Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Royal Aircraft Factory: R.E.7

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Note: This is a sub-section of Royal Aircraft Factory.

The Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.7 was a British two-seat light bomber and reconnaissance biplane.

Based on the RE5 and built as a two-seat reconaissance bomber. It was powered by -

In 1915 contacts were awarded to -

A total of 230 were built.

Developed from the R.E.5 the R.E.7 was designed to carry heavier loads and also suitable for escort and reconnaissance duties. It was an-unequal span biplane with a fixed tail-skid landing gear and powered by a nose-mounted 120hp Beardmore engine driving a four-bladed propeller. The aircraft was built by a number of different contractors with the first aircraft operational with the Royal Flying Corps in France in early 1916. The aircraft had two open cockpits with the observer/gunner in the forward cockpit under the upper wing and the pilot aft.

It was soon found that the aircraft could not be used in the escort role due to the limited field of fire for the single lewis gun, but the R.E.7 had a useful payload and was soon used in the light bomber role with the a more powerful engine (either a 150hp RAF 4a or 160hp Beardmore).

Over a quarter of the aircraft built were used in France in the middle of 1916, but their slow speed and low ceiling with a bomb load made them vulnerable to attack.

The R.E.7s were withdrawn into a training role and a number were used as engine test beds. An unusual role was as a target tug trailing a sleeve drogue for air-to-air firing practice, probably one of the first aircraft used in this role.

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