Aircraft of the Month
The Avro Lincoln was built to Air Ministry Specification B14/43 calling for a new bomber providing both increased pay load and performance to succeed the existing heavy bomber force. Developed from the Lancaster by Roy Chadwick, the first prototype took to the air from Ringway, Manchester on 9th June 1944 and production began shortly thereafter with the aircraft entering service with No 57 Squadron at East Kirkby in July 1945.
Powered by 4 x supercharged Rolls-Royce Merlin 85 V engines of 1,750 hp, the Lincoln Mk 1 enjoyed a higher operational ceiling and greater radius of action than the Lancaster. It was capable of a carrying 14,000 lb bomb load (exceptionally 1 x 22,000 lb weapon) and was armed with 2 x .5 in M2 Browning machine guns in both nose and tail turrets, plus 2 x .5 in machine guns or twin 20 mm Hispano cannon in the dorsal turret. It carried a crew of seven.
Although the Second World War ended before the Lincoln became operational, it equipped no fewer than 29 RAF squadrons in the post-war years. It saw service in Kenya against the Mau-Mau in the mid-1950s and in the Far East during the Malayan Emergency when it delivered some 500,000 lb of ordnance against insurgents. However, the Lincoln was mainly based in the UK as the mainstay of the bomber force until succeeded by the first of the V-bombers in 1955. Just one machine was lost to ‘enemy action’ when on, 12th March 1953, Lincoln RF531 of the Central Gunnery School based at RAF Leconfield was shot down by 2 x Mig-15s whilst entering the air corridor from Hamburg to Berlin. All 7 crew members perished in this incident. The last Lincolns were retired in March 1963.
The Royal Australian Air Force also operated 73 Lincolns (some alongside the RAF in Malaya) with 18 aircraft modified for maritime operations, and the Argentinian Air Force acquired 30 aircraft, a few of which continued in service until 1967.
A total of 607 Lincolns were built of which there are 4 survivors; one is in storage in Australia, 2 are on display in Argentina, and the fourth can be seen at the RAF Museum, Cosford.