Short Stirling.....

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Lucky13, Jan 30, 2011.

  1. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Would it have been possible to 'upgrade' the Stirling, so that it would be on par with the Halifax and Lancaster? New better engines, same as the Halifax with its Bristol Hercules XVI's, longer wings etc.? What's the max take off weight for the Halifax and Lancaster?


    Stirling:

    General characteristics:

    Crew: 7 (First and second pilot, navigator/bombaimer, front gunner/WT operator, two air gunners, and flight engineer)
    Length: 87 ft 3 in (26.6 m)
    Wingspan: 99 ft 1 in (30.2 m)
    Height: 28 ft 10 in (8.8 m)
    Wing area: 1,322 ft² (122.8 m²)
    Empty weight: 44,000 lb (19,950 kg)
    Loaded weight: 59,400 lb (26,940 kg)
    Max takeoff weight: 70,000 lb (31,750 kg)
    Powerplant: 4× Bristol Hercules II radial engine, 1,375 hp (1,030 kW) each
    Propellers: Three-bladed metal fully feathering 13 ft 6 in diameter propeller
    *Aspect ratio: 6.5


    Performance:

    Maximum speed: 255 mph (410 km/h) at 21,000 ft (6,400 m)
    Cruise speed: 200 mph[24]
    Range: 2,330 mi (3,750 km)
    Service ceiling: 16,500 ft (5,030 m)
    Rate of climb: 800 ft/min (4 m/s)
    Wing loading: 44.9 lb/ft² (219.4 kg/m²)
    Power/mass: 0.093 hp/lb (0.153 kW/kg)


    Armament:

    Guns: 8 x 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns: 2 in powered nose turret, 4 in tail turret, 2 in dorsal turret
    Bombs: Up to 14,000 lb (6,340 kg) of bombs[25]




    Halifax:

    General characteristics:

    Crew: 7
    Length: 71 ft 7 in (21.82 m)
    Wingspan: 104 ft 2 in (early Mks. had span of less than 100 ft (30 m) to fit through standard hangar doors) (31.75 m)
    Height: 20 ft 9 in (6.32 m)
    Wing area: 1,190 ft² (110.6 m²)
    Loaded weight: 54,400 lb (24,675 kg)
    Powerplant: × Bristol Hercules XVI radial engine, 1,615 hp (1,205 kW) each


    Performance:

    Maximum speed: 282 mph (454 km/h) at 13,500 ft (4,115 m)
    Range: 1,860 mi (3,000 km) combat
    Service ceiling: 24,000 ft (7,315 m)
    Rate of climb: 750 ft/min (3.8 m/s)
    Wing loading: 45.7 lb/ft² (223.1 kg/m²)
    Power/mass: 0.12 hp/lb (195 W/kg)


    Armament:

    Guns: 8 × .303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns (4 in dorsal turret, 4 in tail turret), 1 × .303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers K machine gun in nose
    Bombs: 13,000 lb (5,897 kg) of bombs



    Lancaster:

    General characteristics:

    Crew: 7: pilot, flight engineer, navigator, bomb aimer, wireless operator, mid-upper and rear gunners
    Length: 69 ft 5 in (21.18 m)
    Wingspan: 102 ft (31.09 m)
    Height: 19 ft 7 in (5.97 m)
    Wing area: 1,300 ft² (120 m²)
    Empty weight: 36,828 lb (16,705 kg)
    Loaded weight: 63,000 lb (29,000 kg)
    Powerplant: 4× Rolls-Royce Merlin XX V12 engines, 1,280 hp (954 kW) each


    Performance:

    Maximum speed: 240 kn (280 mph, 450 km/h) at 15,000 ft (5,600 m)
    Range: 2,700 nmi (3,000 mi, 4,600 km) with minimal bomb load
    Service ceiling: 23,500 ft (8,160 m)
    Wing loading: 48 lb/ft² (240 kg/m²)
    Power/mass: 0.082 hp/lb (130 W/kg)


    Armament:

    Guns: 8× 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns in three turrets, with variations
    Bombs: Maximum normal bomb load of 14,000 lb (6,300kg) or 22,000 lb Grand Slam with modifications to bomb bay.
     
  2. krieghund

    krieghund Member

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    #2 krieghund, Feb 1, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2011
    This is from Profile #142
    Somewhere I have more data and a 3-view of it.
     

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  3. T Bolt

    T Bolt Well-Known Member

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    I thing one of the things that held the Stirling back was the way the bomb bay was built into it. Only small bombs could be used, and there was no easy way to change it.
     
  4. merlin

    merlin Member

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    The S.36 would've been a much better aircraft, flown higher, farther, faster and with a bigger bomb-load - both size of bomb and total number.
    The Air Ministry, were at first keen, on ordering prototypes and twenty a month order; but then Harris got to hear about it!
    He didn't want to risk the loss, of production with the switch-over, nor the loss during production - more Stirlings could be produced than the S.36 in the same time. Not accounting for the number of aircrews that would come back in the S.36!
     
  5. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    The Lancaster was a Manchester with a different wing, The Halifax stayed more or less the same with different engines, changes to the tail and nose. The Sterling needed a total rebuild with new wings, huge changes to the undercarriage, new bomb bays which would have meant changes to the fuselage, in other words a whole new aircraft.
     
  6. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Was the Stirling ever tried in anti-submarine role?
     
  7. merlin

    merlin Member

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    Considering the poor altitude performance of the Stirling (after the Scottish city of Stirling), and therefore a danger to the aircrew over Germany from flak - it might have made an interesting addition to the Desert Air Force in North Africa!

    Alternatively, it shouldn't have been built! In the original Tender Design Conference in Oct '36 - Short's were last, with Vickers, first and Boulton-Paul P.90 second. With, Vickers busy on the Wellington and Warwick - the P.90 could have been chosen (in OTL Mitchel did some lobbying for his design), and Short's given more Sunderland work, and a challenge for a longer range version.
     
  8. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like an ideal candidate for long range ASW patrols @ 5,000 feet.
     
  9. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Copycat... ;)
     
  10. Nikademus

    Nikademus Member

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    Don't believe so. I was not able to find a single reference to a Sterling in ASW service in either of Blair's huge tomes on the Uboat war.
     
  11. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Then methinks it's a shame 10-15% (300-400 pcs) of numbers produced were not deployed vs. U-boats. In that field such numbers of planes could have made the difference.
     
  12. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    I am not sure what the Stirling would have brought to the table against submarines.
    It may not have been a particularly economical bomber.
    From the RAF web site

    Whitley.............1650miles.............4,000lb load
    Wellington.........1540miles.............4,500lb load
    Sterling.............2010miles.............3,500lb load
    Lancaster..........2530miles.............7,000lb load

    There are only so many bombs that can be dropped on a sub in a single attack and the chances of two attacks on a single sub in one flight are pretty low as were the chances of sighting two subs on one flight.

    Almost as important as range is the number of hours the plane could stay in the air. The two twin engined planes being not that far behind the Sterling at normal cruising speeds.
    For the same amount of fuel you could put two twin engine planes in the air for every Sterling. Sterlings also seemed to have a rather high accident rate.
     
  13. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    Just by looking at the specs it appears the Stirling was just too heavy.
    Just 3 foot less wingspead than the Landcaster. More power, more wing area than the Landcaster too. Some of that extra weight could be explained by the 17 foot longer fuselage. Could the poor useful altitute performance be as a result of the engines chosen ?
     
  14. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Of course, that's why I've said it would make more sense to deploy it as a MP/ASW plane, than as heavy bomber.

    Than an even more modest payload would've sufficed - another plus for MP/ASW Sterling.

    Twin plane with an overheated or damaged engine must limp home - misson kill. 4-engined plane with 1 engine out of order can still observe water surface, more so if his bombs are away.
    As for 2 twin engined planes drawing same amount of fuel vs. 1 four-engined: I could not agree more :)

    I'll try to learn abou that more :)
     
  15. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    It is actually the reverse. The Stirling could lift heavy loads for short distances and deliver more bombs per sortie to most of the bomber command targets of the time than the 2 engine planes could. Once the ranges (or endurance) got longer the bomb load per sortie got a lot closer to the 2 engined bombers.


    The twin engine planes could carry an adequate payload for ASW work. The Stirling simply burned much more fuel to carry roughly the same load a little bit further. Not a plus.


    While post war planes might cruise around with one (or more) engines shut down any war time 4 engine plane that lost an engine is heading home. Having a second engine quit while hundreds of miles from land makes getting home too iffy. While many 4 engined bombers made back to England on two engines many did not. The crews in the planes operating over Europe had the option of bailing out if it looked like they wouldn't make it. Parachuting into the North Atlantic is not a good survival option. Planes over Europe also had 12,000 to 25,000ft of altitude to trade for distance if they lost engine/s. ASW aircraft operating at much lower altitudes didn't have that option.
    Granted a number of twin engine planes didn't make it back after losing a single engine. One reason the Hudson was liked may have been it had a better power to weight ratio than some British bombers and had better single engine performance.
     
  16. Nikademus

    Nikademus Member

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    Blair spends time railing against the USAAF and RAF for not making long range and very long range bombers available sooner for ASW work....but later admits that even had more numbers been provided, their impact would be questionable early on without the technical innovations that made air-ASW a killer. (centimetric airborne radar (ASV), Leigh light, FIDO, etc)

    As it was....Hudsons, Catalinas, retrofitted very long range B-24's, Lancasters and other planes were utilized in increasing amounts over time. Air ASW became truely deadly after 42 with a large bulk of the kills/damages dealt by them.
     
  17. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    I am not sure the technical innovations needed to be there for long range ASW planes to make a difference. While harder to judge just the fact that long range planes would have forced more U-boats under would have limited there effectiveness even without kills. Kills are an easy benchmark but a submerged sub is a very slow sub with limited visibility. Proving it is hard, ships not sunk because subs couldn't get into position?

    Consider blimps, in the thread on blimps might be the only record of a blimp killing or participating in a kill on a sub yet it is claimed that no convoy escorted by a blimp lost a ship. If true, does this mean the effort to build, man, fly large numbers of blimps was ineffective because of their low kill count?
     
  18. Nikademus

    Nikademus Member

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    Based on the massive upsurge in Air ASW kills after 1942 as documented in Blair's two volumes on the Uboat war....I feel myself that the technical innovations were vital....in at least to actual killing of Uboats.

    Without them, Air ASW might still be effective in at least holding down Uboats attempting to get at detected convoys with the cavet that without the advanced air radar, air search would be hindered....especially at night or in inclement weather.

    The upsurge in detection and the kill rate was pretty substantial after implementation of these technological improvements. The Germans attempted to counter them with radar detectors (METOX) and greater flak arrangements.....both of which proved unsuccessful.
     
  19. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The technological improvements were very important in the killing of U-boats. I certainly would not argue otherwise.

    The Question maybe what effect a half dozen to a dozen squadrons (more?) of longer ranged aircraft would have had in 1940-41 to help close the North Atlantic gap.

    See the map here:
    ATLANTIC AIR PATROLS | NZETC

    Extending the patrol limits by 200 miles earlier would mean another full day's steaming under aircover at each end of the gap.

    A submerged submarine can pace a slow convoy for about one hour before the batteries are exhausted. A submarine forced to submerge and stay submerged for several hours might never regain contact with a convoy. Granted it can find another one (convoy) which a sunk sub can't do but even in WW I air patrols were found to limit the ability to submarines to operate.
     
  20. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    I'm not sure but I don't think they had very good airborne depth charges in 40 mabye up and including early 41 they were very light weight if memeory serves me right . They were first war models and carried by Ansons
     
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