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Lockheed Hudson

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The Hudson would be the first American aircraft to be used operationally by the Royal Air Force during World War 2, and also became the first aircraft delivered by air across the Atlantic. Despite being withdrawn from front line service the Lockheed Hudson would remain in use until the end of hostilities.

Quick Facts
Sorry, no image available
First flight
10th December 1938
Entered service
Total built
Over 2,500

Front view
Hudson front view photo
Side view
Sorry, no view photo available
Rear view
Hudson rear view photo

With the Royal Air Force in desperate need for an aircraft to fill the maritime patrol/navigational trainer role in the summer of 1938 the British Purchasing Commission placed an initial order for 200 aircraft. With the British in a desperate need for an aircraft to meet their requirements Lockheed offered a solution, they could provide a Model 14 Super Electra Civil airliner converted for military use. So just a few days after the original approach from the British Purchasing Commission an aircraft was ready to be viewed, the changes to the aircraft included new engines with increased power and armament. Named the Hudson by the Royal Air Force approval was given to put the plane into production.

Flying for the first time on the 10th December 1938 and powered by two 1,100-hp Wright GR-1820-G102A Cyclone engines and could accommodate a crew of four and hold 1,400lb of bombs. With the first Hudsons reaching Liverpool by sea on the 15th November 1939 with Speke Airport being used by Lockheed to assemble the aircraft which saw the addition of the Boulton Paul two-gun powered operated dorsal turret and these would be designated Hudson Mk I.

More orders followed and with accommodation for an extra crew member the Hudson Mk II appeared with the Mk III following and being powered by 1,200-hp Wright GR-1820-G205A engines and it would be the Hudson Mk III which would be the first delivered by air across the Atlantic which was achieved on the 11th November 1940 for the first time when a Hudson arrived in Northern Ireland, and all further deliveries would be done by air.

Powered by the 1,050-hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830-45 Twin Wasp engine was the Lockheed Hudson Mk IV while the Mk V had 1,200-hp Twin Wasps and these were the last pre Lend-Lease Hudsons supplied to the Royal Air Force. The Mk VI was next and had its power supplied by two 1,200-hp R-1830-67 Twin Wasps and these could also be used to transport troops thanks to convertible interiors.

Seeing service with the Royal Air Force first, the Lockheed Hudson was to be the first American built aircraft used by the RAF operationally during the Second World War. Hudsons of No. 608 Squadron would sink a submarine by rocket fire and in doing so was the first RAF aircraft to achieve the feat. The aircraft would also see service with the United States Army Air force and Royal Australian Air Force.

Around 2,500 Hudsons were produced and the type remained in service, despite its withdrawal from front line service, until the end of World War 2.


Click on the aeroplane image to view a larger version.

Top Speed Range Service Ceiling Armament
Hudson Mk I 246 mph 1,960 miles 25,000 ft four 0.303-in machine-guns
1,400lb bombs
Hudson Mk II Indentical to the Mk I but with spinnerless constant speed propellers.
Hudson Mk III 285 mph 2,100 miles 25,000 ft seven 0.303-in machine-guns
1,600lb bombs
Hudson Mk IV 284 mph 2,160 miles 27,000 ft four 0.303-in machine-guns
Hudson Mk V Mk II but powered by a pair of 1,200-hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830-53C4-G Twin Wasps.
Hudson Mk VI 261 mph 2,160 miles 27,000 ft seven 0.303-in machine guns
rocket projectiles


Click on a photo to view a larger version.
Hudson Mk IIIA

On Display

(C) = Cockpit only exhibit. (F) = Fuselage only exhibit. (R) = Remains of an aircraft.

Variant Location
Hudson Mk IIIA Royal Air Force Museum, London

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