ARMSTRONG WHITWORTH

Merger in 1897 of rival engineering and shipbuilding firms resulted in Sir W.G. Armstrong, Whitworth, the comma later being forgotten. In 1912 declined to build Avro aircraft, and also failed to agree with Sir George White (British & Colonial) that its Italian subsidiary should make Bristol aircraft for Italy, but AW did agree to make ABC aero engines and Leitner hollow-steel propellers. In June 1913 Capt. I.F. Fairbairn-Crawford appointed manager of new Aerial Department, assisted by Dutch Frederick Koolhoven as designer. Built BE.2a, 2b and 2c at former skating rink at Gosforth (Tyneside), while Koolhoven designed FK.1 and flew it September 1914. FK.3 designed 1915 as improvement over BE.2c, 150 built plus 350 by Hewlett & Blondeau. FK.8 flown May 1916 as reconnaissance and army co-op, 1,652 built by November 1918. Numerous FK prototypes, often unconventional, until Koolhoven went to BAT 1917, after which AW built 250 Bristol Fighters. In 1915-19 AW designed and built rigid and non-rigid airships at Barlow, Selby. Purchased Siddeley Deasey February 1919 and moved to Coventry, forming Armstrong Siddeley Motors and Sir W.G. Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft. Design team under John Lloyd initially at Parkside, factory at Whitley airfield, later joined by bigger plant at Baginton, all in or near Coventry. Staple products Siskin fighter (485) and Atlas multirole (446), plus trivial numbers of biplane and monoplane airliners for Imperial Airways. All fabric-covered metal, but Lloyd went all-metal with large AW.27 Ensign (14 built) and AW.38 Whitley bomber (1,814). AW.41 Albemarle was designed to avoid strategic materials, 600 built near Gloucester by ad hoc group called 'A.W. Hawksley', AW having in 1935 been founder member of Hawker Siddeley Group. Also built 1,328 Lancasters and 281 Lincolns, and managed factories making Stirlings and Barracudas. Post-war took on all development and production of Hawker Sea Hawk (489) and Gloster Meteor night fighters (547), and built 133 Gloster Javelins. Own designs included 2 AW.52 experimental jet flying wings, 2 AW.55 Apollo turboprop airliners, followed by 16 civil and 56 military AW.650/660 Argosy freighters. AW.681, later HS.681, jet V/STOL freighter never completed. Mergers resulted in Whitworth Gloster in 1961 and Avro Whitworth in 1963, name vanishing into Hawker Siddeley Aviation 1 April 1965.

Read 368 times