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Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.7

The Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.7 was a British two seat light bomber and reconnaissance biplane designed by the Royal Aircraft Factory and built under contract by the Coventry Ordnance Works, Austin, Napier and Siddeley-Deasy for the Royal Flying Corps.

Developed from the R.E.5, the R.E.7 was designed to carry heavier loads and also suitable for escort and reconnaissance duties.

It was an-unequal span biplane with a fixed tailskid landing gear and powered by a nose mounted 120 hp (89 kW) Beardmore engine driving a four-bladed propeller.

The aircraft was built by a number of different contractors with the first aircraft operational with the Royal Flying Corps in France in early 1916.

The aircraft had two open cockpits with the observer/gunner in the forward cockpit under the upper wing and the pilot aft.

It was soon found that the aircraft could not be used as an escort due to the limited field of fire for the single Lewis gun, the R.E.7 had a useful payload and was soon used as a light bomber with the more powerful engine (either a 150 hp (112 kW) RAF 4a or 160 hp (119 kW) Beardmore).

Over a quarter of the aircraft built were used in France in the middle of 1916, their slow speed and low ceiling with a bomb load made them vulnerable to attack.

The R.E.7s were withdrawn and used for training and a number were used as engine test beds.

They were also used as target tugs trailing a sleeve drogue for air to air firing practice.

At least two R.E.7s were converted to three seat versions.





31 ft 10.5 in (9.72 m)


57 ft 0 in (17.37 m)


12 ft 7 in (3.84 m)

Wing area

548 sq ft (50.91 m2)

Empty weight

2,285 lb (1,036 kg)

Gross weight

3,450 lb (1,565 kg)


1 × RAF 4a, V piston engine,

150 hp (112 kW)


Maximum speed

84 mph (135 km/h, 73 kn)


6 hours 0 minutes

Service ceiling

6,500 ft (1,980 m)


1 x 336lb (152kg) bomb


Smaller bombs up to 324lb (147kg)

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