The Short Sunderland was the main British-produced flying boat of World War II whose origins can be traced to the C-class Empire flying boats of the 1930s from which it was shortly developed before the war. The aircraft was so successful it was produced until October 1945 and was still in use by the RAF as late as 1959 many of which had been converted to airliners. Sunderlands were large and very well defended, its bristling armament gave it the nickname "Flying Porcupine" and it was not an aircraft which most enemy pilots would want to engage alone (or even in groups) . They were used mostly for anti-submarine patrols and long-range reconnaissance but also at air-sea rescue and transport, proving the adaptability of its design. Overall, the Sunderland gave sterling service in all fronts in which the British were involved in and can be considered arguably as the finest Allied flying boat of all, also serving extensively with Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
The prototype Sunderland made its first flight on 16 October 1937 and entered service as the Mk. I. The subsequent Mk. II featured a twin-gun dorsal turret while the Mk. III added various structural modifications as well as the ability to be equipped with ASV radar. Lastly, the Mk. IV was a considerably heavier variant which was renamed the Seaford while the final Mk. V variant was equipped with Pratt & Whitney engines giving it improved reliablity.
|Sunderland Mk. III
|Sunderland Mk. V
|4 x Pegasus XXII
|4 x Twin Wasp R-1830
Pratt & Whitney
|10 x .303-inBrowning Mk. II
|2 x .50-in 10 x .303-inBrowning Mk. II