Military Wiki
The only Canadian built Avro Lincoln
Role Heavy bomber
Manufacturer A V Roe (168), Metropolitan-Vickers (80) and Armstrong Whitworth (281)
First flight 9 June 1944
Introduction 1945
Retired 1967 Argentine Air Force
Primary users Royal Air Force
Argentine Air Force
Royal Australian Air Force
Number built 604
Developed from Avro Lancaster
Developed into Avro Shackleton
Avro Tudor

The Avro Type 694, better known as the Avro Lincoln, was a British four-engined heavy bomber, which first flew on 9 June 1944. Developed from the Avro Lancaster, the first Lincoln variants were known initially as the Lancaster IV and V, but were renamed Lincoln I and II. It was the last piston-engined bomber used by the Royal Air Force.

The Lincoln became operational in August 1945. It had been assigned to units of Tiger Force, a British Commonwealth heavy bomber force, intended to take part in the Second World War Allied operations against the Japanese mainland, but the war ended before the Lincoln was operational. The Lincoln was used in action during the 1950s, by the RAF in the Mau Mau Uprising in Kenya, and with the RAF and RAAF during the Malayan Emergency. In all, 604 Lincolns were built. The type also saw significant service with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Fuerza Aérea Argentina (Argentine Air Force), as well as some civil aviation usage.

Design and development

The Avro Lincoln was Roy Chadwick's development of the Lancaster, built to the Air Ministry Specification B.14/43, having stronger, longer span, higher aspect ratio (10.30 compared with 8.02) wings with two-stage supercharged Rolls-Royce Merlin 85 engines, and a bigger fuselage with increased fuel and bomb loads. As a result, the Lincoln had a higher operational ceiling and longer range than the Lancaster.

Royal Air Force Lincoln B.2 used by Napier's for icing research work until 1967

The prototype Lancaster IV (Lincoln I) was assembled by Avro's experimental flight department at Manchester's Ringway Airport and made its maiden flight from there on 9 June 1944.[1] Main production was at Avro's Woodford, Cheshire and Chadderton, Lancashire factories. Additional aircraft were built by Armstrong Whitworth at Coventry. Production lines were also set up in Canada and Australia although with the end of the war production in Canada (at Victory Aircraft) was halted after one aircraft had been built. Production in Australia went ahead and Lincolns were subsequently manufactured there for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). One Lincoln B Mk XV pattern aircraft was also completed in Canada by Victory Aircraft with an order for six RCAF variants cancelled when hostilities ended.[2] Along with two additional (Mk I and Mk II) aircraft on loan from the RAF, the type was briefly evaluated postwar by the RCAF.[3]

The Lancaster V/Lincoln II differed mainly in that it was fitted with Merlin 68A engines.

Before the Lincoln was developed, the Australian government intended its Department of Aircraft Production (DAP), later known as the Government Aircraft Factory (GAF) would build the Lancaster Mk III. Instead, a variant of the Lincoln I, renamed Mk 30 was built between 1946 and 1949, the largest aircraft ever built in Australia.[4] Orders for 85 Mk 30 Lincolns were placed by the RAAF (which designated the type A-73), although only 73 were ever built.[5]

The Avro Lincoln A73-20 being test flown with both starboard engines feathered

The first five Australian examples (A73–1 to A73–5), were assembled from British-made components. A73-1 made its debut flight on 17 March 1946 and the first entirely Australian-built Lincoln, A73-6, was delivered in November 1946. The Mk 30 initially featured four Merlin 85 engines, but was later equipped with a combination of two outboard Merlin 66s and two inboard Merlin 85s. The later Lincoln Mk 30A featured four Merlin 102s. The RAAF heavily modified some Mk 30 aircraft for anti-submarine warfare during the 1950s, re-designating them GR.Mk 31. These examples had a 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) longer nose to house acoustic submarine detection gear and its operators, larger fuel tanks to give 13 hours endurance, and a bomb bay modified to accept torpedoes. The Mk 31 was particularly difficult to land at night, as the bomber used a tailwheel and the long nose obstructed the pilot's view of the runway. 18 aircraft were remanufactured to this standard in 1952, gaining new serial numbers.[4] Ten were subsequently upgraded to MR.Mk 31 standard, to include an updated radar. These Lincolns served with No. 10 Sqn RAAF at RAAF Townsville, until the discovery of corrosion in the wing spars forced the type's premature retirement in 1961.[6]

The Avro Shackleton maritime patrol aircraft was derived from the Lincoln, as was the Tudor airliner, which used the wings of the Lincoln with a new pressurised fuselage.

Operational history

Lineup of the first operation of No. 1 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force at RAF Tengah, Singapore, August 1950.

RAAF Lincoln bomber dropping 500 lb bombs on Communist targets during the Malayan Emergency, c. 1950

Royal Air Force

The first RAF Lincolns joined No. 57 Squadron at East Kirby in 1945. No. 75 (New Zealand) Squadron RAF began re-equipping with Lincolns at RAF Spilsby during August 1945. However, 75 (NZ) Sqn received just three aircraft before VJ Day.

In the postwar Royal Air Force, the Lincoln equipped many bomber squadrons. Nearly 600 Lincolns were built to equip 29 RAF squadrons, mainly based in the United Kingdom. They were partially replaced by 88 Boeing Washingtons, on loan from the USAF, which had longer range and could reach targets inside the Iron Curtain. Small numbers remained in use with Nos 7, 83 and 97 Squadrons until the end of 1955 when they were replaced by the first of the V bombers.

RAF Lincolns were used in combat during the 1950s, in Kenya against the Mau-Mau, operating from Eastleigh, and also served in Malaya during the Malayan Emergency, against insurgents aligned to the Malayan Communist Party. In Malaya, Lincolns operated from Changi and Tengah, More than 3,000 sorties were flown during their seven and a half year time in-theatre, with half a million pounds of bombs dropped. This equated to 85% of the bomb tonnage dropped during the Malayan emergency.[6]

On 12 March 1953, a RAF Lincoln (RF531 "C") of Central Gunnery School was shot down 20 mi (32 km) NE of Lüneburg, Germany by a Soviet MiG-15 as it flew to Berlin on a training flight, resulting in the deaths of the seven crew members. In November 1955, four Lincolns of No. 7 Squadron RAF were detached for duties in British territories in the Middle East. In Bahrain, they carried out border patrols of the then Trucial States. When 7 Sqn was disbanded in December 1955, the four detached crews and aircraft became No. 1426 Flight RAF, officially a photographic reconnaissance unit. It was later sent to Aden, carrying out patrols in the lead up to the Aden Emergency.

As the RAF Lincolns became unserviceable due to wear and tear they were replaced by jet aircraft. The Lincolns of Bomber Command were phased out from the mid-1950s, and were completely replaced by jet bombers by 1963. The last Lincolns in RAF service were five operated by No. 151 Squadron, Signals Command, at RAF Watton, Norfolk, which were finally retired on 12 March 1963.[7]

Royal Australian Air Force

From late 1946, Australian-built Lincolns were phased into No. 82 Wing RAAF at RAAF Amberley, replacing the Consolidated Liberators operated by 12, 21 and 23 Squadrons. In February 1948, these units were renumbered 1, 2 and 6 Squadrons respectively; a fourth RAAF Lincoln squadron, No. 10 was formed on 17 March 1949 at RAAF Townsville as a reconnaissance unit.

RAAF Lincolns took part in operations in Malaya in the 1950s, operating alongside RAF examples.The RAAF permanently based the B.Mk 30s of No.1 Squadron at Tengah for the duration of operations in Malaya.[6]

The RAAF Lincolns were retired in 1961, with the MR.Mk 31's of No. 10 Squadron being the final variant to see service in Australia.

Argentine Air Force

The Lincoln served with the Fuerza Aerea Argentina from 1947: 30 aircraft were acquired (together with 15 Lancasters),[8][9] giving Argentina the most powerful bombing force in South America.[10] Eighteen of these were newly built, along with twelve ex-RAF aircraft. The Lincolns entered service with I Grupo de Bombardeo of V Brigada Aérea in 1947. Eleven remained in use at the beginning of 1965, but most were retired during the next year. The last examples were retired in 1967.[11]

The Argentine aircraft were used in bombing missions against rebels during the attempted military coup of September 1951 and by both the government and rebel forces during the 1955 Revolución Libertadora coup that deposed Juan Perón.[12] Lincolns were also used to drop supplies in support of Argentine operations in the Antarctic.[13] One of the bombers was returned to Avro in the United Kingdom in 1948 for modification to allow it to operate Antarctic support flights, including the addition of a Lancastrian nose and tail cone, removal of armament and additional fuel tanks.[14] The aircraft was civilian registered and named Cruz del Sur; it undertook its first airdrop supply flight to the Antarctic San Martín Base in December 1951.[14][15]

Use in aero-engine research

Avro Lincoln testbed G-37-1 at the Farnborough SBAC Show in 1956, flying solely on its nose-mounted Rolls-Royce Tyne

Lincolns were frequently employed as testbeds in new jet engine development. RF403, RE339/G and SX972 flew with a pair of Armstrong Siddeley Python turboprops outboard in place of the Merlins, and was used for the ballistic casing drop-test programme for the Blue Danube atomic weapon.[16] SX972 was further modified to fly with a pair of Bristol Proteus turboprops. RA716/G had a similarly placed pair of Bristol Theseus turboprops and later also flew with Rolls-Royce Avon turbojets replacing the pair of turboprops. Lincoln Test Bed RF533 kept its Merlins but had a Napier Naiad turboprop in the nose. It later flew, bearing the civilian "Class B" test registration G-37-1, with a similarly placed Rolls-Royce Tyne which it displayed at the 1956 Society of British Aircraft Constructors (SBAC) show, making a low level flypast on just the nose Tyne, the four Merlins being shut down and propellers feathered.[17]SX973 had a Napier Nomad diesel turbo-compound installed in a similar nose-mounted installation.[18] RA643 flew with a Bristol Phoebus turbojet in the bomb bay, and SX971 had an afterburning Rolls-Royce Derwent mounted ventrally.[19]

Commercial service

Two Lincoln IIs were operated by D. Napier & Son Ltd. for icing research from 1948 to 1962. A transport conversion of the Lincoln II, using the streamlined nose and tail cones of the Lancastrian and a ventral cargo pannier, was known as the Avro 695 Lincolnian. One Lincoln Freighter converted by Airflight Ltd was used on the Berlin Air Lift by Surrey Flying Services Ltd. One Argentine example was converted to a Lincolnian by Avro at Langar. Four Lincolnian conversions by Field Aircraft Services for use as meat haulers in Paraguay were not delivered and subsequently scrapped.


Avro Type 694
Prototypes to Air Ministry Specification 14/43, three-built
Lincoln I
Long-range bomber version for the RAF. Powered by four 1,750 hp (1,305 kW) Rolls-Royce Merlin 85 inline piston engines.
Lincoln II
Long-range bomber version for the RAF. Powered by four Rolls-Royce Merlin 66, 68A and 300 inline piston engines. Built by Avro, Armstrong-Whitworth and Vickers-Metropolitan
Lincoln III
The Lincoln III was intended to be a maritime reconnaissance, anti-submarine warfare aircraft. The aircraft later became the Avro Shackleton.
Lincoln IV
Lincoln II converted to Merlin 85 power.
Lincoln Mk 15 (B Mk XV)
This designation was given to one aircraft, built by Victory Aircraft in Canada.
Lincoln Mk 30
Long-range bomber version for the RAAF.
Lincoln Mk 30A
Long-range bomber version for the RAAF, fitted with a longer nose and Merlin 102s.
Lincoln Mk 31
Anti-submarine/maritime reconnaissance version for the RAAF.
Avro 695 Lincolnian
Transport derivative similar to the Avro Lancastrian
Lincoln ASR.3.
Initial designation of the Avro Shackleton, which was based on the Lincoln.


  • Argentine Air Force
    • I Grupo de Bombardeo of V Brigada Aerea.
    • Fuerza Aerea de Tareas Antarticas (FATA)
 United Kingdom


B-004 on display in Argentina

Four aircraft have survived:

Lincoln II B-004
On display as B-010 at the National Museum of Aeronautics, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Lincoln II B-016
A gate guardian at the Villa Reynolds airbase, San Luis Province, Argentina [20]
Lincoln II RF342
In storage for future restoration at the Australian National Aviation Museum, Melbourne, Australia.
Lincoln II RF398
On display at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford, United Kingdom.

Specifications (Lincoln I)

Data from Aircraft of the Royal Air Force 1918-57 [21]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 7 (pilot, flight engineer/co-pilot, navigator, wireless operator, front gunner/bomb aimer, dorsal and rear gunners)
  • Length: 78 ft 3½ in (23.86 m)
  • Wingspan: 120 ft (36.58 m)
  • Height: 17 ft 3½ in (5.27 m)
  • Wing area: 1,421 ft² (132.01 m²)
  • Empty weight: 43,400 lb (19,686 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 75,000 lb (34,100 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 82,000 lb [22] (37,273 kg)
  • Powerplant: 4 × Rolls-Royce Merlin 85 V piston engine, 1,750 hp (1,305 kW) each


  • Maximum speed: 319 mph (475 km/h) at 18,800 (5,640 m)
  • Cruise speed: 215 mph (346 km/h) at 20,000 ft (6,100 m)
  • Range: 2,930 mi (4,720 km)with maximum bomb-load 1,470 miles (2,370 km) [N 1]
  • Service ceiling: 30,500 ft (9,295 m)
  • Rate of climb: 800 ft/min (245 m/min)


  • Guns: 2 × .50 in (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine guns in nose and tail turrets, and dorsal turret with either twin .50 in machine guns or twin 20 mm Hispano cannon.
  • Bombs: Up to 14,000 lb (6,400 kg) of bombs [5] (normal maximum). Exceptionally one 22,000 lb (10,000 kg) DP bomb.[26]

See also



  1. The Lincoln was capable of the following ranges with a 14,000 lb bomb load: 2,800 miles at 15,000 ft and 200 mph; 2,240 miles at 20,000 ft and 260 mph. The Lincoln was capable of the following ranges with a 6,000 lb bomb load: 4,000 miles at 15,000 ft and 200 mph; 3,430 miles at 20,000 ft and 260 mph.[23] Using the Merlin 102 engine, an RAAF Lincoln was able to take off in 2,874 ft with an all up weight of 82,000 lb.[24] A lightened Lincoln, using Merlin 114 engines, and carrying a rocket assisted bomb similar in size and weight to a 12,000 lb Tallboy bomb, was able to achieve 42,000 ft.[25]


  1. Scholefield 1998, p. 37.
  2. "Avro Lincoln." Retrieved: 30 August 2010.
  3. "Avro Lincoln." Retrieved: 30 August 2010.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Jackson 1990, p. 412.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "A73 Avro Lincoln." RAAF Museum, Point Cook. Retrieved: 30 August 2010.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 World Aircraft Information Files 1997
  7. Jackson 1990, p. 406.
  8. Jackson 1990, p. 409.
  9. Marino et al. 2001, p. 65.
  10. Marino et al. 2002, p. 37.
  11. Marino et al. 2002, p. 41.
  12. Marino et al. 2002, pp. 40–41.
  13. Marino et al. 2002, p. 39.
  14. 14.0 14.1 A 61-year Operation Link, the first FAA flight over Antarctica Retrieved: 29 December 2012
  15. "Avro 694 Lincoln modificado Cruz del Sur." Retrieved: 29 December 2012.
  16. The National Archives, London, file ES 1/44.
  17. "No. 4610. Avro 694 Lincoln B.Mk.II (G-37-1)." Maurice Collier Collection. Retrieved: 26 December 2009.
  18. Grant 2003
  19. Franks 2000, pp. 97–99.
  20. google maps
  21. Thetford 1957, p. 65.
  22. Jackson 1990, p. 411.
  23. Flight Magazine, 26 January 1946, p. 59.
  24. Garbett and Goulding 1979, p. 95.
  25. Garbett and Goulding 1979, p. 70.
  26. Mason 1994, p. 357.


  • Buttler, Tony. Avro Lincoln (Warpaint series no. 34). Denbigh East, Bletchley, UK: Hall Park Books, 2000.
  • Franks, Richard A. The Avro Lancaster, Manchester and Lincoln. Bedford, United Kingdom: SAM Publications, 2000. ISBN 0-9533465-3-6.
  • Garbett, Mike and Brian Goulding. Lincoln at War. Shepperton, Surrey, UK: Ian Allan Ltd, 1979. ISBN 0-7110-0847-7.
  • Grant, Jim. "Lincoln Test Beds" Model Aircraft Monthly, Volume 2 Issue 11, SAM Publications, ISSN 1475-3405
  • Jackson, A.J. Avro Aircraft since 1908, 2nd edition. London: Putnam Aeronautical Books, 1990. ISBN 0-85177-834-8.
  • Lake, Alan. Flying Units Of The RAF. London: Airlife Publishing Ltd, 1999. ISBN 1-84037-086-6.
  • Lake, Jon. "Type Analysis: Avro Lincoln" International Air Power Review, Volume 1, 1997, Airtime publishing. ISSN 1473-9917.
  • Marino, Atilo, Vladimiro Celleto and Javier Mosquera. "Argentina's 'Heavies': Avro Lancaster, Lincoln and Lancastrian in Military Service: Part One." Air Enthusiast, No. 95, September/October 2001, pp. 64–70. Stamford, UK. Key Publishing. ISSN 0143-5450.
  • Marino, Atilo, Vladimiro Celleto and Javier Mosquera. "Argentina's 'Heavies': Avro Lancaster, Lincoln and Lancastrian in Military Service: Part Two." Air Enthusiast, No. 97, January/February 2002, pp. 36–43. Stamford, UK. Key Publishing. ISSN 0143-5450.
  • Mason, Francis K. The British Bomber since 1914. London: Putnam, 1994. ISBN 0-85177-861-5.
  • Scholefield, R.A. Manchester Airport. Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK: Sutton Publishing, 1998. ISBN 0-7509-1954-X.
  • Thetford, Owen. Aircraft of the Royal Air Force 1918-57. London: Putnam, 1957.
  • World Aircraft Information Files, File # 022. London: Bright Star Publishing Ltd, 1997.

External links

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