Avro Lincoln

Avro’s Lincoln was one of those aircraft that was just to late to have a major impact; flown during WWII, it was not ready for combat before the end of the war, and was overshadowed postwar by jets. Nevertheless, the Lincoln was to serve with Bomber Command until 1955 and in secondary roles until the early 1960s.

The Lincoln originated out of an effort to develop a longer-range version of the Lancaster, range of course being an important factor for operations in the Pacific once Germany had been dealt with. What emerged was essentially a stretched Lancaster with a larger, higher aspect wing – in order to keep the weight down, some stringers were removed and the structure made of stronger materials to compensate. The Lincoln Mk.I would be powered by Merlin 85s, while the Mk.IIs would have the US-built Merlin 68 versions.

Defensive armament would include a Bristol B-17 turret in the dorsal position, with a pair of Hispano 20mm cannon fitted. A remotely operated Boulton Paul Type F turret with two .50-cal machine guns was installed in the nose, while a manned Type D was situated in the tail.

Victory Aircraft was licensed to build the Lincoln in Canada as the B.15, but war’s end meant that only a half-dozen were completed. More successful was the Australian B.30, 72 of which were built by Beaufort. These were used as patrol aircraft, with some examples being fitted with considerably stretched noses.

The Lincoln had the disadvantage of being the best of an earlier generation – the type’s performance would have been welcomed by Bomber Command had it arrived in numbers just a few yars earlier. But by 1945, it was already looking somewhat anachronistic – the immediate future of the strategic bomber lay with the B-29 and its design descendants, while an entirely new generation of aircraft incorporating both turbojet propulsion and swept wings were not far off. As evolved as it was, the Lincoln still had its conceptual and technological roots in the Manchester, and did not give the RAF an effectively strike the new opponents on the other side of the Iron Curtain.

Lincoln Bibliography:
Photo: Lincoln Mk I DX-G (serial possibly RF385) with white upper surfaces Flight January 17, 1946 p.52

“Theseus Air Testing” Flight March 27, 1947 Installation of two Theseus turboprops on a Lincoln testbed.

Photo: Lincoln tanker RA657 refueling a Meteor Aviation Week October 2, 1950 p.15

Color profiles of Lincoln B Mk IIs RE305 and RF513 RAF Yearbook 1983 p.41

Chris Bishop, editor The Encyclopedia of 20th Century Air Warfare ISBN 0-7607-2770-8 p.485: photo(small) in-flight picture of Argentine AF Lincoln B-008