Bristol 130 Bombay | BAE Systems | International

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Bristol 130
Bombay

A somewhat unsung bomber transport aircraft that gave valuable wartime service in the Middle East theatre.
Bristol 130 Bombay prototype K3583 Air to air photograph of the prototype Bristol 130 Bombay K3583.
 
The Bristol Type 130 Bombay was a large, twin-engine, high-wing monoplane British Troop Transport aircraft, built to meet to Specification C.26/31 which called for a Bomber / Transport Monoplane to replace the Vickers Valentia and to carry 24 equipped troops during the Second World War.
 
Problems of wing torsional stiffness experienced with the earlier Bristol Bagshot led to the use of a seven spar, stressed skin cantilever wing with a fixed undercarriage whose long main legs were attached from the engine mounts.
 
Twin Pegasus engines were used and the empennage featured twin fins and rudders mounted inboard from the tailplane tips. Defensive armament was provided by a nose-mounted turret with a Lewis gun and a rear mounted gunner’s station.
 
The type also had provisions for bomb carriage with a bomb aiming station in the nose. The crew was made up of a pilot in an enclosed cockpit, a navigator / bomb-aimer in the nose and a radio operator / gunner who moved between the radio post behind the pilot and the gun turret in the nose.  If operating as a bomber then the crew would be supplemented with an additional gunner for the tail gun.
 
The prototype Type 130 (K3583) was first flown on 23rd June 1935, powered by two 750 hp Pegasus III engines and twin bladed propellers.  Flight testing was successful and an order was placed for 80 aircraft in July 1937 although only 50 were ever completed.
 
Bristol 130 Bombay first production L5808 First production Bristol 130A Bombay I L5808 built by Short & Harland Ltd.
 
Several changes were incorporated into the production Bombay aircraft, including revisions to the fin shape, more powerful engines, three-bladed variable pitch propellers and the use of front and rear hydraulically-operated turrets equipped with single Vickers guns.
 
Production comprised the single Bristol-built prototype and 50 production Bombay, built by Short & Harland Ltd in Belfast, Filton being fully occupied at the time with Blenheim production.  The complexities of the Bombay's wing design caused delays and the first production aircraft flew until March 1939. That said, the Bombay gave valuable wartime service in both its transport and bombing roles, mainly in the Middle East, before being superseded by more modern types.
 
The type also operated with RAAF No 1 Air Ambulance Unit in Egypt.
 
In Europe, its bombing capabilities were outclassed so it was utilised extensively in its transport role and during the Sicilly Campaign of 1943 it evacuated over 2,000 wounded servicemen. One Bombay Air Crew is creditted with the evacuation of over 6,000 troops from Sicilly and Italy before the time was finally retired from service in 1944.
 
Bristol 130A Bombay I air to air Wartime air to air photograph of a Bristol 130A Bombay I.
 

Specification

  Bristol 130A Bombay I
Powerplant Two 1,010 hp Bristol Pegasus XXII
Span 95 ft 9 in
Maximum Weight 20,180 lb
Capacity & Armament Pilot and two crew and 24 troops. Forward and rear turrets, each with a single Vickers gun. Carriage of up to eight 250 lb bombs on racks beneath fuselage. 
Maximum Speed 192 mph
Cruise Speed 160 mph
Endurance / Range 2,230 miles (with overload fuel)

Variants and number built

Type 130 (K3583)
Prototype
Type 130A Bombay I 50 production aircraft built by Short & Harland Ltd

Survivors

No Bombay aircraft survive.

Other information