The Armstrong Whitworth A.W.41 Albemarle was a twin-engine transport aircraft developed by the British aircraft manufacturer Armstrong Whitworth and primarily produced by A.W. Hawksley Ltd, a subsidiary of the Gloster Aircraft Company.
It was one of many aircraft which entered service with the Royal Air Force (RAF) during the Second World War.
The Albemarle had been originally designed as a medium bomber to fulfill Specification B.9/38, however, military planners decided to de-emphasis the bomber role in favour of aerial reconnaissance and transport missions, leading to the aircraft being extensively redesigned mid-development.
Performing its maiden flight on 20 March 1940, its entry to service was delayed by the redesign effort, thus the first RAF squadron to operate the Albemarle, No. 295 at RAF Harwell, did not receive the type in quantity until January 1943.
As a consequence of superior bombers, such as the Vickers Wellington, having arrived in quantity, all plans for using the Albemarle as a bomber were abandoned.
Instead, the Albemarle was used by RAF squadrons primarily for general and special transport duties, paratroop transport and glider towing, in addition to other secondary duties.
Albemarle squadrons participated in Normandy and the assault on Arnhem during Operation Market Garden.
While the Albemarle remained in service throughout the conflict, the final examples in RAF service were withdrawn less than a year after the war’s end.
During October 1942, the Soviet Air Force also opted to order 200 aircraft; of these, only a handful of Albemarles were delivered to the Soviets prior to the Soviet government deciding to suspend deliveries in May 1943, and later cancelling the order in favour of procuring the American Douglas C-47 Skytrain instead.
Four (two pilots, navigator and radio operator) in Transport configuration
Six (two pilots, navigator/bomb-aimer, radio operator and two gunners) in Bomber configuration
Capacity: ten troops
Length: 59 ft 11 in (18.26 m)
Wingspan: 77 ft 0 in (23.47 m)
Height: 15 ft 7 in (4.75 m)
Wing area: 803.5 sq ft (74.65 m2)
Empty weight: 25,347 lb (11,497 kg)
Max take off weight: 36,500 lb (16,556 kg)
Fuel capacity: 769 imp gal (924 US gal; 3,500 L) normal, 1,399 imp gal (1,680 US gal; 6,360 L) with auxiliary tanks
Power plant: 2 × Bristol Hercules XI 14-cylinder air-cooled radial engines, 1,590 hp (1,190 kW) each
Propellers: 3-bladed de Havilland Hydromatic
Maximum speed: 265 mph (426 km/h, 230 kn) at 10,500 ft (3,200 m)