Armstrong Whitworth Siskin

1st Flight 1919

Military Users –

Royal Canadian Air Force, Estonian Air Force, Royal Swedish Air Force, Royal Air Force.


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 power plant 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.

Furthermore, as a consequence of its relatively high performance for the era, several Siskins were entered in various air races.



Crew: 1

Length: 25 ft 4 in (7.72 m)

Wingspan: 33 ft 2 in (10.11 m)

Height: 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)


Power plant: 1 × Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar IV 14-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engine, 385 hp (287 kW)

Propellers: 2-bladed fixed-pitch propeller


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

Range: 280 mi (450 km, 240 nmi)

Endurance: 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


Guns: Two × 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers machine guns

Bombs: Provision for up to four × 20 lb (9 kg) bombs under-wing



Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft since 1913-Oliver Tapper.

Jane’s Encyclopedia of Aviation-Michael J. H Taylor.


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