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Armstrong Whitworth AW.650 / AW.660 Argosy

 

aw660
AW660 Argogy C.1
 

Designed by Armstrong Whitworth later incorporated into Hawker Siddeley Group, the first prototype flew on January 8, 1959.

 

In order to shorten development time, Armstrong Whitworth put in hand a batch of ten of their Argosy Freighters, without waiting for firm orders. The second of these flew on 8 January 1959. Orders were received from Riddle Airlines and for a military version by RAF Transport Command.


The series 100 led to the military Armstrong-Whitworth (later WhitworthGloster and Hawker-Siddeley) AW660 Argosy derived from the civil AW650, major design changes involving a "beaver tail" for air para-dropping, fixed nose doors, heavier and strengthened floor, Smith's military flight system, Ekco weather radar-the scanner housing providing the characteristic bump on the nose and other internal equipment changes. Twenty aircraft (XN814-821, XN847-858) were ordered in January 1959 to replace the last of the Valettas, and a manufacturer's prototype, G-APRL, was first flown on July 28, 1960, with some of the military modifications including the beaver tail doors. Follow-on production orders were placed for a further 36 aircraft (XP408-413, XP437-450, XR105-109, XR133-143), while the first RAF Argosy C1 (XN814) was flown for the first time on March 4, 1961. Together with the second aircraft it soon passed to the A&AEE at Boscombe Down for service trials prior to entry into service.


The variety of roles adopted by the Argosy are very wide, it can carry 54 fully-equipped paratroops (with two despatchers and one additional loadmaster); or two Ferret scout cars/ Land Rovers plus 20 troops in the air-transport role; or 64 passengers (with two air quartermasters); or 48 stretcher patients (with four attendants and two AQMs) for casevac. As a tactical support aircraft it can deliver nine x one ton containers or two medium-stressed platforms (12 0001b each). In the photographic role F-117B cameras can be installed, and for air-sea rescue Lindholme containers and flares are carried.


In the mid-1960s the first four operational squadrons (105, 114, 215 and 267) were active in the Far East, Gulf and European theatres.


An early attempt to offset the problems of short range was tried with XN819 early in 1962 when in-flight refuelling equipment was fitted. However, after trials at the A&AEE Boscombe Down, it was decided not to proceed with the modification programme.


In the internal-security fit in 1963 XN814 was modified to accommodate external bomb racks (for 14 bombs) on each side of the lower fuselage; the nose window was equipped as a bomb aimer's position. After successful trials with the "Argi-bomber" the aircraft used in Aden and the Far East were given this modification. There is no evidence that they were operationally used in this offensive role.


The C and E Mk.1 aircraft had higher gross weights and more powerful engines than the 222. Fifty six were used by the RAF.


With the delivery to the RAF of the Hercules it was announced in 1968 that the Argosy would be withdrawn from tactical transport duties by 1970. However the fuel tank corrosion problems encountered by the Hercules and the subsequent withdrawal of aircraft for modification meant that this target date could not be reached.


The 660 had the 'Shackleton Wing' and had 'clam-shell' doors at the rear of the fuselage to allow air-dropping of stores. Unlike the civil 650, the nose was fixed. The early versions of the civil AW 650 also had the 'safe life' Shackleton wing. It was main spar failure that curtailed the fatigue life of the AW 650/660 aircraft. However later versions known as AW 650 200 were manufactured with a 'fail safe' wing of much more modern structural philosophy. The series 200 can be recognised as it is fitted with large wing fences.


The 222 model was designed to the specifications of British European Airways, and began service in 1965. The 200 Series featured a redesigned box-spar increasing the MAUW and fuel capacity. Only 17 civilian Argoseys were built.

 

Gallery


Argosy series 100
Engines: 4 x Rolls-Royce Dart 526 turbo-prop, 1506kW
Take-off weight: 39916 kg / 88000 lb
Empty weight: 20865 kg / 46000 lb
Max payload: 28,000 lbs.
Wingspan: 35.05 m / 114 ft 12 in
Length: 26.44 m / 86 ft 9 in
Height: 8.23 m / 27 ft 0 in
Wing area: 15.45 sq.m / 166.30 sq ft
Cruise speed: 451 km/h / 280 mph
Ceiling: 6100 m / 20000 ft
Range: 3219 km / 2000 miles
Crew: 2-3
Passengers: 84

AW650-222

Cruise: 240 kts.
No built: 7.
Max payload: 31,000 lbs.
MAUW: 93,000 lbs.
Max range: 1600 nm.
Approach speed: 108 kts.

Hawker Siddeley / Armstrong Whitworth AW 650 Argosy C
Heavy transport aircraft, United Kingdom, 1961
Length: 89.173 ft / 27.18 m
Wingspan : 114.993 ft / 35.05 m
Max take off weight : 103017.6 lb / 46720.0 kg
Max. speed : 233 kts / 431 km/h
Service ceiling : 20013 ft / 6100 m
Range : 300 nm / 555 km
Engine : 4 x RollsRoyce Dart RDa 8 Mk 101, 2680 shp
Crew : 3+69

Argosy C1
Engines: 4 x Rolls-Royce Dart RDa8 Mk102 turboprops, 2210 shp (dry) or 2470 shp (with water-methanol injection).
MAUW: 97 000 lb.
Cruise: 220kt @ 10000-20000ft.
Max payload / range: 24600 lb over 180 nm.
Max range/payload: 1700nm with 3500 lb.
Radius of action/payload: 750nm with 5000 lb.

 

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