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British Industrial History

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Handley Page: H.P.54 Harrow

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1937.

Note: This is a sub-section of Handley Page Aircraft.

The Handley Page H.P.54 Harrow was a British heavy bomber of the 1930s built by Handley Page and used by the Royal Air Force, being used for most of the Second World War as a transport. It was a twin-engine, high-wing monoplane with a fixed undercarriage.

The H.P. 54 Harrow was the production version of the earlier Handley Page: H.P.51 design, itself a monoplane conversion of the three-engined Handley Page: H.P.43 biplane. The two monoplanes were both designed by Dr. G. V. Lachmann.

Initially Handley Page intended to offer the H.P.51 to Air Ministry specification C.26/31 for a bomber-transport, then saw the H.P.54 as a more likely winner. In the end neither type was a candidate for C.26/31, since in June 1935 the Air Ministry, anxious to expand and modernise the RAF wrote specification B.29/35 around the Harrow, emphasising its bomber role though retaining its transport capability.

On 14 August months before the first Harrow flew, the Ministry put in an order for 100 aircraft. Powered by Bristol Pegasus X engines of 830 hp (620 kW), the first Harrow flew on 10 October 1936 from Radlett. The Harrow was designed to have powered nose, dorsal and tail turrets, and carried a bomb load of 3,000 lb (1,400 kg) under the cabin floor.

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