Saro Lerwick

Saro Lerwick

infobox Aircraft
name = A.36 Lerwick
type = Flying-boat
manufacturer = Saunders-Roe

caption =
designer =
first flight = November 1938
introduced = 1940
retired = 1941
status =
primary user = Royal Air Force
more users = RCAF
produced =
number built = 21
unit cost =
variants with their own articles =

The Saunders-Roe A.36 Lerwick was a British flying boat built by the Saunders Roe Limited (Saro). It was designed to meet Air Ministry Specification R.1/36 for a flying boat to replace the Royal Air Forces London and Stranraer, in the anti-submarine, convoy escort and reconnaissance roles. It was intended to serve alongside the Short Sunderland in RAF Coastal Command.

Design and development

Due to the urgency of the requirement the S.36 was ordered while still on the drawing board. The Lerwick was a compact twin-engined, high-winged monoplane of all-metal construction. It had a conventional flying boat hull with a planing bottom and two stabilising floats carried under the wings on long struts. It was powered by two Bristol Hercules engines and initially had twin vertical stabilisers and rudders. The Lerwick was equipped with three powered turrets; a single 0.303 inch (7.7 mm) machine gun in the nose turret, two in a dorsal turret and four in the tail position.

The first three aircraft were used as prototypes, with the first being launched on 1938-10-31 after numerous delays during design and construction. The Lerwick was immediately found to be unstable, both aerodynamically and on the water, and not suited to "hands off" flying, a major problem in an aircraft designed for long-range patrols. Numerous adjustments, including the addition of a greatly enlarged single vertical tail unit and increasing the wing incidence, failed to remedy its undesirable characteristics, which included a vicious stall and unsatisfactory rates of roll and yaw.

Despite all the problems production continued as World War II had now begun and aircraft were urgently required and the type entered service with 209 Squadron based at Oban in 1940, replacing Short Singapores. However, one aircraft was soon lost, sinking on 1940-12-06 and another just over three months later.

The last of a total of 21 Lerwicks was delivered in May 1941. A few served with No. 4 (Coastal) OCU at Invergordon, and three others carried out service trials with 240 Squadron.

The type was withdrawn from operational service in May 1941 and declared obsolete the next year as soon as adequate numbers of more useful flying boats became available through British production and Lend-Lease, including the better handling Consolidated Catalina.


*Royal Canadian Air Force
** No. 422 Squadron RCAF, a Canadian squadron under RAF control: briefly in 1942 until the squadron received Sunderlands.;UK
*Royal Air Force
** No. 209 Squadron RAF: 1939-1941
** No. 240 Squadron RAF : Three Lerwicks used for service trials.
** No. 4 (Coastal) OCU: 1941

pecifications (Saro Lerwick)

aircraft specifications
plane or copter?=plane
jet or prop?=prop
length main=63 ft 7 in
length alt=19.4 m
span main=80 ft 10 in
span alt=24.7 m
height main=20 ft 0 in
height alt=6.1 m
area main=845 ft²
area alt=78.5 m²
empty weight main= lb
empty weight alt= kg
loaded weight main=28,400 lb
loaded weight alt=12,880 kg
max takeoff weight main=33,200 lb
max takeoff weight alt=15,060 kg
engine (prop)= Bristol Hercules II
type of prop= radial engine
number of props=2
power main=1,375 hp
power alt=1,030 kW
max speed main=214 mph @ 6,250 ft
max speed alt=344 km/h @ 1,900 m
range main=1,540 mile
range alt=2,478 km
range main= miles
range alt= km
ceiling main=14,000 ft
ceiling alt=4,270 m
climb rate main=880 ft/min
climb rate alt=4.50 m/s
*1 × 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers K gun (nose)
*6 × 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Browning guns (dorsal [2] & tail [4] )
*2,000 lb (900 kg) of bombs or depth charges

ee also

similar aircraft=
*PBY Catalina
*Short Sunderland
*List of aircraft of the RAF -
*List of seaplanes and flying boats


*cite book | last = Mondey | first = David | authorlink = | title = The Hamlyn Concise Guide to British Aircraft of World War II | publisher = Hamlyn | date = 1982 | pages = p. 181 | doi = | isbn = 1 85152 668 4

External links

* [ British Aircraft of WW2]
* [ British Aircraft Directory]

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