A remarkable and radical aeroplane in its day, the Bittern,
designed to meet the requirements of Specification
27/24 for a night fighter, was one of the earliest
single-seat twin-engined fighter monoplanes and was
intended as a bomber formation interceptor. Powered
by two 230hp Armstrong Siddeley Lynx seven-cylinder
radials, the first of two Bittern prototypes was flown in
1927, this having shoulder-mounted wings carrying
mid-set uncowled engines. Armament comprised two
fixed forward-firing 7.7mm Vickers guns in
the sides of the forward fuselage. The second prototype
differed in having a redesigned wing of constant chord
and thickness, overall span being increased by approximately
1.52m and the leading edge carrying
Handley Page slots. Six pairs of V-type struts braced
the outer wings to the engine nacelles and fuselage.
Townend cowling rings were fitted to the engines
which were lowered on the wings. In place of the fixed
Vickers, two Lewis guns of similar calibre were
mounted in barbettes on the fuselage sides forward
and below the wing leading edge. These enabled the
weapons to be elevated between 0° and 45°.
Interconnected with a ring sight attached to an elevating
hoop pivoted at the cockpit sides, the guns had no
traverse, but their arrangement enabled bombers to be
attacked from below. Although advanced in concept,
the Bittern was seriously underpowered, with inadequate
performance and its development was abandoned.
| Take-off weight||2041 kg||4500 lb|
| Wingspan||12.5 m||41 ft 0 in|
| Length||9.75 m||32 ft 0 in|
| Max. speed||233 km/h||145 mph|
|A three-view drawing (1646 x 1176)|
Isn't it ironic that as early as the '20s Britain was investigating the tactic of attacking bomber formations at night from underneath.
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