de Havilland DH98 Mosquito

Nicknamed the "wooden wonder", the Mosquito was one of the most remarkable aircraft of the Second World War. It was designed as an unarmed light bomber, the speed of which would be its primary defence. In order to make the airframe as light as possible, and owing to a shortage of light alloys, the Mosquito was built almost entirely of wood. Although the Royal Air Force was doubtful of the concept, a small production run was ordered and the first prototype flew in November 1940. Its performance, however, quashed any doubts about the viability of the aircraft. A larger order was placed immediately and the first operational flights of the Mosquito occurred in September 1941. Ultimately, 7,781 Mosquitos were produced before the last production line closed in 1950, including 1,034 in Canada and 212 in Australia.

The Mosquito's capacious fuselage proved extremely versatile and the aircraft was adapted to fulfil a variety of roles. It was produced in photo-reconnaissance, night-fighter, fighter-bomber, and maritime-strike variants, as well as in its original high-speed bomber configuration. Australian pilots flew the Mosquito in all of its guises, but it was the fighter-bomber variants that were predominantly operated by Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Squadrons - 456 and 464 in Europe, and 1, 9 and 87 in the South-West Pacific Area. Although 87 Squadron's aircraft were used for photo-reconnaissance, they were actually modified fighter-bombers. It was 87 Squadron that operated Mosquitos for the longest period, and they were retired from RAAF service with the disbandment of the squadron in 1953.

Specifications:



De Havilland Mosquito FB. VI

Type:   Twin-engine fighter-bomber
Entered service:   1942
Crew:   2
Wing span:   16.51 m
Length:   12.45 m
Weight (unladen):   6,487 kg
Ceiling:   10,058 m
Endurance:   Maximum range 3,033 km
Speed:   611 km/h
Armament:   4 x .303-in machine-guns
4 x 20-mm cannon
454 kg of bombs in bomb bay 454 kg of bombs or 8 x 27-kg rockets under wings


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