production initiated
Winter 1940    Spitfire Mk IIs replace Mk Is in RAF service. Latter relegated to OTUs
February 1941    Spitfire Mk V starts to replace Mk II in service (92 Sqn)
March 1941    First Spitfire Mk IIbs delivered to the RAF
1 April 1941    Spitfire Mk II has replaced Mk I in frontline RAF service
1942    Conversions to Air-Sea Rescue Mk IIC
mid 1944    Spitfire Mk I/IIs withdrawn from RAF service
BoBMF Spitfire Mk IIA P7350 marked as RN-S P7350 makes a low pass in RN-S markings
(both photos,


Military Operators

Australia – RAAF (8 Mk IIA with 452 Sqn under RAF control August 1941)
Canada – RCAF (1 Mk I [L1090] on loan late 1939-mid 140 for trials)
Estonia – AF (12 Mk I ordered Feb 1939, delivery cancelled by UK Govt.)
France – AdlA (1 Mk I delivered 18 July 1939 for evaluation – to Luftwaffe?)
Germany – Luftwaffe (3+ Mk I, 1 PR Mk 1B, 1 PR Mk 1F captured, used for evaluation)
Greece – AF (12 Mk I ordered 1939, delivery cancelled by UK Govt.)
New Zealand – RNZAF (no information)
Poland – AF (1 Mk I packed for shipping July 1939, diverted to Turkey on Polish surrender)
Portugal – AF (15 Mk I ordered 1939, delivery cancelled by UK Govt. May 1940; 18 Mk Ia delivered 1942)
Turkey – THK (15 Mk I ordered 1940 – not delivered, 1 Mk I shipped Sept 1939, 2 Mk I delivered June 1940)
UK – Royal Air Force (Fighter: 40 sqns (Mk I), 56 sqns (Mk II); Air-Sea Rescue: 5 sqns (Mk IIC); Training 4+ OTUs; numerous misc. units)
UK – Fleet Air Arm (76 Mk IA* and 3 Mk IIA for advanced pilot training 1940-1943)

Government Agencies

UK – RAE Farnborough (several Mk I/II for test duties)

Civilian Operators

UK – Rolls-Royce, Hucknall (several Mk I/II/III seconded as engine testbeds)

* Only one with arrestor hook.

Underside view showing the distinctive wing planform, water radiator and oil cooler
(photo, Colin Body)
BoBMF Spitfire IIA P7350 marked as YT-F
(photo, Grizzly Adams)


Supermarine Spitfire prototype
Role: Interceptor fighter
Crew: One
Dimensions: Length 29 ft 11 in (9.12 m); Height (to tip of prop) 12 ft 8 in (3.86 m); Wing Span 36 ft 10 in (11.23 m); Wing Area 242.0 sq ft (22.48 sq m)
Engine(s): One liquid cooled, 12 cylinder Vee, Rolls-Royce Merlin C of 990 hp (738 kW)*.
Weights: Empty (Tare) 4,082 lb (1854 kg); Fully Loaded 5,359 lb (2,434 kg)
Performance: Maximum level speed 349 mph (562 kph) at 16,800 ft (5,120 m); Initial rate of climb 2400 ft/min (731 m/min); Time to 15,000 ft (4,570 m) 5 min 52 sec; Service ceiling 35,400 ft (10,790 m); Normal range with internal fuel ? mls (? km); Endurance 1.78 hr.
Armament: None initially. Later eight 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine-guns in wings, with 300 rounds per gun.

* Later fitted with Merlin F of 1,035 hp (772 kW) and then Merlin II of 1,030 hp (768 kW).

Supermarine Spitfire Mk. IA (early production example**)
Role: Interceptor fighter
Crew: One
Dimensions: Length 29 ft 11 in (9.12 m); Height (to tip of prop) 11 ft 5 in (3.48 m); Wing Span 36 ft 10 in (11.23 m); Wing Area 242.0 sq ft (22.48 sq m)
Engine(s): One liquid cooled, 12 cylinder Vee, Rolls-Royce Merlin III of 1,030 hp (768 kW) at 16,250 ft (4953 m) and 880 hp (656 kW) at take-off*.
Weights: Empty (Tare) 4,810 lb (2,182 kg); Fully Loaded 5,819 lb (2,639 kg)
Performance: Maximum level speed 362 mph (583 kph) at 18,500 ft (5,639 m); Cruising speed 210 mph (338 kph); Initial rate of climb 2,530 ft/min (771 m/min); Time to 20,000 ft (6,096 m) 9 min 25 sec; Service ceiling 31,900 ft (9,723 m); Normal range with internal fuel 395 mls (637 km); Endurance 1.78 hr.
Armament: Eight 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine-guns in wings, with 300 rounds per gun.

* First 174 aircraft fitted with Merlin II of 1,030 hp (768 kW).
** Fully modified aircraft (mid 1940) had Fully Loaded weight of 6,150 lb (2,789 kg), Maximum level speed 353 mph (568 kph) at 20,000 ft (6,100 m).

Supermarine Spitfire Mk. IIA
Role: Interceptor fighter
Crew: One
Dimensions: Length 29 ft 11 in (9.12 m); Height (to tip of prop) 11 ft 5.5 in (3.49 m); Wing Span 36 ft 10 in (11.23 m); Wing Area 242.0 sq ft (22.48 sq m)
Engine(s): One liquid cooled, 12 cylinder Vee, Rolls-Royce Merlin XII of 1,175 hp (876 kW) for take-off and 1,140 hp (850 kW) at 14,750 ft (4495 m)*.
Weights: Empty (Tare) 4,783 lb (2,170 kg); Fully Loaded 6,172 lb (2,803 kg)
Performance: Maximum level speed 354 mph (570 kph) at 17,554 ft (5,349 m); Initial rate of climb 2,925 ft/min (891 m/min); Time to 20,000 ft (6,096 m) 7 min 0 sec; Service ceiling 37,600 ft (11,457 m); Normal range with internal fuel 395 mls (637 km).
Armament: Eight 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine-guns in wings, with 300 rounds per gun.

* Some aircraft fitted with Merlin 45 of 1,210 hp (897 kW).

Spitfire PR Mk 1C serial X4492 showing the
deeper nose shape (photo, Vic Flintham)
Castle Bromwich-built Spitfire Mk IIA P8348
coded NS-Y (photo, Vic Flintham)


Design Centre

Head of Design Team: Reginald J. Mitchell (until 1937), Joseph Smith (1937+)
Design Office: Supermarine Aviation Works (Vickers) Ltd, Woolaston, Southampton


Spitfire I-III Production Summary
prototype  1     Total: 1
Mk IA 1536  Mk IB 30 Total: 1566 
Mk IIA 750 Mk IIB  170  Total: 920
Mk III 1     Total: 1
        Total: 2488 
(Westland Aircraft Ltd, Yeovil, Somerset)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
Spitfire IA 50 Yeovil June-August 1941
Total: 50    
Castle Bromwich (CBAF)
(Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory, Castle Bromwich, Birmingham, West Midlands)**
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
Spitfire IIA 750 Castle Bromwich 1939-March 1941
Spitfire IIB 170 Castle Bromwich January-March 1941
Total: 920    

** Initially managed by Nuffield Organisation (Morris cars etc), to Supermarine control in May 1940.
Some aircraft converted to Mk VA standard.

(Supermarine Aviation Works (Vickers) Ltd, Eastleigh Aerodrome, Southampton, Hampshire)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
Spitfire prototype 1 Eastleigh Dec 1934-March 1936
Spitfire Mk IA 1486* Eastleigh March 1937-March 1941
Spitfire Mk IB 30 Eastleigh June 1940-Aug 1940
Spitfire Mk III 1 Eastleigh ?-March 1940
Total: 1518    

* One converted to Mk II (K9788), one converted to Speed Spitfire, some converted to Mk VA, 15 delivered as PR Mk 1C, 2 delivered as PR Mk 1D, one converted to Griffon-engined Mk IV prototype.
Major sub-assemblies produced at Supermarine factories at Itchen (fuselages 1939+) and Woolston (fuselages initially, plus wings from April 1938) in Southampton, together with components from sub-contractors.


Folland Aircraft Ltd, Hamble (tailplane and rudder)
General Aircraft Ltd, Feltham (wings)
Pobjoy Motors Ltd, Rochester (wings)
Westland Aircraft Ltd, Yeovil (wing ribs)
Aero-Engines Ltd, Kingsmead, Bristol (ailerons and elevators)
J. Samuel White and Co, Cowes (fuselage frames)
Singer Motors Ltd, Coventry (engine mountings)
General Electric Co, Preston (wing tips)
The Pressed Steel Co, Cowley (wing leading edge)
G.Beaton and Son Ltd, ? (wing ribs)

After 24th & 26th September 1940 Luftwaffe bombing raids on Woolston & Itchen, production ceased at these two locations and assembly was dispersed to 46 different factories in southern England, feeding four production centres:
Southampton (assembly at Eastleigh), Salisbury (assembly at High Post & Chattis Hill), Trowbridge (assembly at Keevil) and Reading (assembly ar Henley and Aldermaston).

Total Produced: 2488 a/c (prototype to Mk III)

Production List

See ‘Spitfire: The History’ listed above.

Spitfire Mk III Prototype N3297 with Merlin XX
engine (photo, Vic Flintham)
Spitfire PR Mk IV BP886 – a ‘productionised’
PR Mk 1D (photo, Vic Flintham)

More Information


‘Birth of a Legend: The Spitfire’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Jeffrey Quill & Sebastian Cox
Published by Quiller Press Ltd, UK, 1986 ISBN: 0 907621 64 3
* Gives the background to the design, initial production and early service years of the Spitfire.

‘Spitfire Odyssey: My Life At Supermarines 1936-1957’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Cyril R. Russell
Published by Kingfisher Railway Productions, UK, Nov 1985 ISBN: 0 946184 186
* Personal story, from the viewpoint of the production line.

‘Spitfire Postscript’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Cyril R. Russell
Published by Kingfisher Railway Productions, UK, Feb 1995 ISBN: 0 95248 580 X
* Additional anecdotes and details of dispersed production of the Spitfire.

‘Sigh For A Merlin: Testing The Spitfire’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Alex Henshaw
Published by Crecy Publishing, UK, 1 Oct 1999 ISBN: 0 94755 483 1
* Personal story by the Chief Test Pilot at the Castle Bromwich factory.

‘Spitfire International’
by Helmut Terbeck, Harry van der Meer & Ray Sturtivant
Published by Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd, 2002 ISBN: 0 85130 250 5
* Covers all Spitfire exports in detail, including individual aircraft histories.

‘Supermarine Aircraft Since 1914’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by CF Andrews & E B Morgan
Published by Putnam Aeronautical Books, 1981 ISBN: 1 85177 800 3
* Detailed company history with a long chapter on the Spitfire and on production dispersal.

‘The Spitfire Story’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Alfred Price
Published by Arms & Armour Press/Cassell Military, 1986 & reprints ISBN: 1 85409 514 5
* Detailed history of the evolution of the Spitfire design through successive versions.

‘Spitfire At War’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Alfred Price
Published by Ian Allan Ltd, Dec 1974 & multiple reprints ISBN: 0 7110 0560 5
* The Spitfire on operations – including many first-hand accounts. All theatres of war.

‘Spitfire At War: 2’
by Alfred Price
Published by Ian Allan Ltd, 1985 & multiple reprints ISBN: 0 7110 1511 2
* More eyewitness accounts and new photos – including the first flight of the Spitfire.

‘Spitfire At War: 3’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Alfred Price
Published by Ian Allan Ltd, 1990 & multiple reprints ISBN: 0 7110 1933 9
* More eyewitness accounts and new photos – little known aspects of the Spitfire’s combat career.

‘Spitfire: The History’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Eric B. Morgan & Edward Shacklady
Published by Key Books Ltd, Jan 2001 ISBN: 0 946219 48 6
* Revised edition of ultra-detailed history of the Spitfire. Very well illustrated.

‘Spitfire IIA & IIB Pilot’s Notes (Merlin XII)’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
Published by Air Data Pubns, 1972 & multiple reprints ISBN: 0 859790 43 6
* Facsimile reprint of the original Air Ministry Pilot’ Notes.

‘Spitfire Mark I/II Aces 1939-41 (Osprey Aircraft Of The Aces – 12)’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Dr Alfred Price
Published by Osprey, Dec 1996 ISBN: 1 855326 27 2
* RAF fighter aces who flew the early marks of Spitfire.

‘Wings of Fame Volume 5’
Published by Aerospace Publishing, 1996 ISBN: 1 874023 90 5(PB)/1 874023 91 3(HB)
* Includes detailed article on Photo Recce Spitfires.

‘The Supermarine Spitfire Part 1: Merlin Powered (Modellers Datafile 3)’
by Robert Humphreys
Published by SAM Publications, 2000 ISBN: –
* Very detailed modellers guide to the Merlin-engined Spitfire.


To be added.


Spitfire Mk.I Walkaround
(Detailed pictorial of the RAF Hendon example)

Spitfire Society
(Society info, about the Spitfire)

Aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm – Supermarine Spitfire
(Concise summary of Spitfire history and FAA use)

Supermarine Aircraft
(Details of Spitfires captured by the Luftwaffe in WW2. Good photos and information)

Beehive Hockey Photo Museum
(Collection of photos of WW2 Allied aircraft + ice hockey info)


Flight Simulator Models:
To be added.

Scale Models:
To be added.

Scale Drawings:
See ‘Modellers Datafile’ listed above.


To be added.

Junkers Ju 88 Fighter Variants

Aircraft Profile
Ju 88R-1 D5+EV of IV/NJG 3 after restoration
at RAF St Athan. (photo, Keith McKenzie)


[This profile covers the fighter and attack variants of the Junkers Ju 88, bomber and reconnaissance variants will be covered separately.]

By the middle of 1944, the night fighter force had become the strongest and most efficient arm of the Luftwaffe, comprising almost fifteen per cent of its first line strength. From May 1940 onwards, the appearance of ever increasing numbers of RAF bombers at night over Germany had forced the Luftwaffe to set up a powerful night air defence organisation which soon became involved in a bitter see-saw battle for supremacy in the night sky. The Junkers Ju 88 night-fighter was a key weapon in this crucial battle. From 1944 until the end of the war, Ju 88s equipped the vast majority of Nachtjagd units, and constant development of the airframe and of numerous electronic aids maintained its reputation as a formidable fighting machine until the very end.

The Junkers Ju 88 first arose from a German Air Ministry requirement for a dedicated high-speed medium bomber. In a calculated move, Junkers temporarily recruited two engineers from America to help design the new aircraft. W.H. Evers and Alfred Grossner applied their considerable expertise in modern aircraft structural design to produce in the Ju 88 a remarkably efficient and adaptable design. The first prototype (D-AQEN) flew on 21 December 1936, and subsequent testing of additional prototypes confirmed its excellent performance. A production order followed and Luftwaffe service testing commenced early in 1939.

The performance of the prototype had generated early interest in adapting the type for other roles, and one of the first roles considered was that of Zerstörer (heavy-fighter). The Luftwaffe concept of a twin-engined high-speed long-range day fighter was widely shared by other European air forces at the time. Accordingly, in early summer 1939, Junkers modified the Ju 88 V7 prototype to include a forward-firing armament of two 20 mm MG FF cannon and two 7.9 mm MG 17 machine-guns located in a modified nose section partially covered by metal plates. The underfuselage gondola was also removed and the crew reduced to three. Powered by two 1,200 hp Junkers Jumo 211B-1 engines, the unmodified Ju 88 V7 had first flown on 27 September 1938, and was soon back in the air testing the new armament. The new fighter offered a maximum speed similar to that of the much smaller Messerschmitt Bf 110, but with three times the range, and the type was ordered into limited production.

A small batch of early production Ju 88A-1 bombers were converted into Ju 88C-0s during July and August 1939, and used operationally during the invasion of Poland by the Zerstörerstaffel of KG 30 for long-range ground-attack. It was initially planned that the subsequent production variants would be the the Ju 88C-1 with 1,600 hp BMW 801MA air-cooled radials, and the Ju 88C-2 with liquid-cooled 1,200 hp Jumo 211B-1 engines behind annular radiators. In the event, the BMW 801 engines were reserved for the new Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighter and the C-1 and the proposed C-3 derivative were abandoned. The first production model was thus the C-2 with an armament of one 20 mm MG FF cannon and three 7.9 mm MG 17 machine-guns in a new smooth metal nose section. These aircraft were converted on the production line, and retained the ventral gondola. The C-2s were used for more than a year for coastal and anti-shipping patrol, before another role appeared.

From May 1940, the RAF began to attack Germany regularly by night and it was quickly realised that anti-aircraft guns alone would not be able to defend Germany adequately. Accordingly, the Zerstörerstaffel of KG 30 was reinforced with additional Ju 88C-2s and redesignated II/NJG 1 in July, joining the newly established night-fighter force under General Kammhuber. The Gruppe specialised in conducting night intruder operations – hunting RAF bombers over British aerodromes identified by radio intercepts. On 11 September 1940, the Gruppe was redesignated I/NJG 2. The small number of intruder aircraft available was hopelessly inadequate to counter the ever increasing threat from Bomber Command, and the perceived lack of results led to Hitler ordering the end of further intruder operations on 12 October 1941. I/NJG 2 was soon transferred to Sicily for intruder operations over Malta and the Mediterranean.

In the mean time, a new Zerstörer variant had been developed, the Ju 88C-4. This was similar to the C-2, but used the improved airframe of the Ju 88A-4, featuring increased overall wing span from 60 ft 3¼ in (18.37 m) to 65 ft 7½ in (20.0 m) and a sturdier undercarriage. Other improvements included more armour protection for the crew and an extra 7.9 mm MG 15 machine-gun in the rear of the offset ventral gondola. The Junkers Jumo 211B-2 powered C-4 was the first C-series model produced as new-build and not by conversion. Production numbers of the C-4 remained relatively low compared to the bomber variants. A modified version, the Ju 88C-6 was operated by V/KG40 from September 1942 to counter RAF Coastal Command operations against U-boats in the Bay of Biscay. Later the Gruppe was absorbed into ZG 1 but disbanded in June 1944. Other C-6s were used for train-busting on the Russian Front in 1943.

Early in 1942, the new FuG 212 Lichtenstein C-1 radar was experimentally fitted to four of NJG 1s Ju 88C night-fighters. The cumbersome ‘stags antlers’ aerial array reduced maximum speed by 15-25 mph and so the reaction of crews was initially unfavourable, until a number of kills were scored using it. The introduction of radar on the Ju 88C-6 resulted in a designation change to Ju 88C-6b, while existing day-fighter aircraft were retrospectively redesignated Ju 88C-6a. The initial radar fit was the FuG 202 Lichtenstein BC, but by the Autumn of 1942 this had been replaced by the simplified FuG 212 Lichtenstein C-1. In a parallel development, the Ju 88R-series of night fighters differed from the Ju 88C-6b mainly in having BMW 801 engines.

The ‘Himmelbett’ defensive system of ground controllers directing night-fighters to within visual range of a their targets was now well established, and the introduction of radar made the last phase of an intercept much easier. Previously quite scarce in the Nachtjagd (most Ju 88Cs were still in the Mediterranean), the Ju 88 now began to equip an increasing number of night-fighter units. Night-fighters were meant to keep to their assigned control sector, but when it was found that a narrow bomber stream would saturate the relatively thin ‘Kammhuber line’ of defensive sectors, a more free-ranging ‘Zahme Sau’ technique – whereby some night-fighters would join and follow bomber stream – was introduced. The long-range Ju 88C-6b and Ju 88R-1 were particularly suited to this role, and began to equip many units. A major set-back for the night-fighters was the use of ‘Window’ jamming by the RAF, first introduced on 24/25 July 1943. This rendered existing ground and airborne radars useless, and it wasn’t until October 1943 that the Ju 88C-6c appeared with a FuG 220 Lichtenstein SN-2 radar which operated on a different frequency. In the meantime, ‘Zahme Sau’ tactics dominated, with night-fighters using FuG 227 Flensburg which homed-in on Allied bomber ‘Monica’ tail-warning radars. By April 1944, the Ju 88C-6c equipped almost the entire Nachtjagd.

In the Summer of 1942, the war on the Russian Front had meanwhile highlighted a need for dedicated ground-attack/tank-buster aircraft. Among the possible solutions was a Ju 88C-4 experimentally fitted with a Nebelwerfer recoilless rocket launcher. This weapon reassembled a six-barrelled gatling gun and the modified aircraft was unofficially known as the Ju 88N or Ju 88Nbwe. Trials of this weapon were soon abandoned in favour of the Ju 88P series. The Ju 88P V1 was a modified Ju 88A-4, with a large belly fairing housing a 75 mm KwK 39 cannon firing forward and two MG 81Z machine-guns at the rear. Trials were relatively successful and a small number of Ju 88P-1 production aircraft were ordered. The Ju 88P-1 featured a Ju 88C solid nose, armour protection for the engines and a 75 mm PaK 40L cannon with a big muzzle brake. The type was issued to a few units in 1943 for operational testing, but proved very unwieldy and vulnerable to enemy fighters. Effectiveness was reduced by the gun’s slow rate of fire. Two further versions, the Ju 88P-2 with two 37 mm BK 3.7 Fak 18 canon and the Ju 88P-3 with increased armour protection were only completed in small numbers. The final tank-buster variant was the Ju 88P-4 with a single 50 mm Bk 5 cannon in a much smaller belly fairing. All four variants saw active service on the Eastern Front in 1944. Some were used as train-busters, while a small number of P-2s were tried as night-fighters and day interceptors against USAAF bomber formations – proving to be completely unsuitable.

The introduction of increasingly heavier armament, more armour, and a radar operator had a detrimental affect on the low-speed handling qualities of the overburdened Ju 88C series, and it was becoming apparent that the development of a specialised Ju 88 night-fighter model was now necessary to restore lost performance and safe handling. In 1943, a Ju 88R-2 was experimentally fitted with the enlarged squared-off tail unit of the Ju 188, becoming the Ju 88 V58. A completely revised armament fit was introduced. Two MG 151/20 cannon were housed in the right-hand side of the nose, and four more located in a ventral tray under the left side of the belly. Designated Ju 88G V1, the new version first flew in June 1943 and served as the prototype for a new series of night-fighters. The Ju 88G-0 pre-production aircraft differed from the prototype in deleting the nose mounted MG 151 cannon, as they blinded the pilot at night. The increased power of the 1,700 hp BMW 801D radials helped restore much of the type’s good handling qualities. The Ju 88G-1 was the first series production version, essentially the same as the G-0. The new model rapidly replaced the Ju 88C from the middle of 1944, many with FuG 227 Flensburg which homed in on British ‘Monica’ tail warning radar. The next production version was the Ju 88G-6a, similar to the G-1 but with two 1,700 hp BMW 801G engines. The Ju 88G-6b carried the FuG 350 Naxos Z radio equipment which homed-in on bomber H2S blind-bombing radar emissions, larger fuel tanks and two MG 151/20 cannon in a ‘Schräge Musik’ installation firing obliquely upwards and forwards from the upper fuselage – usually at an angle of 70 degrees. The pilot simply formated under the bomber and fired upwards in an easy zero-deflection shot.

The final production G series model was the Ju 88G-7, powered by two Jumo 213E engines with MW-50 power boosting to 1,800 hp on take-off. The Ju 88G-7a had FuG 220 Lichtenstein SN-2 radar, while the Ju 88G-7b had FuG 218 Neptune V radar with either the standard ‘toasting fork’ aerials or a Morgenstern array enclosed in a pointed wooden nose cone. The G-7c had FuG 240 Berlin N-1 centimetric radar with the scanner enclosed in a plywood nose cone. Only ten G-7c were completed, before the end of the war.

In the last few months of the war, a number of G-1 airframes were converted to act as the warhead portion of the Mistel flying bomb. Pilotless missile steered by the fighter mounted on top. A Focke-Wulf Fw 190 was mounted above the Ju 88 to guide it towards the target, before releasing at the last moment. Some isolated successes were scored in attacking bridges.

Immediately after the end of the war, Allied intelligence teams rapidly moved into Germany to secure examples of all the latest aircraft. A significant number of Ju 88G series aircraft were brought back to France, Britain and the USA for thorough evaluation. All of these machines were later scrapped. It does not appear that any example of the Ju 88G reached the Soviet union.
Derived from undoubtedly the most versatile German combat aircraft of WW2, the Ju 88 night-fighter was a refined and formidable aircraft, with a powerful armament, excellent agility and advanced electronic sensors. It is therefore appropriate that Ju 88 night-fighters destroyed more Allied night bombers in WW2 than all other fighters combined.

The crew of D5+EV defected to the Allies on 9 May 1943.
(both photos, Keith McKenzie)


Requirement Specification: not known
Manufacturers Designation: Ju 88

Development History:
Ju 88C V1 Prototype Zerstörer. Conversion of Ju 88 V7. Four crew, two 1,200 hp (895 kW) Jumo 211B-1 liquid-cooled engines, three MG 15s plus internal bomb load.
Ju 88C-0 Pre-production version of Zerstörer. Conversions of Ju 88A-1 aircraft.
Ju 88C-1 Planned production version of C-0 with two 1,600 hp BMW 801MA air-cooled radial engines. Conversion of A-1 with three MG 17 machine-guns and one 20 mm MG FF cannon. None completed.
Ju 88C-2 Initial production version for Zerstörer role. Modified Ju 88A-1 with new non-glazed nose, two 1,200 hp Jumo 211B-1 engines, 3 crew, three fixed forward-firing 7.9 mm MG 17 machine-guns and one 20 mm MG FF cannon, plus two defensive 7.9 mm MG 15 machine-guns in dorsal and ventral positions. Maximum bomb load 1,102 lb (550 kg).
Ju 88C-3 Modified C-2 with two 1,600 hp BMW 801MA engines. One conversion.
Ju 88C-4 Zerstörer/reconnaissance version. Modified Ju 88A-4 with solid nose, two Jumo 211F-1 engines, increased armament to two 20 mm MG FF cannon in ventral gondola (swapped for cameras in recce role), extra 7.9 mm MG 15 in rear of gondola, more crew armour protection, increased weight, strengthened undercarriage. First new-build version.
Ju 88C-4/R Late production model of C-4 with 1,340 hp (1,000 kW) Jumo 211J-1 or J-2 engines.
Ju 88C-5 Zerstörer version. Improved C-4 with two 1,700 hp (1268 kW) BMW 801D-2, 3 crew, ventral gondola replaced by ‘Waffentropfen’ weapon pack below fuselage with two MG 17s and MG FF cannon replaced by MG 151. 10 pre-production examples only.
Ju 88C-6a Day-Zerstörer version. Modified C-4 with two Jumo 211J-1 or J-2 engines, increased armour plating, fixed armament of three 7.9 mm MG 17s and one 20 mm MG FF cannon in the nose plus two MG FF in re-introduced ventral gondola plus one defensive MG 15 or MG 131. Various armament modifications.
Ju 88C-6b Night-fighter version. Designation applied retroactively to C-6a when fitted with FuG 202 Lichtenstein BC or (by Autumn 1942) FuG 212 Lichtenstein C-1 radar. New HF radio.
Ju 88C-6c As C-6b with FuG 220 Lichtenstein SN-2 plus (some models) Lichtenstein C-1, defensive armament one MG 131, some later with two oblique upward-firing 20 mm MG 151s in dorsal ‘Schräge Musik’ installation. Some with Jumo 211H turbocharged engines.
Ju 88C-7a Intruder version with two Jumo 211J-1 engines, 2-3 crew, ventral gondola replaced by jettisonable ventral weapon pack with two MG FF/M, three fixed forward-firing MG 17s, max bomb load 1,102 lb (500 kg).
Ju 88C-7b As C-7a with underwing bomb-racks, max bomb load 3,305 lb (1,500 kg).
Ju 88C-7c Zerstörer version, modified C-7a, two 1,600 hp BMW 801MA engines, three MG 17 and one MG 151 in nose plus two MG FF in weapon pack, no bomb racks. Pre-production batch only.
Ju 88P V1 Anti-tank prototype. Modified A-4 with one 75 mm KwK 39 anti-tank cannon forward plus twin 7.9 mm MG 81Z aft of large ventral fairing. Two 1,340 hp Jumo 211J engines.
Ju 88P-1 Production model of Ju 88P V1 with solid unglazed nose, KwK 39 replaced by 75 mm PaK 40 anti-tank cannon, 2 or 3 crew, one forward firing MG 81 for sighting of cannon plus two twin MG 81Zs.
Ju 88P-2 As P-1 with two 37 mm BK 3.7 (Flak 38) cannon in large ventral fairing. A-4 conversions.
Ju 88P-3 As P-2 with increased armour plating, two Jumo 211H engines. A-4 conversions.
Ju 88P-4 Heavy fighter/anti-tank version, two Jumo 211J-2 engines, offensive armament reduced to single 50 mm BK 5 cannon, shortened ventral fairing. One aircraft fitted with 22-shot launcher for RZ 65 rockets, for testing.
Ju 88R-1 Night-fighter version. Re-engined C-6b with two 1,600 hp BMW 801MA or 801C engines and FuG 212 Lichenstein C-1 radar. Three MG 17 and one 20 mm MG 151/20 in nose plus two MG FF in ventral gondola.
Ju 88R-2 Version of R-1 with two 1,700 hp BMW 801D and the addition of FuG 202 Lichtenstein BC plus FuG 217 Neptun R tail-warning radar. Some also fitted with FuG 350 Naxos Z passive radar.
Ju 88G V1 Prototype of improved night-fighter version. Modified Ju 88R-2 with two 1,700 hp BMW 801D engines, 3 crew, two fixed MG 151s in fuselage nose and four fixed MG 151/20s in ventral gun tray plus one 13 mm MG 131 at rear of cockpit, FuG 212 Lichtenstein C-1 radar.
Ju 88G-0 Pre-production night-fighter version. Reduced armament (four MG 151/20), FuG 220 Lichtenstein SN-2 radar, more angular fin and rudder shape.
Ju 88G-1 Production version of G-0. BMW 801D engines. Some modified equipment, four MG 151s in ventral gun tray; Lichtenstein SN-2 radar plus FuG-227 Flensburg homing receiver.
Ju 88G-2 Version of G-1 with revised equipment. Production cancelled.
Ju 88G-3 Project only.
Ju 88G-4 Improved version of G-1. Small equipment changes. Some with two oblique upward-firing 20 mm MG 151 in dorsal ‘Schräge Musik’ installation.
Ju 88G-5 Version of G-1 with revised equipment. Project only.
Ju 88G-6a Version of G-4. Dorsal ‘Schräge Musik’ installation now standard with two 20 mm MG 151/20s. Two 1,700 hp BMW 801G engines, improved equipment. Aft facing antenna for SN-2 introduced.
Ju 88G-6b As for G-6a , addition of FuG 350 Naxos Z in cockpit roof, increased fuel capacity.
Ju 88G-6c Two 1,750 hp (1,306 kW) Jumo 213A, reduced fuel capacity, ‘Schräge Musik’ installation moved to just aft of cockpit.
Ju 88G-7a Introduced pointed wing tips from Ju 188, span increased to 72 ft 2 in?, two 1,725 hp Jumo 213E with MW 50 power booster, very broad propeller blades, 3 crew, FuG 220 Lichtenstein SN-2 radar.
Ju 88G-7b As G-7a with FuG 228 Lichtenstein SN-3 or FuG 218 Neptun VR radar (as Ju 88G-7n), some with pointed wooden nose cone.
Ju 88G-7c As for G-7a with FuG 240 Berlin N-1a radar in blunt wooden nose cone. No external aerials.
Ju 88G-8 Long range Zerstörer. As for G-7 but with fuselage of H-2.
Ju 88G-10 Similar to G-8 but used for Mistel programme.
Ju 88G-12 Developed into the Ju 188R series.
Ju 88H-2 Long range fighter version of Ju 88H-1 reconnaissance aircraft. Based on stretched Ju 88D-1 fuselage with Ju 88G-1 wings and engines. Two 20 mm MG 151 cannon in solid nose and four more in belly pack. No radar.
Ju 88N Unofficial designation for one Ju 88C-4 fitted with Nebelwerfer rocket launcher.
Mistel 2 Composite flying bomb with Fw 190A-6 (or Fw 190F-8) upper stage and Ju 88G-1 lower stage. Cockpit section replaced by bolt-on shaped charge warhead.
Mistel S2 Trainer conversion of Mistel 2.
Mistel 3C Composite flying bomb with Fw 190A-8 and Ju 88G-10. Project only.
Two views of the FuG 202 Lichtenstein BC ‘toasting fork’ radar antenna on the Ju 88R-1
(both photos, Keith McKenzie)


Key Dates: (All Ju 88 references are very vague on precise dates)
15 January 1936    Start of Ju 88 project design
21 December 1936    Ju 88 V1 first flight
27 September 1938    Ju 88 V7 first flight (to Ju 88A-0 standard)
summer 1939    Ju 88 V7 converted to Zerstorer configuration as Ju 88C prototype
July 1939    Ju 88C-0 first flight
July-August 1939    First batch of Ju 88C-0s converted
September 1939    First operational use of Ju 88C-0 (by Zst./KG30)
late 1940    First delivery of Ju 88C-2 production version to Luftwaffe (to Zst./KG30)
17 July 1940    Luftwaffe Nightfighter force established
July 1940    First delivery of Ju 88C-2 variant
July 1940    Zst./KG30 becomes II/NJG 1
11 September 1940    II/NJG 1 redesignated I/NJG 2
December 1940    First delivery of Ju 88C-4 variant
12 October 1941    Night intruder operations over Britain prohibited
December 1941    I/NJG 2 transferred to Sicily
early 1942    First test radar fitted to a Ju 88C
April 1942    I/NJG 2 transferred to North Africa
mid 1942    Ju 88C-6a first flight
Summer 1942    Ju 88P V1 conversion of Ju 88A-4
late 1942    First production version with radar: Ju 88C-6b
early 1943    Ju 88R-1 deliveries start
June 1943    Ju 88 V58 converted from Ju 88R-2 as Ju 88G prototype
October 1943    Ju 88C-6c introduced with FuG 220 radar not susceptible to original ‘Window’ jamming
Spring 1944    First production Ju 88G-1 first flight
May 1944    Ju 88G-1 enters service
mid 1944    Ju 88G-6a first flight
3 March 1945    Mass night intruder operation over Britain
Side view of the Ju 88R-1
(photo, Keith McKenzie)


Military Operators

Germany – Luftwaffe (28+ Night fighter Gruppes ; 6+ Zerstorer Gruppes; various Misc. units)
France – Air Force (3+ Ju 88G-6 and 1+ Ju 88R-1 captured)
UK – Royal Air Force (1 Ju 88R-1 with No.1426 (Enemy Aircraft) Flight)
UK – Royal Air Force (1 Ju 88R-1, 1 Ju 88G-1 & 4 Ju 88G-6 with the Central Fighter Establishment)
USA – USAAF (1 captured Ju 88G-6 for evaluation by ATI)

Government Agencies

UK – RAE Farnborough (1 Ju 88R-1, 1 Ju 88G-1 and 8+ Ju 88G-6 for evaluation)
UK – Chemical Warfare Establishment (2+ Ju 88G for trials)
UK – Radio Warfare Establishment/BDSU (2 Ju 88G-6 for trials)

Civilian Operators

France – Arsenal de l’Aeronautique (3+ Ju 88G-6 ex-AdlA for missile testing)


Junkers Ju 88C-6c
Role: Night-fighter
Crew: Three
Dimensions: Length 47 ft 1.25 in (14.36 m); Height 16 ft 7.5 in (5.06 m); Wing Span 65 ft 7.5 in (20.0 m); Wing Area 586.63sq ft (54.5 sq m)
Engine(s): Two liquid cooled, 12 cylinder inverted-Vee, Junkers Jumo 211J-1 (or J-2) of 1,340 hp (? kW) each.
Weights: Empty Equipped 19,973 lb (9,060 kg); Normal Take-off 27,227 lb (12,350 kg); Maximum Take-off ? lb (? kg)
Performance: Maximum level speed 303 mph (488 kph) at 19,685 ft (6,000 m); Cruising speed 263 mph (423 kph) at same altitude; Time to 19,685 ft (6,000 m) 12 min 42 sec; Service ceiling 32,480 ft (9,900 m); Normal range on internal fuel 1,230 mls (1,980 km).
Armament: Three fixed forward-firing 20mm MG FF/M cannon and three fixed forward-firing 7.9mm MG 17 machine guns in lower nose section, one flexible 13 mm MG 131 machine-gun at rear of cockpit. Optional ‘Schräge Musik’ installation in upper fuselage with two 20 mm MG 151 cannon firing obliquely forward
Junkers Ju 88G-1
Role: Night-fighter
Crew: Four
Dimensions:Length (excluding radar) 47 ft 8.5 in (14.54 m), (including SN-2 aerials) 54 ft 1.5 in (16.50 m); Height 15 ft 11 in (4.85 m); Wing Span 65 ft 7.5 in (20.0 m); Wing Area 586.63sq ft (54.5 sq m)
Engine(s): Two 14 cylinder, air cooled, BMW 801D-2 radials of 1,700 hp (1268 kW) each.
Weights: Empty Equipped 20,020 lb (9,081 kg); Normal Take-off 28,870 lb (13,095 kg); Maximum Take-off 32,385 lb (14,690 kg)
Performance: Maximum level speed 356 mph (573 kph) at 27,890 ft (8,500 m) with SN-2 but no upward-firing guns, 342 mph (550 kph) at same altitude with ‘Schräge Musik’ installation; Service ceiling 29,000 ft (8,840 m); Normal range 1,553 mls (2,500 km); Maximum endurance on internal fuel 4.75 hours.
Armament: Four fixed forward-firing 20mm MG 151 cannon in ventral tray with 200 rounds each and one flexible 13 mm MG 131 machine-gun at rear of cockpit with 500 rounds. Optional ‘Schräge Musik’ installation in upper fuselage with two 20 mm MG 151 cannon firing obliquely forward
Junkers Ju 88G-7b
Role: Night-fighter
Crew: Three
Dimensions:Length (excluding radar) 47 ft 8.5 in (14.54 m); Height 15 ft 11 in (4.85 m); Wing Span 65 ft 7.5 in (20.0 m); Wing Area 586.63sq ft (54.5 sq m)
Engine(s): Two liquid cooled, 12 cylinder inverted-Vee, Junkers Jumo 213E of 1,725 hp (? kW) each.
Weights: Empty Equipped 20,503 lb (9,300 kg); Normal Take-off 28,885 lb (13,100 kg); Maximum Take-off 32,353 lb (14,675 kg)
Performance: Maximum level speed 270 mph (434 kph) at sea level, 363 mph (585 kph) at 33,500 ft (10,200 m), 389 mph (626 kph) at 29,529 ft (9,000 m) with MW-50 emergency boost; Cruising speed 348 mph (560 kph) at 29,529 ft (9,000 m); Initial rate of climb 1640 ft/min (500 m/min); Time to 30,185 ft (9,200 m) 26 min 24 sec; Service ceiling 32,810 ft (10,000 m); Normal range 1,398 mls (2,250 km); Endurance (at maximum economical cruising speed) 3.72 hours at 29,800 ft (9,083 m).
Armament: Four fixed forward-firing 20mm MG 151 cannon in ventral tray with 200 rounds each, two fixed oblique upward-firing 20mm MG 151 cannon in dorsal ‘Schräge Musik’ position with 200 rounds each, one flexible 13 mm MG 131 machine-gun at rear of cockpit with 500 rounds.


Design Centre

Head of Design Team: Ernst Zindel (Structural design by W.H. Evers & Alfred Gassner)
Design Office: Junkers Flugzeug und Motorwerke AG, Dessau


Ju 88 Fighter Production by Year:

Year Total Variants
1939 0* Ju 88C-0
1940 62** Ju 88C-2
1941 66 Ju 88C-4/5
1942 257 Ju 88C-6
1943 706 Ju 88C/R
1944 2518 Ju 88C/R/G
1945 355 Ju 88G-6/7
Total: 3964  

* = Conversions only, not new-build.
** = Converted on the production line.

Junkers Ju 88 Production Locations:
Arado at Brandenburg-Neuendorf (A-series bombers only, Nov 1939-Mar 1942 + wings only until Aug 1942)
ATG at Leipzig-Mockau (fuselages & tails, not wings + final assembly 1940-June 1944)
Dornier (North) at Wismar (A-series fuselages and tails, 1939-Jan 1942)
Dornier (South) at Friedrischshafen (A-series bombers only, 1939-Dec 1940)
Heinkel at Oranienburg (complete aircraft 1940-Aug 1942, wings only until March 1943)
Henschel at Berlin-Schönefeld (complete aircraft from mid 1939, night-fighters only 1944-Feb 1945)
Junkers at Bernburg (all variants 1938-1945)
(Fuselages from Aschersleben, wings from Halberstadt, tails from Leopoldshall with assembly at Bernburg)
Siebel at Halle (wings and final assembly, early 1940 – April 1944)
Also factories in Czechoslovakia and France by 1944

Major sub-assemblies produced by Volkswagen at Wolfsburg (tail units for Junkers until mid 1944) and AEG at ?? (tail units for Arado & others until mid 1944).

Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
Ju 88C V1 1 a/c converted ? summer 1939
Ju 88C-0 few A-1 converted ? Jul-Aug 1939
Ju 88C-1 nil    
Ju 88C-2 62+ A-1 converted ? early Summer 1940-end 1940
Ju 88C-3 1 C-2 converted ? 1941
Ju 88C-4 <100 new build ? Sept 1941-spring 1942
Ju 88C-5 10 ? early 1942
Ju 88C-6a ) ? spring 1942
Ju 88C-6b )2,500+ ? late 1942
Ju 88C-6c ) ? Oct 1943-June 1944
Ju 88C-7a ? ? late 1943
Ju 88C-7b ? ? 1943
Ju 88C-7c ? ? 1943
Ju 88C series total c. 3,200*
Ju 88P V1 1 conv A-4 ? Summer 1942
Ju 88P-1 ? conv A-4 ? 1943
Ju 88P-2 ? conv A-4 ? ?
Ju 88P-3 ? conv A-4 ? ?
Ju 88P-4 32 conv A-4 ? 1944
Ju 88P series total ?
Ju 88R-1 ? ? early 1943-early 1944
Ju 88R-2 ? ? 1943-1944
Ju 88R series total ?
Ju 88G V1 1 R-2 converted ? spring 1943
Ju 88G-0 ? ? 1944
Ju 88G-1 ? ? spring 1944
Ju 88G-4 ? ? 1944
Ju 88G-6a ? ? 1944
Ju 88G-6b ? ? 1944
Ju 88G-6c ? ? 1944
Ju 88G-7a ? ? late 1944
Ju 88G-7b ? ? Feb 1945
Ju 88G-7c 10 ? spring 1945
Ju 88G-8 ? ? 1945
Ju 88G-10 ? ? 1945
Ju 88G series total c. 800
Ju 88H-2 10 Merseburg 1943
Mistel 2 125 ? ?
Total: 3964 (fighters)    

* = includes R-series total.

Total Produced: 15,018 a/c (All variants)

Production List

To be added.

More Information


‘Junkers Ju 88 – Star Of The Luftwaffe’
by Manfred Griehl
Published by Arms & Armour Press, Sept 1990 ISBN: 1 85409 043 7
* History and technical development of each variant.

‘Junkers Ju 88’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Ron Mackay
Published by The Crowood Press, Oct 2001 ISBN: 1 86126 431 3
* Comprehensive history of Ju 88.

‘Junkers Ju 88 Over All Fronts’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Joachim Stein
Published by Schiffer Publishing, 1991 ISBN: 0 88740 3123
* Pictorial history of the Ju 88.

‘Junkers Ju 88 In Action Vol 2: Aircraft in Action No.113’
by Brian Filley
Published by Squadron/Signal Publications, July 1991 ISBN: 0 89747 258 6
* Traces the development of the fighter versions. Very well illustrated.

‘The Junkers Ju 88 Night Fighters: Profile No.148’
by Alfred Price
Published by Profile Publications Ltd, 1967 ISBN: n/a
* Concise well illustrated history of the Ju 88C/G variants.

‘German Night Fighter Aces Of World War 2: Osprey Aircraft Of The Aces – 20 [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Jerry Scutts
Published by Osprey Publishing, 1998 ISBN: 1 85532 696 5
* Covers the development, tactics and leading aces of the Luftwaffe night fighter force. Some factual errors.

‘Nachtjagd-The Night Fighter Versus Bomber War Over The Third Reich 1939-1945’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Theo Boiten
Published by The Crowood Press, June 1997 ISBN: 1 86126 086 5
* Traces the parallel development of RAF night bombing and Luftwaffe night fighting during WW2. Very well written.


To be added.


Junkers Ju 88 Image Archive
(26 Ju 88 photos, including fighter versions)

AirWar Europe
(Several good pictures of a Ju 88G)

Junkers Ju 88 Gallery
(Several Ju 88 photos – mostly the bomber version)

Junkers Ju 88
(Concise coverage of the fighter versions)

Warbirds Resource Group – Junkers Ju 88
(Specifications for main versions, including C-6 and G-7b)

WW2 Warbirds: The Junkers Ju 88
(Specifications for main versions and summary table of each different version)

Inspection of Crashed or Captured Enemy Aircraft – Junkers Ju 88
(PDF file of 16th July 1944 official intelligence report)


Flight Simulator Models:
To be added.

Scale Models:
To be added.

Scale Drawings:
‘Junkers Ju 88: Model Art No.444’
Published by Model Art, 1995 ISBN: n/a
* Superbly illustrated modellers guide from Japan.

‘Junkers Ju 88: Aero Detail 20’
Published by Aero Detail, 199? ISBN: n/a
* Another well illustrated modellers guide from Japan.


‘Luftwaffe – Junkers Ju 88’ [Order this video from Amazon UK]
DD Video, Catalogue Number: DD590
* Film profile of the type.

Hawker Hart

Aircraft Profile
Hart S.E.D.B. K4464 of the South African Air
Force. (photo, via author)


The Hawker Hart was possibly the most adaptable aircraft designed during the period between the two great wars. Designer Sydney Camm hit on a formula which originated as a two-seat day bomber that was easily adapted to the single-seat fighter role as well as being used as a seaplane, reconnaissance aircraft and indeed a dive bomber. The variants were given names such as Audax, Demon, Hardy, Hind, Osprey, Hartbees, Fury and Hector. At first glance all were look-alikes except for the Hector which had a Napier Dagger “H” type engine.

The Air Ministry specification 12/26 encouraged Camm to look into the advantages of the low drag water cooled in-line engine so as to gain an increase in speed over the other existing types. The engine chosen was the Rolls-Royce Falcon XI. The airframe of the Hart was to have the smallest frontal area possible but at the same time having 2 crew members, defensive armament and bombs.

A new approach for construction of the airframe was drawn up which constituted a steel tube primary fuselage structure. Also the wings having spars made with rolled steel tubes top and bottom linked with a light gauge metal web. The top wing having a mild sweep back. The aircraft was built to take either a cross axle undercarriage or twin floats. The float version having the larger fin and rudder of the Hawker Osprey so as to offset the added frontal area created by the floats.

The original mock-up was started in 1927 and the prototype (J9052) was first flown powered by the Rolls-Royce Falcon F.XIA and taken into the air by Gp. Capt. Bulman in June 1928. The first public appearance being at the Olympia Aero Show during July 1929.

Service evaluation of the Hart began at the end of 1928 at Martlesham Heath with as many as eight trials between that date and May 1929. The trials were held in competition with the Avro Antelope and the Fairey Fox Mk.2. The result being that the Hart outclassed its competitors with speed, handling & maintenance. The trials culminating with specification 9/29 for a production batch of 15 examples as pre-production aircraft. Twelve of this batch being issued to No.33 Bomber Squadron which was previously equipped with Hawker Horsleys. One example was sent to Risalpur, India, for tropical trials. This aircraft had a rather sad life. First it collided with a Vulture and then was burned out in a hangar fire, some reports indicating rebels as the culprits.

The entire British production of the Hart totalled 984, nearly half of which were trainers. The production being shared by Hawker, Vickers, Gloster and Armstrong Whitworth. In 1936 three out of every four new squadrons were equipped with Hart variants. Eight Harts were exported to Estonia and four Pegasus powered Harts were sent to Sweden, while another twenty-four were built by the Swedish State Aircraft Factory. A developed version know as the Hartbees was produced for the South African Air Force – four being supplied by Hawker and sixty-five built in Pretoria.

Various Harts were used as engine test beds, particularly G-ABTN which undertook trials with the Bristol Jupiter and Pegasus. Others were tested with the Armstrong Siddeley Panther, Bristol Mercury, Rolls Royce P.V.12, Rolls Royce Merlin F, Lorraine Petrel, Hispano-Suiza 12.X and the Napier Dagger, which became the Hawker Hector. The most interesting Hart was G-ABMR. This visited 15 European countries between 1930 and 1936. It wore wheel spats, an Audax hook, Osprey tail, low pressure tyres and a Hind tailwheel on different occasions. It was used for carrying press photographers to and from Brooklands and in full camouflage became used as a ferry pilot taxi during the war. After which it raced in Hawker colours (blue with silver and white trim) and gave appearances at various garden parties. Later it suffered damaged in a forced landing and was lovingly restored, ending up as a static display at the RAF Museum, Hendon. A Hart Trainer (K4972) is also preserved at Hendon.

Hart S.E.D.B. K2442 with 33 Sqn RAF.
(photo, Crown Copyright)
Hart S.E.D.B. K2980 with 600 Sqn
Aux AF. (photo, via author)


Requirement Specification: 12/26 (development), 9/29 (production), 9/31 (Hart India), 8/32 (Hart Trainer)
Manufacturers Designation:

Development History:
Hart project The initial design for the Hart featured a split-axle undercarriage with pneumatic shock-absorbers and a gravity fuel system. I-shape wing struts.
Hart prototype First prototype with F.XIB (Kestrel I) engine. Cross-axle undercarriage with Vickers oleo-pneumatic struts, pump-fed fuel system. N-shape wing struts.
Hart I Standard production bomber version, with Kestrel IB engine of 525 hp.
Hart II Alternative designation for Hart Trainer.
Hart Trainer (Interim) Dual controls trainer conversion of bomber airframe. Kestrel IB engine. Armament removed, original wing retained.
Hart Trainer (Series 2/2A) Production dual controls trainer version. Full second cockpit with windscreen. 2.5 degree wing sweep instead of 5 degrees to maintain cg position after removal of heavy gun-ring. Kestrel IB engine. Armament removed. Later aircraft with derated Kestrel X engine and tailwheel instead of skid. Retrofit with long exhaust pipes common.
Hart private venture Four privately funded aircraft built for development and sales demonstrations. Various engines fitted, including Bristol Jupiter and Pegasus, RR Kestrel V, AS Panther.
Hart Two-Seat Fighter Dedicated 2-seat fighter version for 23 Sqn RAF. Supercharged Kestrel IIS engine. Later developed into Hawker Demon.
Hart (Communications) Version for 24 Sqn RAF for communications duties. No bomb gear or gun armament.
Hart (India) Tropical bomber version with new breather vents in engine cowling, Kestrel IB engine, additional water stowage and supply container racks.
Hart S.E.D.B. Single Engine Day Bomber – official designation for Mk I bomber. Kestrel IB engine.
Hart (Special) Bomber version for Middle East use with lighter derated Kestrel X engine (515 hp), larger radiator and low pressure tyres with main wheel brakes.
Estonian Hart Export version with 525 hp Kestrel IIS engine and interchangeable wheel and float undercarriage.
Swedish Hart Export version for Sweden. 580 hp Bristol Pegasus IM2 radial engine. Hawker-built.
Naval Hart Hart first prototype converted in 1929 for evaluation by Fleet Air Arm. Developed into the Hawker Osprey.
B 4 Redesignation of S 7A aircraft. 580 hp Bristol Pegasus IM2 engine.
B 4A Swedish-built Hart with 580 hp Nohab Mercury VIIA engine.
B 4B Version of B 4A with 755 hp Bristol Perseus XI engine.
S 7A Initial Swedish designation for UK-built Swedish Hart aircraft – later B 4.
Estonian Hart 151 – note the long exhaust
pipes. (photo, via author)
Estonian Hart 152. (photo, via author)


Key Dates:
May 1926    Specification 12/26 issued by Air Ministry
December 1926    Tender for bomber design submitted by Hawker
April 1927    Mock-up of Hart design completed
July 1927    Contract for one prototype placed with Hawker
? June 1928    Maiden flight of Hart first prototype (J9052)
December 1928    RAF evaluation begins
May 1929    First production order for 15 aircraft
July 1929    First public appearance at Olympia Aero Show
25 February 1930    First production delivery to 33 Sqn RAF
7 September 1931    Hart (India) first flight
early 1932    First export order placed by Estonia
20 April 1932    Hart Trainer prototype (K1996) first flight
March 1933    Hart enters service with Auxiliary Air Force
6 January 1934    Swedish Hart first flight
late 1935    RAF begins to replace Hart bomber in regular squadrons
1936    Hart bomber finally withdrawn from regular RAF squadrons
October 1936    Last UK-production Hart delivered
1938    Hart withdrawn from UK front-line service with Aux AF squadrons
July 1939    Last RAF Harts withdrawn from frontline service in India
1939    Hart Trainer replaced in the RAF training role by Harvard and Master
11 January 1940    Swedish Harts join Finland’s Winter War with Russia
1943    SAAF retires Hart from comms duties
1947    Last Swedish Harts retired from service
1972    ‘J9941’ (G-ABMR) presented to the RAF Museum, Hendon
Hart K3012 was an engine testbed – seen here
with Pegasus radial engine in Canada for
cold weather trials. (photo, via author)
Swedish Hart B 4A with Bristol Mercury engine.
(photo, Gillberg, Linköping)


Military Operators

Canada – Air Force (1 new build aircraft for trials)
Egypt – Air Force (14 ex-RAF aircraft)
Estonia – Air Force (8 new build aircraft)
Germany – Luftwaffe (1+ captured)
South Africa – SAAF (320+ Hart/Hart Special)
Southern Rhodesia – Air Force (3 ex-RAF aircraft)
Sweden – Air Force (46 new-build aircraft)
UK – Fleet Air Arm (5 ex-RAF aircraft)
UK – Royal Air Force (7 UK Sqns + 5 India/Middle East; 23 Flying Training Schools)
Yugoslavia – Air Force (4 RAF aircraft on short-term loan)

Government Agencies

UK – A&AEE Boscombe Down (Several used for test duties)

Civilian Operators


G-ABMR ‘J9941’ seen at RAF Wildenrath in the
late 1960s. (photo, Robert Roggeman)


Hawker Hart I/Hart S.E.D.B.
Role: Two-seat light day bomber
Crew: Two
Dimensions: Length 29 ft 4 in (8.94 m); Height 10 ft 5 in (3.17 m) tail down over propeller arc; Wing Span 37 ft 3 in (11.35 m); Wing Area 348.0 sq ft (32.33 sq m)
Engine(s): One liquid-cooled, 12-cylinder Vee, Rolls-Royce Kestel IB of 525 hp (392 kW) – or Kestrel XDR of 510 hp (381 kW).
Weights: Empty Equipped 2,530 lb (1148 kg); Loaded 4,554 lb (2066 kg)
Performance: Maximum level speed 184 mph (296 kph) at 5,000 ft (1524 m); Time to 10,000 ft (3,048 m) 8 min 20 sec; Service ceiling 21,350 ft (6,506 m); Range 470 miles (756 km); Endurance 2 hr 45 min.
Armament: One forward firing .303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers Mk.II or Mk.III machine-gun in port forward fuselage side; one 0.303 Lewis gun on ring mounting in rear cockpit with seven 97-round magazines; up to 520 lb (236 kg) of bombs under lower wings.
Hawker Hart (Trainer)
Role: Tandem two-seat advanced trainer
Crew: Two
Dimensions: Length 29 ft 4 in (8.94 m); Height 10 ft 5 in (3.17 m) tail down over propeller arc; Wing Span 37 ft 4 in (11.38 m); Wing Area 349.5 sq ft (32.47 sq m)
Engine(s): One liquid-cooled, 12-cylinder Vee, Rolls-Royce Kestel IB of 525 hp (392 kW) – or Kestrel VDR or XDR of 510 hp (381 kW).
Weights: Empty Equipped 3,020 lb (1370 kg); Loaded 4,150 lb (1882 kg)
Performance: Maximum level speed 168 mph (270 kph) at 3,000 ft (914 m); Time to 10,000 ft (3,048 m) 6 min 30 sec; Service ceiling 22,800 ft (6,950 m); Range 430 mls (692 km); Endurance 2 hr 30 min.
Armament: None.
Hart Trainer K4972 in the RAF Museum.
(photo, George Canciani)


Design Centre

Head of Design Team: Sydney Camm
Design Office: H. G. Hawker Engineering Co. Ltd, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey. (Hawker Aircraft Ltd 1933+).


H. G. Hawker Engineering Co. Ltd
(Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, UK.)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
Hart proto. 1 Canbury Park Road Oct 1927-May 1928
Hart Mk I 15 Kingston June 1929-Feb 1930
Hart Experimental 4 Kingston 1930-1931
Hart Mk I 32 Kingston Nov 1930-Jan 1931
Hart Trainer proto. 1 conv Audax Kingston early 1932
Hart 2-seat Fighter 6 Kingston 1930-1931
Hart India 50 Kingston Sept 1931-April 1932
Hart India 2 Kingston early 1934
Hart India 5 Kingston early 1937
Hart Bomber 46 Kingston Feb 1932-May 1932
Hart Communications 4 Kingston Feb 1932-May 1932
Hart Trainer (Interim) 2 Kingston early 1932
Hart Trainer 13 Kingston Apr 1933-June 1933
Hart Trainer 21 Kingston Feb 1934
Hart Trainer Srs 2 20 Kingston Mar-Apr 1935
Estonian Hart 8 Kingston 1932
Swedish Hart (B 4) 4 Kingston early 1934
Total: 234    
Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft Co Ltd
(Coventry, West Midlands, UK.)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
Hart S.E.D.B 24 Coventry July 1933-Nov 1933
Hart S.E.D.B 46 Coventry Mar 1934-July 1934
Hart Communications 4* Coventry Mar 1934-July 1934
Hart S.E.D.B 18 Coventry June-July 1934
Hart Communications 2 Coventry July 1934
Hart S.E.D.B 59 Coventry Jan-May 1935
Hart Trainer Srs 2A 167 Coventry July 1935-Feb 1936
Hart Trainer Srs 2A 136** Coventry Mar-Oct 1936
Total: 456    

* not 2 as given in some sources.
** not 146 as given in some sources.

Gloster Aircraft Co Ltd
(Hucclecote, Gloucestershire, UK.)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
Hart Special 16 conv Audax Hucclecote July-Aug 1935
Hart Special 30 Hucclecote Nov 1935-Feb 1936
Total: 46    
Vickers Aircraft Co Ltd
(Weybridge, Surrey, UK.)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
Hart S.E.D.B 65 Weybridge 18 Feb 1932-April 1933
Hart S.E.D.B 45 Weybridge Feb 1934-April 1934
Hart Communications 2 Weybridge Feb 1934-April 1934
Hart Trainer Srs 2A 114 Weybridge May 1935-28 May 1936
Total: 226    
(Trollhattan, Sweden.)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
Swedish Hart (B 4A) 18 Trollhattan 1935-1936
Total: 18    
(Gothenburg, Sweden.)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
Swedish Hart (B 4A) 3 Gothenburg 1935-1936
Total: 3    
Central Workshops of the Air Force (CVM)
(Malmo, Sweden.)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
Swedish Hart (B 4A) 19 Malmo 1935-1936
Swedish Hart (B 4B) 2 Malmo 1935-1936
Total: 21    

Total Produced: 962 a/c in UK + 42 a/c in Sweden = 1004 a/c, (incl. 474 trainers and 460 bombers).

Production List

To be added.

More Information


‘Hawker Aircraft Since 1920’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Francis K Mason
Published by Putnam Aeronautical Books, 1991 ISBN: 0 85177 839 9
* Detailed company history with a chapter on the Hart.

‘British Flight Testing: Martlesham Heath 1920-1939’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Tim Mason
Published by Putnam Aeronautical Books, 1993 ISBN: 0 85177 857 7
* Includes a summary of the aircraft flight testing conducted on the Hart.

‘The British Bomber Since 1914’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Francis K. Mason
Published by Putnam Aeronautical Books, 1994 ISBN: 0 85177 861 5
* Includes a section on the Hart.

‘No.5 – Hawker Hart & derivatives (Aeroguide Classics)’
by Ray Rimell
Published by Linewrights Ltd, May 1989 ISBN: 0-946958-34-3
* Excellent pictorial reference to the Hart.

‘The Hawker Hart: Profile No.57’
by Francis K. Mason
Published by Profile Publications Ltd, 1965 ISBN: n/a
* Concise well illustrated history of the Hart.


Planes Spring 1983
Air Enthusiast No.96 Nov/Dec 2001 & No.97 Jan/Feb 2002
Aeroplane Monthly November 1980
Scale Aircraft Modelling February 1993


wikipedia: Hawker Hart
(concise profile)

Hawker Hart
(British Aircraft of World War II: summary history)

Hawker Hart in Detail
(Close-up photos of Swedish Hart)

Hawker Hart
(British Aircraft Directory: summary of key info)

Hawker Hart
(RCAF use of Hart)


Flight Simulator Models:
To be added.

Scale Models:
To be added.

Scale Drawings:
Scale Aviation Modeller July 2004
Aviation NewsVol.8 No.5


Hawker Hart
(1930s movie of Hart in RAF service)

Avro Vulcan

Aircraft Profile
A 101 Sqn Vulcan B. Mk 1 at RAF St Athan,
Battle of Britain Air Show 1963.
(photo, Keith Mckenzie)


The world’s first delta-winged bomber to reach operational service, the Avro Vulcan was one of the cornerstones of Britain’s nuclear deterrent during the height of the Cold War. In later years it was adapted for conventional bombing and saw active service in the Falklands War. It’s final career was as an airshow star, a role in which it excelled – and may do so again.
The origins of the Vulcan lie in an Air Staff Requirement formulated a year after the end of World War 2. OR 229 called for a high-altitude, high-speed, strategic bomber capable of delivering a single 10,000 lb (4536 kg) nuclear weapon to a target 1725 miles (2780 km) distant. No British atomic bomb existed at the time, and so both the aircraft and weapon would need to be developed in parallel. After some discussions with industry, detailed specification B.35/46 was formally issued in early 1947. Innovative aerodynamic and structural design were required to meet the exacting requirements of this specification and the clear favourite to emerge from the contest was the Avro Type 698, later known as the Vulcan. As an insurance, the runner-up design, the Handley Page HP.80 was also selected for further development (becoming the Victor).

Although unusual in appearance, the Avro design was of conventional design structurally. The delta wing plan-form allowed the engines, undercarriage, fuel and bomb load to be enclosed in a low drag shape which gave good high altitude and high speed performance. The four engines were located in pairs and fed by ‘letterbox’ inlets in the wing root leading edge. The short fuselage, merging into the wing root, was a relatively late addition which gave extra space for internal equipment and the pressurised crew compartment. A single large vertical fin provided directional stability.

An order for two prototype Type 698s was signed in June 1948. A short while later, an additional order was placed with Avro for the development of the Type 707 series of research aircraft. The Avro 707 was intended to investigate the low and high speed characteristics of delta wings, for application to the 698 design. In the event, development ran almost parallel to the Type 698 and only a small amount of useful data was obtained.

The first Type 698 prototype (VX770) took to the air for its maiden flight on 30 August 1952. Development of the intended Bristol Olympus engines was running behind schedule at the time, and so the first aircraft was fitted with four 6,500 lb (2,948 kg) thrust Rolls-Royce Avon R.A.3s. A year later the Avons were replaced by 7,500 lb (3,402 kg) thrust Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire A.S.Sa.6s. The Olympus Mk 100 engine of 9,750 lb (4,423 kg) thrust was first installed on the second prototype (VX777), which was initially flown on 3 September 1953. VX777 featured a 16 in (0.41 m) longer fuselage to increase fuel capacity and accomodate a longer nose leg, a ventral blister for visual bomb aiming and an improved crew compartment. In the meantime, the first production Vulcan B. Mk 1 order had been placed, and the first of these aircraft (XA889) flew on 4 February 1955. XA899 was principally used for engine development, flight testing each upgraded version of the Olympus as it was produced. The B. Mk 1 was successively fitted with Olympus Mk 101, 102 and 104 engines.

Avro test pilot Roly Falk caused a sensation at the 1955 Farnborough Air Show by slow-rolling the second production aircraft during its display. Thus giving a clear demonstration of the control and stability of the still strange-looking aircraft. Flight testing showed that the application of g at high altitude at high Mach numbers could result in aerodynamic buffeting (high frequency vibration), which posed a fatigue problem in the outer wings. This was remedied by reducing the sweep angle on the central portion of the wing, giving a kinked leading edge instead of the previously unbroken 52º sweep. This Phase 2 wing was first flight tested on the second prototype in October 1955 and progressively retrofitted to early production aircraft.
On 31 May 1956, No.230 Operational Conversion Unit (OCU) was formed to train Vulcan crews for Bomber Command. The first crews went on to form No.83 Squadron which received its first aircraft on 11 July 1957. A total of six squadrons were eventually equipped with the B. Mk 1.

In 1956 design work began on a Mk 2 version of the Vulcan. The new variant featured a redesigned wing which was optimised to take advantage of the substantial increases in engine thrust that were expected from new versions of the Olympus engine. Of markedly thinner section, the new Phase 2C wing featured much increased span and area and introduced a kinked trailing edge for the first time. The separate outboard ailerons and inboard elevators of the original wing were replaced by four-section elevons on each side. The second prototype (VX777) began flight testing of the new wing on 31 August 1957. Other changes for the B. Mk 2 included enlarged air intakes and ducting to match the more powerful engines, shortened landing gear, the addition of a gas turbine APU and a new AC electrical system installed. A flight refuelling probe was also added in the nose, an autopilot fitted and an ECM suite installed in the tail cone.

The production line switched over to the Vulcan B. Mk 2 version on the 46th and subsequent aircraft. The first production B. Mk 2 (XH533) flew on 19 August 1958 with Olympus Mk 200 engines, and the first delivery to 230 OCU occurred on 1 July 1960. A substantial improvement in operational altitude and the ability to pull higher g levels was soon demonstrated. From 1960, Olympus Mk 201 engines of 17,000 lb (7,711 kg) thrust were introduced. By 1963, Olympus Mk 301 engines of 20,000 lb (9,072 kg) thrust were being fitted (from aircraft XH557), but no engine retrofit for earlier B. Mk 2s was attempted.
While the Vulcan B. Mk 1 had been designed to deliver a free-fall nuclear bomb (initially Blue Danube and later Yellow Sun) from high altitude, advances in air defence technology were expected to make this approach far too hazardous. Accordingly, the B. Mk 2 was designed to be the launch platform for a new generation of ‘stand off’ nuclear weapons. The first of these was the Avro designed Blue Steel, a rocket-powered supersonic cruise missile with a nuclear warhead, which could be launched 100 miles from the target. Only 57 Blue Steels were produced, and Vulcans equipped to carry it were designated B. Mk 2A. The first such aircraft was delivered in September 1961, and full operational capability was achieved in February 1963. The remaining Vulcan B. Mk 2s were scheduled to receive Skybolt (a US-designed missile with a range of up to 1000 miles), but this programme was cancelled by the USA in December 1962, leaving the RAF without a Blue Steel replacement and facing the eventual demise of its nuclear deterrent role. In 1963 the British Governement opted to procure Polaris nuclear missile submarines instead. In the interim, the British WE177B parachute retarded nuclear weapon was adopted for use on Vulcan B. Mk 2s.

From 1959, many B. Mk 1s were equipped with in-flight refuelling capability. Between October 1960 and March 1963 all the surviving B. Mk 1s received an equipment upgrade which included Olympus Mk 104 engines and the incorporation of an Electronic Counter Measures (ECM) suite in a new enlarged tailcone featuring a prominent radome. The modified aircraft were designated B. Mk 1A. The same tailcone was also used on production B. Mk 2 aircraft.

During 1963 the mission capability of the B. Mk 1A was extended to include low-level ‘under the radar’ mission profiles. The B. Mk 2 followed suit in early 1964. A special terrain following radar was fitted in a nose ‘pimple’ to the latter variant in 1966.

In 1968 the Royal Navy’s Polaris missile equipped submarines took over the role of Britain’s Nuclear Deterrent. The Blue Steel missile was subsequently withdrawn from service and the Vulcan B. Mk 2 switched to the tactical bombing role with conventional and nuclear weapons. The last Vulcan B. Mk 1As were all withdrawn from service by 1968 and the three remaining squadrons re-equipped with the B. Mk 2.

After retirement from squadron service, several B. Mk 1s were used for engine manufacturers flight trails. The Vulcan being ideal for this duty because of its high performance and good ground clearance. A pod containing the test engine was fitted over the bomb bay area and fuel lines etc plumbed in. The TSR 2, Concorde and Tornado programmes all benefitted from this type of testing.
The run-down of the nuclear deterrent force freed up Vulcans for other duties. Nine aircraft were assigned to the long range maritime radar reconnaissance role, replacing the Victor B/SR. 2. Designated B. Mk 2(MRR) these aircraft were modified with the addition of LORAN C navigation equipment and the removal of the terrain following radar thimble in the nose. No.27 Squadron used the aircraft between 1 November 1973 and 31 March 1982. In the mid-1970s, the tips of Vulcan fins acquired fore and aft antennae for an ARI 18228 radar warning receiver.

By 1982 the Vulcan had been in service for far longer than had been originally envisaged. Its replacement, the Panavia Tornado GR.1, started to enter RAF squadron service in January 1982. The run-down of the Vulcan force began with the closure of No.230 OCU in August 1981 and continued with all the Scampton-based units having disbanded by March 1982. Waddington-based units were expected to continue flying the Vulcan for a couple more years but this plan was soon abandoned for economic reasons.

Following the Argentinian invasion of the Falkland Islands in early 1982, five Vulcan B. Mk 2s were earmarked for possible offensive operations. These aircraft were fitted with a Westinghouse AN/ALQ-101 jamming pod under the starboard wing, and an Inertial Navigation System and refurbished flight refuelling probes. Operating from Ascension Island in the South Atlantic – the nearest available base – the Vulcans launched a series of high-profile attacks on the occupying forces on the islands, under the codename Black Buck. Refuelled by Victor tankers, the first raid, Black Buck 1, took place on the night of 30 April/1 May 1982, when XM607 released 21 1,000 lb (454 kg) bombs on the runway at Port Stanley Airport. The result was only a partial success and further bombing sorties were flown. Three other missions were also flown, using AGM-45A Shrike anti-radar missiles to target Argentinian radars. Argentina recognised the potential threat to mainland targets posed by the Vulcan’s ultra long-distance strikes and redeployed its fighter forces away from the south to defend more strategically important parts of the country.

The South Atlantic conflict caused only a short delay in the retirement of the bomber force, the last B. Mk 2 unit disbanding on 31 December 1982. However, the acute shortage of tanker aircraft which arose from the Falklands campaign led to six Vulcans being converted to the air-refuelling tanker role. Designated Vulcan K. Mk 2 – initially B. Mk 2(K) – these aircraft had the ECM suite removed and a Mk 17B hose-drum unit fitted below the tail in a crude box fairing. The bomb bay was filled with three auxiliary fuel tanks. No.50 Squadron operated these aircraft between 21 June 1982 and 31 March 1984. Thus becoming last RAF squadron to operate the Vulcan.

Upon its final retirement, the RAF chose to retain two Vulcans purely for air display purposes. In December 1986, the Vulcan Display Flight was reduced to one aircraft as a cost-cutting measure. Further funding cuts finally forced the last airworthy Vulcan (XH558) into retirement in late 1992. The aircraft was sold to C. Walton Ltd and delivered by air to Bruntingthorpe on 23 March 1993. Subsequently, the aircraft was kept in a serviceable condition for fast taxi runs along the huge runway at Bruntingthorpe. In 1999 agreement was reached between the CAA and the manufacturer (now British Aerospace) as to the civil certification requirements needed to allow the aircraft to fly again. A dedicated organisation, The Vulcan Operating Company, was established to manage the required work and raise funds to pay for it. On 22 June 2004 the Heritage Lottery Fund agreed to provide £2.734m towards restoring XH558 to flying condition. The funding commitment requires a financial contribution from other sources and donations are still actively sought. As of mid 2004, work is progressing well and a return to flight is forecast for 2006.

XA913 at Rolls
Royce Filton, with underslung RB.199 pre production engine.
B. Mk 1A XA913 on a slow pass, RAF Leuchars, seen in 1966.
(both photos, Keith McKenzie)


Requirement Specification: B.35/46
Manufacturers Designation: Avro Type 698

Development History:
first prototype One aircraft with Avon engines. Later successively fitted with Sapphire, Olympus 102, Olympus 104 and Conway engines.
second prototype One aircraft, much closer to production standard. Olympus 100 engines intially. Later flight tested Olympus 101/102/104 engines and new wing for B. Mk 2.
Vulcan B. Mk 1 Initial production version. Olympus 101/102/104 engines.
Vulcan B. Mk 1A Conversion of B. Mk 1 with ECM equipment in enlarged tailcone.
Vulcan B. Mk 2 Improved production version with larger, thinner, wing and uprated Olympus 201 or 301 engines. Later fitted with Terrain Following Radar in nose pimple and ARI.18228 passive radar warning system on top of fin.
Vulcan B. Mk 2A B. Mk 2 converted to carry Blue Steel missile. Olympus 301 engines. Reverted back to B. Mk 2 standard when Blue Steel withdrawn.
Vulcan B. Mk 2BS Alternative designation for B. Mk 2A.
Vulcan B. Mk 2(MRR) 9 conversions of B. Mk 2 for Maritime Radar Reconnaissance role.
Vulcan K. Mk 2 6 conversions of B. Mk 2 for air-refuelling tanker role, with single hose-drum unit under rear fuselage.
Stage 6 Vulcan Projected version of B. Mk 2 designed to carry six Skybolt missiles. Olympus 23 engines and new bigger wing.
Avro Type 700 Atlantic Projected airliner version using Vulcan wing and longer wider fuselage to carry passengers.


B.2 of 230 OCU on final approach
at Finningley in 1968
XH563, with Palouste bleed-air starter unit
plugged in, on a cold foggy October morning
at Scampton in 1968
(both photos, Keith McKenzie)
Key Dates:
7 January 1947    Requirement Specification B.35/46 formally issued
March 1947    Type 698 first sketched out as a pure delta flying wing
27 November 1947    Avro’s design tender to B.35/46 accepted
June 1948    Specification B.35/46 re-issued with amendments
June 1948    Two prototypes ordered
September 1948    Detailed design completed
July 1952    First B. Mk 1 production order
30 August 1952    First prototype maiden flight
October 1952    Type 698 officially named Vulcan by the Air Council
3 September 1953    Second prototype maiden flight
4 February 1955    First production B.1 maiden flight
5 October 1955    Flight testing of second prototype with Phase 2 kinked wing commences
20 July 1956    First B.1 delivery to RAF Bomber Command (230 OCU)
11 July 1957    First B.1 delivery to operational Squadron (83 Sqn)
31 August 1957    Second prototype flies with Mk.2 wing fitted
19 August 1958    First production B.2 maiden flight
30 April 1959    Last B. Mk 1 delivered
1 July 1960    First B.2 delivery to RAF Bomber Command (230 OCU)
October 1960    First B.2 delivery to operational Squadron (83 Sqn)
Oct 1960 – Mar 1963    B.1 to B.1A upgrade programme
February 1963    First operational Blue Steel equipped squadron (617 Sqn)
December 1962    Development of Skybolt missile abandoned
late 1963    Blue Steel trial launches at Woomera
1964    Vulcans switched to low-level attack profiles
14 January 1965    Last B.2 delivered
1966-Jan 1968    B.1As retired from squadron service
1969    Blue Steel missile withdrawn from RAF service – Vulcans tasked with conventional bombing
1 November 1973    First B.2(MRR) conversion delivered to RAF
9 June 1981    Phased retirement of B.2s starts
30 April/1 May 1982    Operation ‘Black Buck 1’ flown in Falklands War
1982    Rapid conversion of 6 a/c to K.2 air refuelling tankers
31 December 1982    Last B.2 squadron disbanded
31 March 1982    B.2(MRR) withdrawn from service
31 March 1984    K.2 withdrawn from service
23 March 1993    Last RAF Vulcan flight. Delivery of XH558 to Bruntingthorpe.
September 1999    Launch of campaign to return a Vulcan to the air
22 June 2004    Heritage Lottery Fund awards £2.7m for restoration of Vulcan XH558 to flying condition
2006    Planned first flight of restored Vulcan XH558


Military Operators

UK – Royal Air Force (B.1: 6 sqns + OCU; B.2: 11 sqns + OCU)

Government Agencies

UK – RAE Farnborough (A few on loan for test duties)

Civilian Operators

Bristol Siddeley/Rolls-Royce (At least 2 B. Mk 1s loaned for engine test bed use)
The Vulcan Operating Company (One B. Mk 2 restored to flying condition)


Avro Vulcan B.Mk.1
Role: Long range strategic medium bomber
Crew: 5
Dimensions: Length 97 ft 1 in (29.59 m); Height 26 ft 6 in (7.95 m); Wing Span 99 ft 0 in (30.18 m); Wing Area 3554.0 sq ft (330.18 sq m)
Engine(s): Four Bristol Olympus 101 turbojets of 11,000 lb (4990 kg) st, or Olympus 102 of 12,000 lb (5443 kg) st or Olympus 104 of 13,000 lb (6078 kg) st.
Weights: Empty (including crew) 83,573 lb (37,144 kgs); Maximum Take-off 170,000 lb (77,111 kg)
Performance: Maximum level speed Mach 0.95 (625 mph, 1006 kph) at 39,375 ft (12,000 m); Cruising speed Mach 0.92 (607 mph, 977 kph) at 50,000 ft (15,241 m); Service ceiling 55,000 ft (16,765 m); Range 3000 mls (4,830 km).
Armament: No defensive guns. Conventional or free-fall nuclear bomb-load carried internally. Maximum bomb-load 21,000 lb (9,526 kg).
Avro Vulcan B.Mk.2
Role: Long range strategic medium bomber
Crew: 5
Dimensions: Length 99 ft 11 in (30.45 m) initially, 100 ft 1 in (30.50 m) over nose ‘pimple’, 105 ft 6 in (32.15 m) with refuelling probe; Height 27 ft 2in (8.28 m); Wing Span 111 ft 0 in (33.83 m); Wing Area 3964.0 sq ft (368.27 sq m)
Engine(s): Four Bristol Siddeley Olympus 201 turbojets each rated at 17,000 lb (7711 kg) st, or Olympus 301 turbojets each rated at 20,000 lb (9072 kg) st.
Weights: Empty Equipped ? lb (? kg); Normal Take-off 179,898 lb (81,600 kg); Maximum Take-off 200,180 lb (90,800 kg)
Performance: Maximum level speed Mach 0.75 (528 mph, 850 kph) at sea level, Mach 0.96 (645 mph, 1038 kph) at 39,375 ft (12,000 m); Maximum Cruising speed Mach 0.95 (627 mph, 1009 kph) at 55,100 ft (16,800 m); Service ceiling 64,960 ft (19,800 m); Combat radius on internal fuel 1,710-2300 mls (2750-3700 km); Ferry range 4,750 mls (7,650 km), lo-lo mission 3,450 miles (5550 km) without refuelling, 5,750 miles (9256 km) with one in-flight refuelling.
Armament: No defensive guns. Conventional (21 1,000 lb (454 kg) bombs) or nuclear bomb-load in internal bomb bay or provision for one Blue Steel ‘stand off’ bomb in semi-recessed installation. Many aircraft also included underwing attachment points for the Skybolt missile, which could be later used for the cariage of Shrike missiles and ECM pods.


Design Centre

Head of Design Team: Roy Chadwick (Stu Davies from August 1947)
Chief Aerodynamicist: Eric Priestly (later Roy Ewans)
Project Designer: J.G. Willis (later G.A. Whitehead)
Design Office: A.V. Roe & Co Ltd, Chadderton, Manchester.


A.V. Roe & Co Ltd (From 1963 Hawker Siddeley Aviation Ltd)
(Woodford Airfield, Manchester, UK)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
Vulcan prototypes 2 Woodford Sept 1948-Sept 1953
Vulcan B. Mk 1 45 Woodford 1954-Mar 1959
Vulcan B. Mk 2 89 Woodford 1958-Dec 1964

Total Produced: 136 a/c (All variants)

Production List

See ‘The Vulcan Story’ listed below.

More Information


‘The Vulcan Story’
by Tim Laming
Published by Arms & Armour Press, 1993 ISBN: 1 8540 9148 4
* Extremely detailed authoritative history of all aspects of the Vulcan.

‘The Vulcan Story 1947-2002’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Tim Laming
Published by Cassell Military, 11 April 2002 ISBN: 0 304 358 45 2
* Comprehensive reference. Updated version of above title?

‘Avro Vulcan – Postwar Military Aircraft: 4’
by Andrew Brookes
Published by Ian Allan Ltd, 1996 ISBN: 0 7110 1548 1
* Concise comprehensive history.

‘The ‘FOBS KID’ Syndrome – Vulcan Bombers In Action’
by Crew Chief Barry Goodwin
Published by ?, 2001 ISBN: ?
* Memories of a RAF crew chief who looked after Vulcans on the ground. (Reportedly, certain incidents attributed to the author actually occurred to fellow squadron members.)

by Tim Laming
Published by Patrick Stephens Ltd, 1996 ISBN: ?
* Covers all three V-bombers and Britain’s Nuclear Deterrent.

‘The Vulcan B.Mk 2 From A Different Angle’
by Craig Bulman
Published by Carnegie Publishing, 2001 ISBN: 1 858218 99 3
* History of the Vulcan bomber.

‘V-Bombers: Valiant, Vulcan and Victor’
by Barry Jones
Published by Crowood Press, 2001 ISBN: ?
* Development and operation of all three V-bombers.

‘Vulcan: Last Of The V-Bombers’
by Duncan Cubitt & Ken Ellis
Published by Osprey Publications Ltd, 1993 ISBN: 1 855322 92 7
* Collection of colour photos of Vulcans. Mostly the B.2 version and many of XH558 in action.

‘Avro Vulcan B.2 – Aeroguide 6’
by R Chesneau & R Rimell
Published by Linewrights Ltd, 1985 ISBN: 0 946958 05 X
* Modellers reference guide with markings and close-up photos of the B.2 version.

‘Royal Air Force Avro Vulcan: Warbird Tech 26’
by Kev Darling
Published by Speciality Press, 1999 ISBN: 1 58007 023 X
* Development history with reprints from Vulcan technical manuals.

‘Avro Vulcan: Warpaint No.30’
by Kev Darling
Published by Hall Park Publications, 2001 ISBN: ?
* Concise history with markings details and scale drawings.

‘Avro Aircraft Since 1908’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by A J Jackson
Published by Putnam Aeronautical Books, 1990 ISBN: 0 85177 834 8
* Detailed company history with a chapter on the Vulcan.

‘Wings Of Fame Volume 3’
Published by Aerospace Publishing, 1996 ISBN: 1 874023 70 0 (pb)/1 874023 76 X (hb)
* Includes well written 62-page feature on the Vulcan.


To be added.


Aviation Picture Hangar – Avro Vulcan
* Collection of colour photos of preserved Vulcans and some b+w in-service photos

Vulcans in Camera
* Superb collection of Vulcan in-service pics, mostly from the 1970s

The Mighty Vulcan – Tribute To A lady
* Collection of Vulcan photos – mostly XH558, including some cockpit details

Avro Vulcan – The Delta Lady
* Vulcan history, news & decent photo gallery

The Avro Vulcan Pages
* Lots of Vulcan info but last updated April 1999

Thunder & Lightnings Vulcan page
* Vulcan history, complete survivors list and a lot of nice photos

Vulcan Restoration Trust
* Website dedicated to XL426 at Southend

The Vulcan Operating Company
* The group restoring XH558 to flying condition. News, webcam, fund raising etc

Vulcan 558 Club
* Official supporters site for XH558 at Bruntingthorpe

Avro Vulcan Walk Around
* Detailed close-up photos of the Duxford and Newark Vulcans

RAF Waddington – Avro Vulcan
* Vulcan background, operations at Waddington, nice photos

Famous Vulcans
* Website dedicated to Vulcans XA903 and XH537 experimental testbeds with history, pics, Vulcan merchandise

Avro Vulcan XL319
* Site dedicated to the Vulcan at the North East Aircraft Museum

Mike’s Vulcan Pages
* Collection of photos of preserved Vulcans, very nice XH558 pics


Flight Simulator Models:
To be added.

Scale Models:
To be added.

Scale Drawings:
See the Aeroguide and Warpaint titles listed above.


‘Vulcan – A Farewell To Arms’ [Order this video from Amazon UK]
DD Video, 1993, Catalogue Number: DD580
* Profile of the Vulcan and record of its final appearance at Cranfield on 20 September 1992.

‘Vulcan Squadron – Delta 8-3 – A story of a Vulcan Aircraft and its crew’ [Order this video from Amazon UK]
Catalogue Number: BF126
* Follows a Vulcan crew through training and active service in the late 1950s.

‘Avro Vulcan’ [Order this video from Amazon UK]
Catalogue Number: CHV2145
* Profile of the Vulcan bomber.

Beriev Be-12 ‘Mail’

Aircraft Profile
Be-12P-200 RA-00046.
(photo, Leonid Faerberg)


Two previously unknown types of large flying boat made their first appearance at the Soviet Aviation Day flypast of 1961. The swept wing, jet powered, Beriev Be-10 was one of the stars of the show; whilst another Beriev design, the turboprop engined Be-12 attracted little attention. Widely assumed to be a simple conversion of the 1949 vintage Be-6, the Be-12 was overlooked in many contemporary press reports. Not long after, however, the Soviet Naval Air Force chose the Be-12 to be the standard equipment of its coastal anti-submarine force, and the Be-10 was never to be seen in public again. Three decades on, the Be-12 was still in widespread service around Russia’s coasts, and had become renown for its versatility and robustness.

The Beriev Design Bureau, located at Taganrog near Rostov on the Azov Sea, has vast experience of designing ocean-going flying boats. Formed on August 6, 1934, with Georgii Mikhailovich Beriev as chief designer, it was responsible for the hugely successful MBR-2 short range reconnaissance flying boat of World War 2. This was followed in 1947 by the Be-6 (NATO code name ‘Madge’), a long range reconnaissance flying boat in a similar class to the Martin PBM Mariner, which featured a gull wing arrangement for mounting its two piston engines. Beriev’s next major design was the Be-10, a large twin-jet fast attack flying boat, with sharply swept wings and tail surfaces, powered by two Lyulka AL-7RV turbojets tucked under the wing roots.

In the late nineteen-fifties, the US Navy began development of the first Polaris nuclear missile submarines (the SSBN-608 USS George Washington class, first commissioned on December 30, 1959). Due to range and accuracy limitations, the Polaris A-1 missile needed to be launched from a position fairly close to the coast of the target country – especially one as large as the Soviet Union. Consequently, the AV-MF (Aviatsiya Voenno-Morskovo Flota – Soviet Naval Air Force) issued a requirement in 1956 for an aircraft capable of detecting and killing nuclear missile submarines in the coastal waters of the USSR.

It was anticipated that surface ships or shore based direction finding stations would indicate the approximate location of an enemy submarine. An ASW aircraft would then follow up with short range radar, MAD probe and sonobouys to locate and classify the target. An attack would then take place, usually in co-operation with surface ships. Although the Be-6 had been progressively updated, the AV-MF needed a larger aircraft capable of carrying all the necessary weapons and up-to-date sensor equipment.

Accordingly, while development of the Be-10 continued, Beriev began work on a completely new design for a slower more comprehensively equipped aircraft. In the late fifties, Beriev is thought to have flown an experimental Be-6 converted with turboprop engines. This probably led to consideration of a turboprop powered aircraft based on the Be-6 layout. In the event, the new design shared only the gull-wing layout and twin tail of the old Be-6. A design proposal was submitted to officials in November 1957 and soon accepted. The Be-12 was only slightly smaller than the Be-10, but much lighter, and with a similar hull shape.

Both the Be-10 and Be-12 were first revealed to the rest of the world at the Soviet Aviation Day Airshow at Tushino Airport, Moscow, on July 9, 1961. During the two hour flypast, a formation of four Be-10s was followed by a single example of the Be-12. Western observers were informed that the Be-10 had already entered AV-MF service, and assumed that the Be-12 was merely a one-off turboprop development of the ageing Be-6. The NATO reporting names ‘Mallow and ‘Mail’ were allocated to the Be-10 and Be-12 respectively. At this time, Western naval air forces were rapidly phasing out the use of maritime patrol flying boats, in favour of more efficient long-range landplane types such as the Lockheed P-3 Orion and Avro Shackleton, and it was widely expected that the Soviet Union would follow suit.

In the meantime, the AV-MF had discovered that the emphasis on performance had imposed serious limitations in the operational capability of the Be-10. Further development of the Be-10 was therefore cancelled in favour of using land-based Tupolev Tu-16 ‘Badger’ bombers adapted for the naval role. In contrast to the Be-10, the Be-12 prototypes were fitted with an extensive sensor fit, including a Magnetic Anomaly Detection probe, and a small internal weapons bay in the rear hull, as well as external wing pylons. The first prototype retained the retractable ‘dustbin’ search radar installation used on the Be-6, and made its first flight on 18 October 1960. Unfortunately it crashed on 24 November 1961 with the loss of 3 crew, after mishandling by the pilots. The second prototype feature a number of design changes, including relocation of the engines from below the wings to above the wings, and the addition of a prominent nose search radar in place of the ventral ‘dustbin’. It made its first flight in 1962 and immediately resumed service trials. With long endurance and the potential for taking over many of the Be-6s secondary roles as well, the Be-12 was approved for AV-MF service.

Series production started in 1963, at GAZ 86 at Taganrog. Production ceased in 1973 after a run of 143 aircraft (including prototypes). Production then switched to the Tupolev Tu-142 Bear-F. The Be-12 officially entered service with the AV-MF in Spring 1964. The semi-official nickname of ‘Tchaika'(Seagull) was quickly given because of its wing form. Its main role was ASW patrol, operating out to 345 nm (500 km, 310 miles) from shore. By 1967 the Be-12 had replaced the Be-6 in front-line duties and began to take on second line roles. These eventually included coastal surveillance, multi-sensor reconnaissance, anti-shipping patrol, photographic survey, naval co-operation, transport, and Search and Rescue.

The Be-12 made another airshow appearance on July 9, 1967. Three aircraft taxied out and took-off at the start of the military portion of the Soviet Aviation Day display at Domodedevo Airport. This time there was no mistaking their operational status.

Over the years, the Beriev Be-12 has gained a total of 44 FAI recognized world records for aircraft in its class – all the records possible! During the period October 23-27, 1964, a stripped down aircraft designated M-12 set six new climb to height records for Class C.3 Group II turboprop amphibians, including an altitude of 12,185 m (39,977 ft) without payload, and an altitude of 9,352 m (30,682 ft) with 10,000 kg (22,046 lb) payload. These were followed by various speed and payload records. A pure flying boat version, with landing gear deleted, has also established a number of records in Class C.2 Group II for turboprop flying boats, using the same M-12 designation.

A number of equipment improvements were made during and after the production run of the Be-12. The initial ASW avionics suite was progressively upgraded. The original drum-shaped nose radome was replaced from about 1970 by a new radome which was flattened top and bottom to an oval shape. This was noticeable because the original radome had been plain grey in colour, while the new shape was coloured white over it’s lower three-quarters. ESM receivers and a tail warning system were also added and the engines were upgraded from the AI-20D series 3 to the series 4 standard.

From the mid 1960s, US Navy SSBN submarines were progressively equipped to carry the improved Polaris A-3 missile, which featured a much longer range and enhanced accuracy. This allowed effective submarine operations to take place much further away from the Soviet coast. Thus the coastal ASW patrol role of the Be-12 declined in importance from 1970 onwards, in favour of more secondary roles. At the same time, anti-submarine operations were increasingly taken over by specialised shipboard ASW helicopters and more sophisticated Il-38 ‘May’ landplanes.

As a result, from 1972 onwards four surplus aircraft were converted to the high speed Search and Rescue role and designated Be-12PS (Poiskovo-Spasatelynyi – Search Rescue). Equipment changes included the removal of ASW equipment and the addition of a big fuselage door under the starboard wing trailing edge. Ten new-build aircraft were also produced to this standard. An earlier attempt at producing a dedicated SAR variant, the Be-14, had been abandoned as the extensive changes specified – including removal of the main weapons bay, installation of a floor inside the fuselage and removal of the MAD detector boom – proved too costly.

Like the Be-6 before it, the Be-12 took on many non-military tasks for the Soviet/Russian government, such as fishery protection, whaling patrol, Arctic base supply transport, mapping, geophysical survey, utility transport etc…these missions were flown by standard AV-MF aircraft. The aircraft is highly regarded by crews, being highly reliable and very manoeuvrable, with powerful responsive engines. However, flying in it is a test of endurance, since the noise and vibration from the engines is particularly penetrating.

Following the break-up of the Soviet Union, the Beriev factory attempted to gain commercial sales from various versions of the Be-12. Seven redundant ASW examples were acquired from the AV-MF in 1991 for refurbishment and conversion.

Two aircraft were converted to the fire-bomber role, designated Be-12P (Protivopozarnyi – Fire protection). The modifications included the addition of twin water scoops mounted behind the hull step, and the installation of a metal 4.5 tonne capacity water tank in the rear weapons bay. Two further 0.75 tonne capacity water tanks were fitted in the forward stores position behind the cockpit, with extra drop doors in the hull below. Small overflow portholes were also fitted in the upper fuselage over the water tanks. Conversion work took place at the Irkutsk factory in Northern Siberia near Lake Baikal, with thorough drop testing trials at Taganrog during 1992. The first prototype Be-12P was a refurbished ASW machine coded yellow 40. This machine flew in standard AV-MF colours. A second prototype, registered RA-00073, flew in demonstrator colours and has appeared at the MAKS Moscow air show. Beriev eventually abandoned certification plans in favour of the more capable Be-200 jet amphibian.

Three other ex-military aircraft were converted during 1992-93 to Be-12NKh cargo transport aircraft, with an enlarged cargo hatch in the fuselage and the removal of all ASW equipment. Unfortunately, two of the aircraft suffered accidents and this project was abandoned.

The aircraft was obviously extremely well built, since aircraft returned to Taganrog for conversion showed virtually no signs of corrosion after years of service.

The Be-12 has served with all four of the Soviet Fleet’s Naval Aviation forces during its career: Black Sea, Northern, Baltic and Pacific. Peak strength in the mid 1970s comprised four full aviation regiments (some twelve squadrons of eight aircraft each), together with a number of independent squadrons. During the 1970s some of these regiments partially re-equipped with the Ilyushin Il-38 ‘May’, but in 1990 the Be-12 still outnumbered the newcomer by 1.5:1. Very low attrition has kept the number in service at a steady 75-90 aircraft since the early 1980s.

In an attempt to improve the surveillance of the US 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean, three Be-12s of the Black Sea Fleet deployed to Cairo West (and later to Mersa Matruh), Egypt, from 1968. The aircraft appeared in full Egyptian air force markings, including aircraft serial number 4385, but were AV-MF crewed and operated. These aircraft operated alongside AV-MF Tu-16s initially, and later with Il-38s, both types in Egyptian markings. The aircraft departed in July 1972 when President Sadat severed ties with the USSR.

Four aircraft were exported to Vietnam in 1981. Specially adapted to tropical operations these aircraft operated from Cam Ranh Bay, to watch over the US 7th Fleet. Reports of the Be-12 operating from Syria have not been substantiated. Despite some reports, the type was not supplied to China.

At midnight on December 31, 1991, the Soviet Union was officially dissolved and most its constituent states recombined as the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States). The Russian Federation Navy took over operations of most former Soviet naval air force aircraft. Ukraine declined to join the CIS, and Russia was faced with ceding control of any Black Sea fleet aircraft and bases on Ukraine territory to the Ukrainian Navy. Fortunately, a deal was negotiated to divide the assets between the two countries.

According to official figures released in 1993, the Russian Navy had some 55 operational Be-12s in service (plus 22 in reserve storage), compared to only 36 Ilyushin Il-38s. By 2005 this number had dwindled to only twelve.

Whether hunting submarines, flying rescue missions or supplying Arctic bases, the versatile Be-12 amphibian has been faithfully serving the CIS and USSR for over forty years. With no direct replacement in sight, the Be-12 looks set to soldier on well into the 21st century. A remarkable record for an aircraft configuration regarded in the West as obsolete in 1960, four years before it even entered service.

Be-12 ‘6’. (photo, US Navy) Be-12 ’24’. (photo, US Navy)


Requirement Specification: Not known
Manufacturers Designation: Izdeliye ‘Ye’

Development History:
Be-12 1st prototype Two AI-20 engines mounted in nacelles under the wing. Initsiativa-2B Radar in retractable ventral ‘dustbin’, not in nose. Gun turret on rear fuselage. Wingtip anti-flutter weights added later.
Be-12 2nd prototype Engines located in nacelles above the wing. Nose mounted radar. Gun turret deleted.
Be-12 Initial production version of standard ASW variant. Cylindrical ‘drum’ radome for Initsiativa-2B nose radar. AI-20DK engines located above the wings. (Izdeliye Ye)
Be-12 Late production/retrofit. Initsiativa-2B radar in wider ‘oval section’ radome. AI-20DM engines. ESM receivers and RWR added. (Izdeliye Ye)
Be-12 Four aircraft with specially modified engines and equipment for tropical operation. Exported to Vietnam 1981.
Be-12 One aircraft fitted with dummy in-flight refuelling probe mounted above the nose for flight tests in the 1970s.
Be-12 Two aircraft modified to test Gagara-1 infra-red submarine sensor. Receiver head installed in special hatch behind weapons bay. 1968-70. One additional aircraft modified 1983 for testing improved Nablyudatel-1 IR sensor.
Be-12 One aircraft modified to test anti-icing systems. ASW equipment in cabin removed to accommodate test equipment and engineers. late 1960s-early 1970s.
M-12 Stripped-down example of Be-12 used for record breaking flights. All unnecessary equipment removed and engines tuned. Crew reduced to two. Holds 42 FAI world records for turboprop amphibians. Later returned to standard configuration.
Be-12EKO Designation applied to projected version for ecological monitoring. 1991. Not built
Be-12I Designation applied projected version for civil scientific research. Various sensors fitted. 1991. Not built
Be-12LL One aircraft modified to test homing system of 3M-80 ‘Moskit’ anti-shipping missile. Nose radar replaced by conical missile seeker head. Monitoring equipment in weapons bay. 1980.
Be-12N ASW version fitted with computer-controlled Nartsiss search/attack system. Revised avionics, new MAD sensor, Initsiativa-2BN radar, new sonobuoys. (Izdeliye YeN)
Be-12NKh Civil passenger/cargo transport version. ASW equipment removed and enlarged hatch installed. Additional cabin windows for passengers. Three Be-12 converted 1992-93.
Be-12P Fire-bomber version with MAD and ASW gear removed and 4500 lit tank installed in central hull and 2 x 750 lit tanks further forward – filled by water scoops. Water dumping system installed. Four Be-12 converted 1992. (Izdeliye YeP)
Be-12P-200 Fire-bomber version similar to Be-12P but used to test equipment intended for Be-200 amphibian. One Be-12 converted 1994.
Be-12PS Reduced specification maritime SAR variant carrying life rafts and survival kit in droppable capsules. Extra fuselage hatch under starboard wing trailing edge. 6 crew. MAD tail sting retained to maintain aircraft c.g. position. Daylight operation only. (Izdeliye 3Ye)
Be-12SK One aircraft converted to carry SK-1 nuclear depth charge. Electrically heated weapons bay. 1961. (Izdeliye YeSK)
Be-14 Advanced all-weather day/night SAR version with weapons bay replaced by flat floor space. Special SAR and medical equipment. Large door on port side. No MAD tail sting. 6 crew. AI-20D engines. Only one built. (Izdeliye 2Ye)
Be-12 ’25’ yellow at Monino Museum.
(photo, not known)
Be-12 ’20’ yellow.
(photo, Russian Navy)


Key Dates:
28 March 1956    Soviet Government issues official requirement for an aircraft to replace the Be-6.
November 1957    Be-12 initial design submitted for approval.
30 June 1960    First prototype Be-12 completed.
18 October 1960    Maiden flight of first prototype.
9 July 1961    First public appearance of first prototype – at Tushino airshow.
24 November 1961    First prototype crashes, with loss of 3 crew.
2 March 1962    Work begins on Be-14 variant.
September 1962    Second prototype Be-12 completed.
19 July 1963    State testing commences.
12 December 1963    First Be-12 production aircraft completed.
Spring 1964    Be-12 enters AV-MF service.
23-27 October 1964    M-12 makes initial series of record-setting flights.
20 April 1965    State testing finished.
1965    Be-14 prototype completed.
29 November 1968    Be-12 officially accepted for AV-MF service.
Summer 1972    First Be-12PS conversion completed.
November 1973    Series production ends with last new-build Be-12PS.
April 1976    Be-12N enters service.
27 April 1992    Prototype Be-12P firebomber makes maiden flight.
23 July 1993    Be-12P used to fight fire near village of Listvianka.
6-11 October 1994    Be-12NKh used to deliver 30T of cargo to earthquake victims in Yuzhno-Kurilsk.
Be-12 ’83’. (photo, US Navy) Be-12 ’85’ yellow. (photo, US Navy)


Military Operators

“Egypt” (3 AV-MF aircraft in UAR markings 1968-71)
Russia – AV-MF (navy)+VVS (air force) 140 Be-12/Be-12PS/Be-12N aircraft
Ukraine – Navy 14 Be-12/Be-12PS/Be-12N aircraft
Vietnam – Air Force 4 Be-12

Government Agencies

Russia – Avialesoochrana (Federal Forestry Service) 2 Be-12P

Civilian Operators

TANTK Beriev various for test and sales demonstrations
Be-12P demonstrator RA-00073 taxying.
(photo, Gerard Helmer)
Front view of Be-12 showing the hull shape.
(photo, Peter de Jong)


Beriev Be-12
Accomodation: Four: 2 pilots, navigator, radio/sensors operator
Dimensions: Length 30.11 m (98 ft 9 in); Height 7.94 m (26 ft 1 in); Wing Span 29.84 m (97 ft 11 in); Wing Area 99.00 sq m (1,066 sq ft)
Engines: Two 3,863 kW (5,180 shp) ZMDB Progress (Ivchenko) AI-20DK or AI-20DM turboprop engines.
Weights: Empty operating 24,500 kg (54,013 lb), Max Take-off 36,000 kg (79,366 lb).
Performance: Max. Level Speed 285 kts (530 km/h, 329 mph) at 10,000 ft (3,050 m); Cruising speed 173 kts (320 km/h, 199 mph) at 1000 ft (300 m); Initial rate of climb 912 m (2,990 ft) per minute; Service ceiling 11,000 m (36,090 ft) reduced to 8,000 m (26,246 ft) during service; Range with full payload 810 nm (1500 km, 932 miles); Max ferry range with full equipment 4047 nm (7500 km, 4660 miles).
Armament: Depth charges and sonobuoys in internal fuselage bays. Provision for one large and one small external stores pylon under each outer wing panel, for mines, bombs, Anti Shipping Missiles and homing torpedoes or rockets. Maximum weapons load 3000 kg (6,614 lb), normal weapons load 1500 kg (3307 lb).
Water take-off for the Be-12P-200.
(photo, Jos Schoofs)
The distinctive taxi stance of the Be-12P-200.
(photo, Jim Newton)


Design Centre

Head of Design Team: G.M. Beriev (basic design), Viktor Ponomaryov (civil conversions)
Design Offices: OKB Beriev, 1 Aviatorov Square, 347923, Taganrog, Russia*


Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
Be-12 prototypes 2 Taganrog 1959-Sept 1962
Be-12 130 Taganrog 1963-June 1973
Be-14 1 Taganrog 1965
Be-12PS 10 + 4 conv. Taganrog/Yevpatoria 1972-Nov 1973
Be-12N (27 conv.) Yevpatoria 1976-1977
Be-12NKh (2 conv.) Taganrog 1992-1993
Be-12P (4 conv.) Irkutsk 1992-1994
Be-12P-200 (1 conv.) Taganrog 1995
Total: 143    

Total Produced: 143 a/c (all variants)
* later Joint Stock Company TANTK named for G.M. Beriev, Taganrog.

Production List

‘More Than Half a Century of Soviet Transports’ Aviation Hobby Shop
by Peter Hilman et al.
The Aviation Hobby Shop, UK, June 2004   ISBN: ?
* Includes Be-12 production list

Topside pass for the Be-12P-200.
(photo, Jos Schoofs)

More Information


‘Beriev Be-12 Amphibian Aircraft’ (AviaPress Bookshop)
by Anatoliy Artemyev
Major, Ukraine, 2001   ISBN: 5 93445 007 7
* Very well illustrated history of the Be-12, with scale plans. English summary text.

‘Samolety TANTK G.M. Berieva 1945-1968’ (AviaPress Bookshop)
by G.S. Panatov, A.N. Zablotskii i A.I. Sal’nikov

Restart+, Russia, 2001    ISBN: 5 94141 003 4
* Detailed history of all postwar Beriev aircraft, including unbuilt projects. Many illustrations.

‘Samolet-amfibija Be-12’ (AviaPress Booskhop)
by A.N. Zablotskii
Eksprint, Russia, 2001   ISBN: 5-94038-016-6
* Complete history of the Be-12, with many photos.

‘Protivolodochnye Samolety’ (AviaPress Booskhop)
by Anatoliy Artemyev
AST, Russia, Jan 2002   ISBN: 5 27103 870 X
* Comprehensive history of postwar AV-MF ASW aircraft, including 5 chapters on the Be-12.

International Air Power Review Vol.4
AIRtime Publishing, UK, Spring 2002    ISBN: 1 880588 38 2
* Includes 14 page Variant File article on the Be-12


Aviatsija i Vremya No.3 1997
* Beriev Be-12 amphibious aircraft story + scale plans
Aviatsiya Aviation Magazine No.12bis
* Feature articles on various Beriev aircraft
Air International August 1995
* Includes feature article on the Be-12 with cutaway drawing

* The official Beriev website
* 2 pages of good quality photos

Sea Wings: Beriev Be-12 ‘Mail’ Gallery
* 28 colour photos

Wikipedia: Beriev Be-12
* Brief history and spec

Beriev Be-12 Chaika
* Be-12 photographic walk-around

Wings Palette
* 5 col profiles of Be-12s, including the prototype

Amphibian Be-12
* Brief history, description, spec

* Brief history, spec, photos

Moscow Airshow
* 6 photos of the Be-12P-200

Russian Warrior
* Spec plus several USN/NATO b+w intercept photos of Be-12s in action

Airplane Be-12P-200
* Features, photo, spec, 3-view drwg

HydroAviation Show, Gelendzhik
* Several nice Be-12P-200 firebomber photos (including interior)

Be-12 Chaika
* Russian text profile: history, variants, spec, photos, drwg)

Sevastopol Fleet
* 8 good photos of Be-12s in current AV-MF service.


Flight Simulator Models:
To be added.

Scale Models:
To be added.

Scale Drawings:
Beriev Be-12 ‘Mail’ Plans Gallery


To be added.