A59 Lockheed Ventura
Whereas the RAF ordered the Hudson as a military version of the Lockheed Super-Electra (Model 14), the Ventura was similarly derived from the Lockheed Lodestar (Model 18). The Ventura was developed by the Vega Aircraft Corporation (an affiliate of Lockheed) and the first Ventura flew on 31 July 1941. The first 100 Ventura Mk Is went to the RAF, but subsequent Mk IIs and IIIs were shared with the USAF as the Lexington B-34 and B-37, respectively. As from the end of 1942 until May 1944, all production Venturas were delivered to the US Navy as the PV-1. In the European theatre of war, RAAF Nos 459 and 464 Squadrons operated RAF-serialled Ventura GR5s and Ventura Mks I/II, respectively.
Between 18 May and 19 August 1943, 20 Venturas were lend-leased to the RAAF under the following serials: A59-1/9, 11/18 (Mk Is) and A59-10, 19/20 (Mk IIs). Also, between 23 June 1943 and 2 July 1944, 55 PV-1s were lend-leased under the RAAF serials A59-50/104 as Ventura GR 5s. The Ventura Mk II was heavier and more powerful than the Mk I, whilst the Ventura GR 5 had extra long-range tanks, and some versions were fitted with the Mk IV nose radar. The Venturas operated with No 13 Squadron mainly, but several also served with Nos 4 and 11 Communications Units.
As with most lend-lease aircraft, flying ceased in the 1946-47 fiscal year, and the remaining Venturas were either converted to components or stored for disposal. The last two Venturas, A59-6 and 17, were sold on 17 February 1953 to Mr F Hendy.
TECHNICAL DATA: Lockheed-Vega Ventura GR5 (PV-1)
General-reconnaissance bomber, with 5 crew. All-metal stressed-skin construction.
Two 2000 hp Pratt and Whitney R 2800-31
Span 19.96 m (65 ft 6 in); length 15.77 m (51 ft 9 in); height 4.01 m (13 ft 2 in).
Empty 9161 kg (20 197 lb); loaded 14 096 kg (31 077 lb).
Max speed 502 km/h (271 kt); service ceiling 27,500 ft (8382 m); initial climb 680 m (2230 ft)/min; range 2671 km (1442 nm).
Two 0.50 fixed guns in nose, two 0.50 guns in dorsal turret, and two 0.30 guns in ventral position; Six 227 kg (500 lb) bombs or six 147 kg (325 lb) depth charges; A torpedo could also be carried in the fuselage bay.
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