Airspeed AS15 Bomber concept 1935

Schneiderman

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2012
Messages
1,567
Reaction score
849
The Airspeed AS15 was a speculative design for a High Performance General Purpose Day & Night Bomber and Troop Carrier produced by Hessel Tiltman and dated April 1935. No specification for such an aircraft had been issued by the Air Ministry.
The AS15 was large, 58000lb loaded, with a span over 50ft greater than that of future large bombers such as the Lancaster and Halifax. It was of conventional construction with fabric covered fuselage and control surfaces. Wing covering is unclear but probably stressed plywood, maybe metal.
The bomber was to be powered by four air-cooled radial engines of around 1300hp within cowls of just 5ft diameter. No engine of this power and diameter existed at the time although Armstrong-Siddeley had possible ‘Dog’ types on the drawing board and it is just possible that Bristol were contemplating a Twin-Aquila. Cruising speed would be 195mph at 5000ft (dangerously low) and top speed 215mph at the same height. Range ~1000 miles.
Armament consisted of twin machine guns in the tail and retractable ventral turrets and the turret ahead of the cockpit, and some larger calibre gun, possibly a cannon, in the nose and retractable dorsal turrets. Total military load was 7130lb, which after allowance for the guns and ammunition, would be over 5000lb of bombs.
Span 166 ft
Length 137 ft 6 in
Weight bare 38000 lb
Weight loaded 58000 lb
The design has nothing in common with the company’s later AS29 Bomber tendered to spec. B.1/35
 

Attachments

  • AS15 GA.jpg
    AS15 GA.jpg
    52.7 KB · Views: 332
  • AS15_1.jpg
    AS15_1.jpg
    53 KB · Views: 326
  • AS15_2.jpg
    AS15_2.jpg
    23.8 KB · Views: 320

lark

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2006
Messages
1,812
Reaction score
114
Complete unknown before...
Thanks for sharing !
 

cluttonfred

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2008
Messages
1,406
Reaction score
151
Website
cluttonfred.info
Very interesting, thanks. It looks like it would have been an interesting starting point but fairly low and slow in terms of performance. The use of a larger-caliber gun (20mm cannon?) is very interesting in a British bomber of that era. Still, it could have been refined for higher altitudes or could have made a great land-based anti-submarine and anti-shipping aircraft at those low altitudes, a British counterpart to the German Condor. I wonder if any thought was given to a six-engined version with something like the Bristol Pegasus if the fictional 1,300 hp engine didn't materialize.
 

Schneiderman

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2012
Messages
1,567
Reaction score
849
Tiltman's drawings look good but when you check the details there are large discrepancies between the three views, and details are hard to resolve. The gun in the nose turret and retractable dorsal turret is clearly of larger calibre than the others but it is far from clear what it is supposed to be. If the design was intended to showcase the capabilities of the re-launched company then I doubt that it would have impressed; the Air Ministry were aware that better ideas were already on the drawing boards of other companies.
Shortly after producing the AS15 design Airspeed did a deal with Fokker, acquiring a licence to build all their aircraft, including the sub-licence for the DC2, in Britain. They also set out to develop inhouse capability for metal stressed-skin structures, so an anachronism like the AS15 was off the table.
 

cluttonfred

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2008
Messages
1,406
Reaction score
151
Website
cluttonfred.info
Thanks, Schneiderman, but I am not sure that I follow your logic. As far as I know, the Fokker aircraft that Airspeed planned to build (but did not) as the AS16 (Fokker F.XXII) and AS20 (Fokker F.XXXVI) were composite wood/tube/fabric construction, as were the other types developed by Airspeed after 1935 including the Oxford and Horsa. There was clearly still room for anachronisms in British aircraft procurement at the time.
 

ACResearcher

Author/researcher/illustrator.
Senior Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2011
Messages
273
Reaction score
166
Of course, at this point and into WWII, a "larger" gun could just as easily have been a .50cal machine gun.

The British love affair with the .303 for combat aircraft remains a point of confusion to me even at this date. The U.S. stuck with the .30cal gun longer than healthy as well, but one of the reasons was the cost of a .50cal vs a .30cal gun. No excuse, but a sad reality.

AlanG
 

Schneiderman

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2012
Messages
1,567
Reaction score
849
cluttonfred said:
Thanks, Schneiderman, but I am not sure that I follow your logic.
Ah, yes, that is indeed what they built but the company also had several projects underway that were full stressed-skin.
 

Schneiderman

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2012
Messages
1,567
Reaction score
849
ACResearcher said:
Of course, at this point and into WWII, a "larger" gun could just as easily have been a .50cal machine gun.

It could but with just one installed per turret I did wonder whether it was something with more punch.
 

Similar threads

Top