The largely unsuccessful Avro Manchester is perhaps best remembered as being the direct precursor to the legendary Lancaster bomber. Both aircraft share a near identical fuselage, twin-fin tail, glazed cockpit design, and wing, with the most notable difference the two Rolls-Royce Vulture engines which in the event would be the cause of most of the aircraft's problems due to their tendency to overheat and catch fire. As a result, they were derated for increased reliability with the consequence being decreased payload and performance. By mid-1942, the Manchester had been removed from combat operations, relegated to Operational Conversion Untis but even these were soon retired due to engine-related crashes. It was then decided to replace the engines with the more reliable Merlins: the result was the spectacular Lancaster and the rest is history.
First flight of the Avro 679 prototype took place on 25 July 1939 and entered production as the Manchester Mk. I with a large central fin which was eventually deleted in the definitive Mk. IA version which also had enlarged twin fins to correct tail flutter. Replacement of the Vulture engine with the Merlin as well as some additional structural changes resutled in the Mk. III which although never put into production, led to the Lancaster upon which all unfinished Manchester airframes were eventually converted to.
Succeeded by:Lancaster (1942)
|Design||Manchester Mk. IA|
|Wing Span||27.46 m|
|Wing Loading||214.7 kg/m²|
|Engine||2 x Vulture I|
|Guns||8 x .303-inBrowning Mk. II|