The Armstrong Whitworth Argosy was yet another British post-war transport which is mostly remembered for being the last aircraft built by its company before being absorbed into the Hawker Siddeley Group. The Argosy was designed in both civil and military versions from the start, with the latter accounting for the bulk of production where it was built to replace the earlier Valetta as a medium range transport, paratroop, and supply aircraft. Military Argosy units featured weather radar, clamshell rear loading doors, and its strong landing gear permitted operations from unprepared airstrips. Cargo usually involved troops, stretchers, or freight including capacity to carry armored vehicles and artillery pieces. A total of 6 RAF squadrons used the Argosy, half of which were based in the UK and the others in Cyprus, Aden, and Singapore. It was finally retired due to budget cuts in 1975.
Maiden flight of the AW.650 civil version took place on 8 January 1959 and was followed by the very similar AW.660 which was developed into the Argosy C.1 production version with numerous structural changes and more powerful engines allowing for greater range. Other versions included the E.1 flight inspection units and the T.2 navigation trainers.
|4 x Dart RDa.8 Mk. 101