THE Fairey Battle is one of the new types of monoplane medium bombers which are in large scale production for the Royal Air Force. The wing span is 54 feet, the area of the wings 422 square feet and the length of the machine 52 ft 2-in. The Battle weighs 10,792 lb with a full load of 4,145 lb.
The machine is built for operating at considerable heights, so that, though its speed at sea level is 210 miles an hour, at 10,000 feet it has risen to 240 and at 15,000 feet to 257 miles an hour. The landing speed is 60 miles an hour. The Battle has a range of 1,000 miles at a speed of 200 miles an hour at 16,000 feet, or of 640 miles at full throttle, at the same height.
The engine is the famous Rolls-Royce Merlin I, V-12, fully supercharged, giving 950-990 horse-power at 12,000 feet. Cooling is by ethylene glycol, which has a lower freezing point than water.
The Battle is fitted with a retractable undercarriage and a variable pitch airscrew. The undercarriage wheels retract for only half their diameter into the wings, so that in an emergency it would be possible to make a forced landing without serious damage.
It is important for the pilot to be sure that the undercarriage is down. When he throttles back the engine, preparatory for landing, the word “Wheels” appears lighted up on the dashboard and an electric hooter sounds.
When the pilot has released the undercarriage the hooter ceases to sound and the word “Wheels” is replaced by a red light which changes to green when the wheels are locked in position for landing. The Battle carries machine-guns as well as bombs. The Lewis machine-gunner is protected by a hinged hood against the force of the air when using his gun. He also carries out wireless, navigational and bombing duties.
A Vickers machine-gun is fixed in the wing. This machine-gun can be fired by the pilot, the sight for the gun being mounted on the windscreen. The pilot also has a bomb release switch.
An automatic pilot is fitted to relieve the strain on the pilot when making long-distance flights, and photographic and oxygen equipment are carried.
The, construction of the Battle is metal throughout. The metal skin is fastened by hundreds of thousands of rivets. The fuselage consists of a series of metal rings held in place by longitudinal metal stringers.
This type of construction keeps the interior of the fuselage free from wiring for instruments and military equipment.