Britain's Avro Lancaster is the newest of the RAF's "Big Three" heavy bombers. The other two, in the order they went into action, are the Short Stirling and the Handley-Page Halifax. All three conform generally to the same classification, although a bit the greater emphasis is being placed on the Lancaster. Originally, the Lancaster was the twin-engined Avro Manchester. Trouble with the engine intended for the Manchester caused the change to four 1,280-hp Rolls-Royce Merlin XXs; the Lancaster II is equipped with four 1,600-hp Bristol Hercules radials, and is manufactured in Canada.
The Lancaster is a weight-carrying behemoth. Its normal bomb load is 7.9 tons, but the airplane's maximum overload permits an additional ton to be added for short missions. Empty, the Lancaster weighs a little over 17 tons. In its maximum overload condition, it weighs over 31 tons. Wing span is 102', giving the ship a wing loading of 49.7 psf. Length is 69' 4", height is 20'. Most serious fault in the Lancaster is its lack of defensive armament. Its 10 .30-caliber machine guns compare unfavorably with the 13-plus .50-caliber guns in the Boeing Fortress.
This article was originally published in the March, 1943, issue of Flying including Industrial Aviation magazine, vol 32, no 3, p 41.
The original article includes 4 photos.
Photographs from Black Star and British Combine.