Aviation of World War II

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Mosquito PR

High-speed Reconnaissance Aircraft

De Havilland

Mosquito PR XVI

Mosquito PR (Photographic Reconnaissance) As early as January 11, 1941, the Ministry of Aviation demanded that the De Havilland firm build an experimental and 19 production vehicles in the "photo reconnaissance" version.

The W4051 aircraft was finished on May 24, 1941, and on the same day the W4054 serial reconnaissance aircraft was submitted for final painting. June 10 W4051 first took to the air. In addition to the presence of cameras, the scouts differed from the W4050 in the wing extended by 508 mm, as well as changes in the hydraulic system. In addition, all external surfaces of these machines were painted in a sky blue, the so-called "PRU blue". The first twenty scouts, which received the official designation "Mosquito" PR.I, had short ones that did not protrude beyond the trailing edge of the nacelle wing.

The need for high-speed reconnaissance personnel for this has become so acute that the commander of 1 PRU (Photographic Reconnaissance Unit) Wing Commander J. Tuttle personally visited the De Havilland test airfield and on June 12 tested the W4051 in the air.

During the summer of 1941, it was possible to carry out the entire range of tests of the reconnaissance aircraft, including debugging of the photographic installation. As a rule, the latter included two or three planners (F.24, F.52 or K-17) and one promising type F.24. The composition of the photo setup varied depending on the nature of the task. The most widespread was the variant with one K-17 camera (152 mm focal length) in the bomb bay, one F.52 twin camera (504 or 915 mm focal length) behind the trailing edge of the wing and the "356 mm" perspective F.24 apparatus. oriented to the left down. At first, the foundations for installing cameras were made of steel, but later they switched to wooden ones, since it turned out that they attenuate vibrations from running motors.

Mosquito PR Mk.XVI
Crew 2
Wing span, m 16.51
Wing area, m² 42.18
Length, m 12.35
Height, m 4.65
2 × PE Rolls-Royce Merlin 72, power h.p. 2 × 1,680
Weight, kg:
Empty, kgг 6580
Loaded weight, kg 9,950
Maximum speed, km/h 656
Cruising speed, km/h 512
Service ceilling, m 11,800

The acute shortage of aircraft in 1 PRU required the conversion of part of the B.IV series II bombers into reconnaissance aircraft. The first such "conversion" aircraft (serial number DK284) took off in April 1942. The conversion of another 26 machines to the PR.IV version was carried out in December 1942 - March 1943. Subsequently, the aircraft were transferred mainly to the 540th squadron. A little earlier, in October 1942, the first of the five "Mosquito" PR.VIII (serial number DK324) took off, also converted from B.IV, but equipped with high-altitude engines "Merlin" 61 with two-stage superchargers. Due to the lack of knowledge of these engines and the decision to install them primarily on Spitfires, the series of "eights" turned out to be very short. The Royal Air Force received only one such aircraft monthly, the last of which was commissioned in March 1943.

The next PR.IX scout was created on the basis of the B.IX bomber equipped with Merlin 72 (73) or 76 (77) engines. If in the bomber modification the volume of the fuel tanks, including the outboard ones, was 3180 liters, then the scout managed to increase it to 4380 liters. In the latter case, two 454-liter gas tanks were suspended under the wing of the aircraft, the take-off weight of which reached 11,420 kg. This variant became the heavyweight champion of the Mosquito, but the vehicle's range was increased to almost 4,000 km at a cruising speed of 400 km / h. De Havilland immediately received an order for 375 scouts. In April 1943 the Hatfnld plant produced the first four, the next month six, and in August and October the RAF received 25 of this type each. Already in May, the vehicles entered service with the 540th squadron. By November 1943, 90 PR.IX high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft were transferred to the combat units, after which their production was stopped.

At the same time, serial production of the most massive version of the "Mosquito" - a scout began. It was PR.XVI, created on the basis of the B.XVI bomber. The power plant remained unchanged, as on the B.IX, but the cockpit was made pressurized, which should have significantly improved the working conditions of the crew at high altitudes.

In the fall of 1944, the company built five PR.32 reconnaissance aircraft, which differed from the "sixteenths" in their wingspan increased to 18 m. The power plant included two newest Merlin 113 (114) motors. The aircraft had to be lightened as much as possible for flights at altitudes of over 12,000 m. The empty reconnaissance plane had a weight of 6480 kg, the normal flight weight was 9320 kg, and the reloading one with two outboard 454-liter tanks was 10,040 kg. It was believed that a lightweight aircraft with powerful high-altitude engines would not be able to "reach" the jet and rocket fighters of the Germans. However, hopes were not justified: in the winter of 1944-1945. individual German interceptors patrolled over Berlin at an altitude of 12,600 m.

The last serial modification of the "Mosquito" - reconnaissance aircraft was PR.34 with engines "Merlin" 114 (some of the aircraft with "Merlin" 114A were named by analogy with PR.34A). This option was intended for ultra-long-range flights. A huge gas tank in the protruding underwing compartment of the fuselage made it look like bombers, adapted to carry 1,816 kg bombs. There was the possibility of hanging under the wing of the aircraft two drop tanks with a capacity of 227, 454 or 908 liters. The total volume of all tanks reached 5770 liters. Filled with gasoline under the plug, the car weighed 11580 kg. In order to somehow increase the working ceiling of the PR.34, it was necessary to abandon armor and tank protection. But the maximum flight range of such scouts at an altitude of 7500 m reached 5750 km. According to this indicator, "Mosquito" is practically on par with the pre-war "transatlantic". The photographic equipment consisted of four F.52 planners and one promising F.24 (or K-17). Until the end of the war with Germany, it was possible to build no more than 50 aircraft of this type, and the total production volume was 181 aircraft. A small number of "thirty-fours" managed to take part in operations against Japan.

Photo Description
Drawing Mosquito PR Mk.I

Drawing Mosquito PR Mk.I

Drawing Mosquito PR Mk.34

Drawing Mosquito PR Mk.34

Mosquito PR Mk.34

Mosquito PR Mk.34


  • De Havilland Mosquito / Arsenal-Press. A.N. Bear. /
  • British military aircraft of the Second World War / ed. Daniel March /