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Westland Walrus Aircraft Information

Westland Walrus


National origin: United Kingdom
Manufacturer: Westland
First flight: 1921
Introduced: 1921
Retired: 1925
Primary users: Fleet Air Arm Royal Air Force
Number built: 36
Developed from: Airco DH.9A

The Westland Walrus was a British spotter/reconnaissance aircraft built by Westland Aircraft.

Design and development

In 1919 the Royal Navy had an urgent need for a three-seat spotter/reconnaissance aircraft. In order to save money, it was decided to adapt the existing Airco DH.9A, for which part completed airframes were available in large numbers following the end of the First World War and the subsequent cancellation of production orders. The initial attempt was carried out by Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft, adding provision for an observer and removing the stagger from the wings to produce the Armstrong Whitworth Tadpole.

Further development, however, was passed on to Westland, who further modified the aircraft to produce the Walrus, with a 450 hp (336 kW) Napier Lion II engine replacing the Liberty engine of the DH.9A and Tadpole. Like the DH.9A, the Walrus was a single engined, two-bay biplane. It was fitted with an extra cockpit for the observer/radio operator behind the gunner's cockpit, while the observer also had a prone position for observing in a ventral pannier. The undercarriage was jettisonable and the aircraft was fitted with floatation bags and hydrovanes to aid safe ditching, together with arresting gear to aid landing on aircraft carriers. The wings were detachable to aid storage.

The prototype first flew in early 1921, proving to have poor flying characteristics, being described by Westland's Test pilot, Stuart Keep as "a vicious beast". Despite this, a further 35 were ordered.

Operational history

Production aircraft began to be delivered to No. 3 Squadron RAF at RAF Leuchars in 1921. No. 3 Squadron was split up to form independent Fleet Spotter Flights in 1923, although despite the extensive navalisation, the Walrus never operated from carriers. The Walrus continued in service in the Fleet spotting role until replaced by the Avro Bison and Blackburn Blackburn in late 1925.

The name was resurrected in the Supermarine Walrus, an aircraft with a similar application.


United Kingdom

Royal Air Force
No. 3 Squadron RAF (Fleet Air Arm from 1924)


Data from Westland Aircraft since 1915

General characteristics

Crew: Three
Length: 29 ft 9 in (9.07 m)
Wingspan: 46 ft 2 in (14.07 m)
Height: 11 ft 7 in (3.53 m)
Wing area: 496 ft (46.1 m)
Empty weight: 3,180 lb (1,445 kg)
Loaded weight: 4,998 lb (2,272 kg)
Powerplant: 1x Napier Lion II 12-cylinder water-cooled W-block piston engine, 450 hp (298 kW)


Maximum speed: 124 mph (108 knots, 200 km/h)
Service ceiling: 19,000 ft (5,800 m)
Rate of climb: 950 ft/min (290 m/min)
Wing loading: 10.8 lb/ft (49.3 kg/m)
Power/mass: 0.09 hp/lb (0.13 kW/kg)


1 x forward firing Vickers machine gun
1 or 2 rear Lewis guns on Scarff ring

Related development


Related lists

List of aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm
List of aircraft of the RAF

James, Derek N. (1991). Westland Aircraft since 1915. London: Putnam. ISBN 0 85177 847 X.
Thetford, Owen (1978). British Naval Aircraft since 1912 (Fourth edition ed.). London: Putnam. ISBN 0 370 30021 1.
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982-1985). Orbis Publishing.

Westland Walrus Pictures and Westland Walrus for Sale.

Living Warbirds: The best warbirds DVD series.

Source: WikiPedia

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