AVRO 679 MANCHESTER - Designed under the direction of Roy Chadwick, the Avro 679 Avro Manchester was a twin-engined medium bomber to Specification P. 13/36, ordered in 1937 for competitive evaluation with the Handley Page HP.56. Powered by two 1,760 hp Vulture IX-type engines, the first of two prototypes flew on July 25, 1939, unarmed and with twin fins and rudders; a third, cen-tral fin was added after early flight tests. The second prototype flew on May 26, 1940, with two 0.303-in (7.7-mm) machine guns each in nose, tail and ventral Frazer Nash turrets, and wing span increased from 80 ft 2 in (24.45 m) to 90 ft 1 in (27.48 m). The ventral turret was later replaced by a dorsal FN 7 turret, also with two guns, and production aircraft to this configuration were ordered to Specification 19/37.
Avro Manchester Mk I: Initial production batch of 200 ordered from Avro, Avro Manchester, in December 1937, and 100 ordered from Metropolitan-Vickers Ltd, Trafford Park, in 1939. Deliveries began on July 31, 1940, from Avro assembly line and on March 10, 1941, from Metrovick, production terminating at 157 Avro and 43 Metrovick aircraft for a total of 200. Initial deliveries to No 207 Sqn, RAF, November 1940 and first operation February 24/25, 1941.
Above: First Lancaster prototype (BT308) with Avro Manchester I-type tail unit and no dorsal turret. Below: The second prototype (DG585) showing definitive tail unit, no dorsal turret fairing, and retracted ventral turret.
Avro Manchester Mk IA: Later production aircraft were delivered with a tailplane of increased span (33 ft/10.1 m), taller fins and rudders and no central fin. These were designated Avro Manchester Mk IA and all Mk Is were eventually converted to this standard.
Gross weight (Mk I), 50,000 lb (22,700 kg), (Mk IA), 56,000 lb (25,424 kg).