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Beardmore WB.IV

The W.B.IV was designed to meet Admiralty Specification N.1A for a naval land or ship based fighter aircraft.

The design was dominated by the demands for the aircraft to be able to be safely ditching and remain afloat.

A large permanent flotation chamber was built into the fuselage under the nose and the pilot was in a watertight cockpit.

The propeller shaft ran underneath the cockpit from the Hispano-Suiza V-8 engine which was over the centre of gravity of the aircraft.

The entire undercarriage could be released from the plane for water landings.

The wing tips were fitted with additional floats, while the aircraft’s two bay wings could fold for storage on board ship.

The single prototype first flew at Beardmore’s Dalmuir factory on 12 December 1917, being delivered for evaluation at Martlesham Heath in July 1918.

The W.B.IV had poorer performance than the much simpler and smaller shipborne version of the Sopwith Camel and was not developed further.

The sole prototype was lost when it sank during ditching.





26 ft 6 in (8.08 m)


35 ft 10 in (10.92 m)


9 ft 10.5 in (3.010 m)

Wing area

350 sq ft (33 m2)

Empty weight

1,960 lb (889 kg)

Gross weight

2,600 lb (1,179 kg)


1 × Hispano-Suiza 8B V-8 water cooled piston engine,

200 hp (150 kW)


2-bladed fixed-pitch propeller


Maximum speed

110 mph (180 km/h, 96 kn)


2 hours 30 minutes

Service ceiling

14,000 ft (4,300 m)



1 x synchronized .303 in Vickers machine gun and one Lewis gun on tripod mounting.



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