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Armstrong Whitworth Siskin

The Armstrong Whitworth Siskin was a biplane single seat fighter aircraft developed and produced by the British aircraft manufacturer Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft.

It was also the first all metal fighter to be operated by the Royal Air Force (RAF), as well as being one of the first new fighters to enter service following the end of the First World War.

Development of the Siskin was heavily influenced by RAF Specification Type I, including its initial use of the ABC Dragonfly radial engine.

Performing its maiden flight during May 1919, the Siskin proved itself to possess good qualities in spite of the Dragonfly’s poor performance.

In the following year, a superior engine in the form of Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar was adopted, the first Siskin with this powerplant made its first flight on 20 March 1921.

In response to Air Ministry Specification 14/22, the aircraft was redesigned with all metal construction, and was promptly ordered to meet the specification during 1922.

In May 1924, the first of the RAF’s Siskin IIIs were delivered to No. 41 Squadron at RAF Northolt, a total of eleven squadrons would operate the type.

Being relatively popular amongst the service’s pilots, the aircraft served in excess of eight years before the last of the RAF’s Siskins were replaced by the newer Bristol Bulldog during October 1932.

In addition to the RAF, various other nations evaluated the Siskin and multiple proceeded to order the type.

The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) were one such operator, introducing the type during the late 1920s and continuing to operate its Siskins until shortly after the outbreak of the Second World War.





25 ft 4 in (7.72 m)


33 ft 2 in (10.11 m)


10 ft 2 in (3.10 m)

Wing area

293 sq ft (27.2 m2)

Empty weight

2,061 lb (935 kg)

Max take-off weight

3,012 lb (1,366 kg)


1 × Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar IV, 14 cylinder air cooled radial piston engine,

385 hp (287 kW)


2-bladed fixed pitch propeller


Maximum speed

156 mph (251 km/h, 136 kn) at sea level


280 mi (450 km, 240 nmi)


One hour and twelve minutes

Service ceiling

27,000 ft (8,200 m)

Rate of climb

2,953 ft/min (15.00 m/s)

Time to altitude

10,000 ft (3,048 m) in seven minutes and five seconds



Two × 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers machine guns


Provision for up to four × 20 lb (9 kg) bombs under wing.


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