Sopwith Snipe II / Dragon
The sixth and last prototype of the Snipe was fitted with the 320hp A.B.C. Dragonfly nine-cylinder radial engine as the Snipe Mk II. Despite the shortcomings of this engine, it gave outstanding performance when it could be persuaded to function efficiently, and, with the Dragonfly's faults still to be recognised as incurable, 300 Snipes were ordered with the A.B.C. engine on 3 May 1918 (initially from a Snipe produc-tion batch).
The first true Dragon was Snipe airframe E7990, fitted with the new engine in July 1918 and arrived for testing in February 1919. Assigned the name Dragon, these were delivered in June and July 1919. The Dragonfly-engined Snipes were produced in parallel with aircraft built from the ground up as Dragons, these having horn-balanced upper ailerons and the 360hp Dragonfly la engine, armament comprising the standard pair of synchronised 7.7mm guns.
About 200 of a 300-aircraft contract were completed and efforts to cure the engine's troubles continued until the autumn of 1921, the Dragon, officially adopted at that time as a standard RAF single-seat fighter, never being issued to a squadron and being officially declared obsolete in April 1923.
Engine: 320hp A.B.C. Dragonfly
Span: 9.4 m (31 ft 1 in) upper; 9.1 m (30 ft) lower
Length: 6.6 m (21 ft 9 in)
Height: 2.9 m (9 ft 6 in)
Wing area: 25.18 sq.m / 271.04 sq ft
Max take-off weight: 967 kg / 2132 lb
Maximum speed: 241 km/h (150 mph)
Service ceiling: 7619 m (25000 ft)
Armament: 2 fixed 0.303-in (7.7-mm) Vickers mg