Bristol Centaurus: any luck for an earlier deployment?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by tomo pauk, Sep 22, 2012.

  1. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Hi,
    The powerful radial engine was powering the 3rd Hawker Tornado prototype in late 1941, yet the production status was reached only at the end of war. I'd like to know more about the engine's development during the ww2, and also would like to hear an assessment about the possibility of earlier deployment in combat aircraft.
     
  2. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    I would guess that late 1943 or early 44 would be the soonest that any production engines/aircraft would be available in numbers. The 2nd Vickers Warwick prototype flew with Centaurus engines in the spring/summer of 1940, but was soon re-engined with P&W R-2800s. R-2800s powered the first batches of production Warwicks although not too well, (96'8" wing span, 1,019sq ft of wing and a gross weight of around 47,000lb?), slow deliveries of the P&W engines and Vicker's concentration on the Wellington caused a number of shifts in priorities to go with whatever problems Bristol was having with Centaurus. Bristol's own Buckingham bomber was the only other potential user in the 1941-42 period and first prototype flew Feb 1943. The Blackburn Firebrand being a bit of a late comer, first flight with a Centaurus in Dec 1943.
    The engine is very close in size and weight to the Wright R-3350 so using it to re-engine planes designed around anything smaller than a Sabre or Vulture wasn't going to happen.
     
  3. engguy

    engguy Member

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    I would bet the sleeve valve concept was giving them headaches, no matter what is said about them in print. From what is seen in the now days the sleeves must have been too much trouble, not many modern engines with them.
     
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