The most numerous and possibly the most famous Armstrong Whitworth aircraft built, the A.W.38 prototype flew on 17th March 1936. Mk. I production aircraft entered service in early 1937, but although by the start of WW2 they were the standard bomber in squadrons of the RAF, they were already outdated. As the Vickers Wellington entered service, the far slower Whitleys were moved to night bombing duties. However, frontline bombing service record proved it was taking a beating, and it was relegated to transport, troop and reconnaisance duties in mid-1941.
Less than 200 in total were built of the Marks I to IV, with the Mk V being by far the most numerous variant. As well as the types listed below, there were also; the interim Mk. IVa (a Mk. IV with the Merlin engines) of which 7 were built; and the Mk Vf, stripped down and with fuel tanks replacing bomb bays, used for military freight transport (15 examples).
With being the standard bomber at the start of the war, it naturally set several milestones, being the first to leaflet-bomb over Germany in September 1939, the first actual bombing of German soil in May 1940 and of Italy a month later, and then the first ever paratroop raid, over Italy in February 1941.
Crew/Passengers: crew of five
Power Plant: Two 845 hp Armstrong Siddeley Tiger VIII
Performance: Max Speed: 209 mph (336 km/h)
Service Ceiling: 23,000 ft (7010 m) Range: 1,315 mi ( 2,116 km)
Weights: Empty: 15,475 lb (7019 kg) Max T/O: 33,500 lb (15,195 kg)
Dimensions: Span: 84 ft 0 in ( 25.60 m) Length: 69 ft 3 in (21.49 m)
Height: 15 ft 0 in (4.57 m) Wing Area: 1,137 sq ft (105.63 sq m)
Armament: 1 x 0.303-in (7.7 mm) machine gun each in nose and tail turrets, 2 x 0.303-in (7.7mm) machine guns in ventral turret plus up to 5,500 lb (2,495 kg) of bombs.