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Sopwith 1½ - Strutter / Type 9700

sop-9700-1


Designed and built for the Admiralty, the unarmed prototype was completed in December 1915, and series deliveries to the RNAS followed from February 1916. The Sopwith two-seater, quickly named the 1½ Strutter because of the unusual arrangement of its central mainplane bracing struts. The 1 1/2-Strutter was both the first British aircraft to be built with a synchronised gun as standard equipment and the first true two-seat fighter to see RFC service.

A single-bay biplane with two-spar wooden wings and wooden fuselage with fabric covering, the 1 1/2-Strutter featured air brakes in the lower wing and an adjustable-incidence tailplane. At an early production stage, armament was standardised on a synchronised 7.7mm gun with a second weapon of similar calibre on a Scarff ring mounting in the rear cockpit. A single-seat bomber version was built in parallel, some examples of this variant being converted as two-seat fighters.


The 1 1/2-Strutter was used by the RNAS in both escort and (without observer) bombing roles, and 77 of the first 150 aircraft ordered by the Admiralty were transferred to the RFC.

 

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A single-seat bomber version was used by the Royal Naval Air Service and by French units. Single and two seat 1½ Strutters equipped the first unit ever formed as a strategic bombing force; No.3 Wing Royal Naval Air Service.

Initial production aircraft were powered by the 110hp Clerget 9Z ninecylinder rotary engine, but, in the autumn of 1916, this gave place to a 130hp Clerget 9B.

It was widely used by escadrilles of the French Aviation Militaire as well as Belgian and United States air forces. French production of the aircraft considerably exceeded the numbers of British built 1½ Stutters.

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At least 1,513 1 1/2-Strutters were built in the UK (by the parent company, Fairey Aviation, Hooper & Co, Mann, Egerton & Co, Ruston, Proctor & Co, Vickers Ltd, Wells Aviation and Westland Aircraft). The 1 1/2-Strutter was licence-built in France as a single- and two-seat bomber (SOP 1B1 and 1B2) and two-seat reconnaissance aircraft (SOP 1A2), primarily with the 110hp and 135hp Le Rhone 9J and 9Jby nine-cylinder rotaries, 4,500 allegedly being produced by Liore et Olivier, Hanriot, Amiot, Bessoneau, Darracq, REP and Sarazin Freres. The US government procured 514 from France, and others were supplied to Belgium and Imperial Russia.

Engine: Clerget 110 hp
Prop: 2 blade
Wingspan: 10.21 m / 33 ft 6 in
Length: 7.69 m / 25 ft 3 in
Height: 3.12 m / 10 ft 3 in
Wing area: 32.14 sq.m / 345.95 sq ft
Max take-off weight: 975 kg / 2150 lb
Empty weight: 592 kg / 1305 lb
Fuel capacity: 40 Imp.Gal
Max. speed: 161 km/h / 100 mph
Service ceiling: 16,000 ft
Endurance: 4 hr 15 min
Armament: 1 x Vickers MG / 1 x Lewis gun
Bombload: 2 x 65 lb
 
Engine: Clerget 130 hp
Prop: 2 blade
Wingspan: 10.21 m / 33 ft 6 in
Length: 7.69 m / 25 ft 3 in
Height: 3.12 m / 10 ft 3 in
Wing area: 32.14 sq.m / 345.95 sq ft
Fuel capacity: 40 Imp.Gal
Armament: 1 x Vickers MG / 1 x Lewis gun
Bombload: 2 x 65 lb

 

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Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter

 

 

 


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