Handley Page High Altitude Bomber

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by wuzak, Dec 27, 2012.

  1. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Tony Buttler in British Experimental Combat Aircraft of World War II shows a drawing of a Handley Page bomber project from 1941, but which didn't progress to the stage at which it received a HP project number.

    The design shared nothing with the Halifax.

    It was to be powered by 4 Merlin 60s, buried in the inner wing and mounted cross ways, the supercharger section towards the fuselage and the drive ends outwards. Propeller drive was from 90° gearboxes, the engines driving one half of a coaxial propeller.

    The wings inside of the propeller nacelles extended forward of the wing leading edge, presumably housing the radiators.

    There were three defensive gun turrets shown, one on the upper nose, an upper turret mounted near the tail, and rearward facing lower turret.

    The proposal had tricycle landing gear, the main wheels retracting into the inner wing behind the engines.

    The wing span would have been 100ft (30.48m) and the length 74ft 5in (22.70m).

    An interesting layout. Because the plane had two nacelles it would have theoretically had less drag than a traditional 4 engine design, but that may have been offset by the extra wing thickness required to house Merlins (40in tall, though if they were laid sideways they would be 30-32in high).

    There is no word on what happened to the design, but it probably disappeared as HP worked on other projects, not least the Halifax.
     
  2. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    Did the British have an effective high altitude bomb sight?
     
  3. hedge hopper

    hedge hopper Member

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    Hi Wuzak, Very interesting in-deed !! Never heard about that before, what a shame that it (probably) never got off the drawing board.
    [​IMG]
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    A few that I took last year, this is No 3 Kings road, Cheltenham. Gloucestershire.
     
  4. hedge hopper

    hedge hopper Member

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    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Sorry about the poor image above, hopefully these are slightly better???
     
  5. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    Did anyone?
     
  6. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    #6 stona, Dec 27, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2012
    The British initially used the MkX but by the time the night bombing campaign got underway they were using the Mk XIV (designed by a Professor Blackett). Both were derived from Wimperis' CSBS (course setting bomb sight). The Mk XlV was designed to enable the run up to the target flying straight and level to be restricted to a mere ten seconds and enable the pilot to carry out evasive manoeuvres on his approach to the target. It could be used to bomb both on the climb and the glide,quite unlike the Norden.

    A parallel development of the ABS (automatic bomb sight) led to the 1943 SABS Mk llA tachometric precision bombsight. This was used to drop Barnes Wallace's special bombs from 20,000ft plus,accurately enough to hit a battleship.

    There was in Bomber Command at the time much discussion on the comparative merits of the two bombsights. The SABS although potentially more accurate lacked the degree of tactical freedom afforded by the MkXlV/T1. As a result the MkXlV/T1 was known to Bomber Command as the ‘area’ bombsight of the RAF and the SABS as the ‘precision sight.’

    The average radial error achieved by 617 Sqn in August 1944 with the SABS was 125 yards compared with 195 yards for 9 Sqn with their Mk XIVs.

    When the Norden was offered to the RAF later in the war it was rejected. It too,like the German "Lotfe" sights could certainly be described as accurate.


    Cheers

    Steve
     
  7. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    Maybe it was dropped after seeing the "success" of the He177.
     
  8. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    It literally never got off the drawing board! It never progressed past some sketches made sometime in late 1941 by one of Handley Pages' design team, Godfrey Lee. Mind you some good aeroplanes have come from such flightys of fancy.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  9. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    It was probably caught by aerodynamics.

    Many people in the 1930s sketched designs with "buried" engines in an attempt to do away with the the drag of the engine nacelles. Unfortunately, for high speed aircraft, the thick wing needed to hide the engines created more drag than a thin wing with nacelles. A lot of these convoluted arrangements only promised a reduction in drag in the single digits ( sometimes the low single digits) which meant that the increased weight and cost of geared and extended shaft arrangements (and the associated vibration and support problems) trumped the theoretical drag reduction.
     
  10. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    As far as I can tell, the engine pairs weren't coupled in any way. The engines looked to be in separate bays, possibly either side of a wing spar. The issues the He 177 had would have been unlikely to be replicated in the Handley Page high speed bomber.
     
  11. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    Probably so; much emphasis was placed on the Halifax becoming the mainstay of Bomber Command, even after the Halifax I was proven to be such a dog's breakfast. The four engined Manchester that Chadwick proposed received a luke-warm response, with the performance and war load of the Halifax being the benchmark that the Avro design had to measure up to - ironic then, that it should out perform it. HP did propose a number of upgraded Halifaxes, including the high wing HP.60 and HP.65 and '66 'Super Halifaxes', which looked like a Hali, but with a stepped bomb bay and a more streamlined wing, much like the Davis wing on the B-24.

    Handley Page offered a design to the '75 Ton Bomber' that was proposed and offered for tender in 1942; Theirs was a six engined developed Sabre (3,000 hp) or Centaurus design, with the next version being tailless and powered by either four Sabres or eight Metrovick F.2 gas turbines. Some of the designs for this spec were weird and wonderful and the Bristol design manifested itself into the Brabazon airliner, which shared the same buried engines in the wings as the bomber concept.

    Not heard of this one before; thanks for sharing.
     
  12. V-1710

    V-1710 Member

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    Correct me if I am wrong, but didn't the RAF and Vickers conduct extensive experiments with high altitude (pressurized) versions of the Wellington?
     
  13. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    A quick scale of the image in Buttler's book shows an inner wing chord of around 26ft = 78in. Given that Merlin was approximately 40in tall, that would require a t/c ratio of over 50% - not likely to be good for aerodynamics.

    Anybody know of the t/c ratios of British bombers of the era, such as the Halifax and Lancaster?
     
  14. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Yes.

    The Merlin 60 was originally intended for the Wellington high altitude bomber.
     
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