The Hudson was developed by the Lockheed aircraft corporation from its successful Electra airliner to meet a British requirement for a navigation trainer. The prototype flew for the first time on 10 December 1938, and the Hudson entered service with the Royal Air Force (RAF) in mid-1939. The Hudson was soon employed as a maritime patrol aircraft, and this became its main role in the RAF. It also proved well suited to liaison and transport work. Up until the end of production in May 1943, 2,941 Hudsons were produced; these served with the air forces of Australia, Britain, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States.
Australia was the second country in the world to place an order for the Hudson, and the type entered service with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in January 1940. With the onset of war in the Pacific, the RAAF employed the Hudson in a variety of roles - maritime patrol, reconnaissance, transport, bombing; at a time when the force was suffering from a dearth of modern aircraft it proved a useful machine. The losses suffered by the two RAAF Hudson squadrons in Malaysia, however, demonstrated that it was vulnerable to attack by fighter aircraft. In all, the RAAF in Australia took delivery of 247 Hudsons, and these were operated by eleven operational squadrons - 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 23, 24, 32 and 38 - as well as four communications units and a special transport flight. 459 Squadron also operated Hudsons supplied from British sources in the Mediterranean theatre. In the South-West Pacific Area, Hudsons were replaced in their front-line roles by Bristol Beauforts from 1943 onwards, but the last examples of the type were not retired from RAAF service until 1948.
Lockheed Hudson Mk. III
|Type:||Reconnaissance aircraft/light bomber|
|Crew:||4 - 5|
|Wing span:||19.96 m|
|Weight (unladen):||5,969 kg|
|Endurance:||Maximum range 2,180 km|
|Armament:||Up to 7 x .303-in machine-guns|
726 kg of bombs
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