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British Industrial History

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English Electric Co: Aviation

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1921. Wren. Exhibit at the Shuttleworth Collection.
1926. Metal Hulled "Kingston" Flying Boat.
October 1951. Canberra Mk. 2
January 1952. Canberra.
1954. P.1 .
Thunderbird Mk1 Surface to Air Missile (SAM). Exhibit at the National Museum of Flight.
P.25 Lightning F.2A. Exhibit at the National Museum of Flight.
1954. Canberra Mark B2.
1957. "P.1.B"
1957. "P.1.A"
November 1958.
1959. "Lightning" previously designated the English Electric P.11.
June 1959.
December 1961

Note: This is a sub-section of English Electric Co

See Also: English Electric Aviation

WWI: Both Dick, Kerr and Co. and the Phoenix Dynamo Manufacturing Co built aircraft, including flying boats designed by the Seaplane Experimental Station at Felixstowe, 62 Short Type 184 and 6 Short Bombers designed by Short Brothers.

1922 Aircraft manufacture under the English Electric name began in Bradford with the Wren

1924 The English Electric Company produced a number of large flying boats for the Air Ministry, fitted with two 450 hP Napier engine. The hull of these boats was approximately circular in section, with a planing bottom fitted on to form a double bottom. It was composed of an elm and mahogany framework, carrying a double skin of mahogany. Among other experimental work conducted by the firm - the difficulties attendant upon the use of a hydraulic gear for adjusting the retail setting of aircraft when in flight were overcome. On the commercial side the firm designed a twin-engined flying boat to carry ten, and a three-engined machine to carry 15 to 18 passengers.[1]

1926 End of production when the last English Electric Kingston flying boat was built.

1939 Acquired Samlesbury Aerodrome in Lancashire

WWII Constructed a "shadow factory" at Samlesbury Aerodrome to build Handley Page Hampden bombers. By 1942, 770 Hampdens had been delivered. A second factory was built and the runway was extended to allow for construction of the Handley Page Halifax four-engined heavy bomber; by the end of the war, over 2,000 Halifaxes had been built and flown from Samlesbury.

1942 English Electric took over Napier and Son, engine manufacturer.

Post WWII: English Electric Co invested heavily in aircraft design. W. E. W. Petter, the chief designer at Westland moved to English Electric Co to set up the new aircraft division.

Started production under licence of the de Havilland Vampire; more than 1,300 were built at Samlesbury.

1947 Design and experimental facilities were moved to the former RAF Warton near Preston in 1947.

1949 English Electric created a Guided Weapons Division to work on a missile designed to replace heavy anti-aircraft guns used by the British Army.

1950 W E W Petter moved to Folland Aircraft

The 2 major successes of the divisision were the Lightning and the Canberra, the latter serving with the Royal Air Force in a multitude of roles from 1951 until mid-2006.

1958 The aviation business was set up separately, as English Electric Aviation Ltd.

1959 The Thunderbird missile was the first British designed and produced missile to go into service with the British Army. It entered service with the 36 and 37 Heavy Air Defence Regiments, Royal Artillery.

1960 Under government pressure English Electric rationalised its aircraft division and combined it with others as British Aircraft Corporation (BAC), English Electric having a 40% stake in BAC.

1963 English Electric's guided weapons development and production facilities were integrated with those of Bristol Aircraft in a new subsidiary British Aircraft Corporation Guided Weapons. [2]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1925/02/01
  2. The Times, Apr 24, 1963