Westland Welkin: Couldn't other craft such as P-38 perform this role?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by gjs238, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    Why bother developing the Westland Welkin when craft such as the P-38 were available?
    I imagine the UK was struggling with "scarce design resources" like the US.
    Perhaps the scarce design resources would be better spend on other projects such as increasing the range of the Spitfire.
     
  2. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    IIRC besides Welkin's problems and the fact that the high flying LW bombers didn't show up RAF also thought that Mossie Mk XV could handle with Spitfire HFs the possible high-flying threats, so no need for P-38s.

    Juha
     
  3. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, but the Welkin LOOKS SO COOL!
     
  4. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    Not an expert on this but the German Bombers were starting to come in at 43,000 ft + and the P38 had a max altitude of 40,000 ft the Welkin approx 45,000 ft. The P38 didn't have the altitude performance.
     
  5. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The Welkin was planned several years before it was first flown. The German high altitude threat didn't actual come to be, at least not in any real numbers (more than a plane or two per week?) but since the British were playing with high altitude Wellingtons and other such aircraft and the Americans were certainly planning on high altitude aircraft depending on the Germans to drop the ball or to borrow aircraft from the Americans should the Germans really launch a high altitude campaign would not be good planning.
     
  6. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    And IIRC the ceiling of Mossie Mk XV was 45 000 ft, so there wasn't real need to use resources to solve the problems of Welkin

    Juha
     
  7. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    There seems to be some timeline confusion here.
    Ju 86 P's had flown over Britain in 1940/41 at altitudes above 40,000 ft which rendered them immune from attack by any RAF fighter of the time. Specification F.4/40 was raised in 1940 for a single seat high altitude fighter with pressurised cabin and it was to this specification that the Welkin was developed.
    Westland's P.41 Project,which became the Welkin,was accepted as the winning design proposal in January 1941.
    The reason that the Welkin never entered large scale production have already been identified here. The first production aircraft of the 67 ordered under contract Acft/1350 didn't fly until June 1943. By this time the high altitude German threat had not materialised and the Mosquito was proving to be a superior aircraft. Plans to build 700 Welkins were abandoned. At around the same time the Ju 86 was withdrawn from service.
    It's a great looking aircraft even if its performance was not as good as expected. It's also a great name. "Welkin" is an old English word for the firmament or heavens,appropriate for a high altitude flyer.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
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