Lancaster Production

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.