The Lockheed Ventura medium bomber was developed as a replacement for the Hudson, then serving with Britain's Royal Air Force (RAF). Based on the Loadstar transport, the prototype flew for the first time in July 1941 and deliveries to the RAF commenced in June 1942. It was initially employed by Bomber Command for precision raids over occupied Europe, but, like most dedicated bombers in RAF service, its performance made it vulnerable to enemy fighters when not escorted. In mid-late 1943 it was withdrawn from service with Bomber Command and thereafter its principal operator was Coastal Command, which used it as a maritime patrol aircraft.
Two Royal Australian Air Force Squadrons - 459 and 464 - flew Venturas, in the Middle East and Europe respectively. 459 Squadron operated principally against enemy shipping in the Mediterranean, while 464 used the type in daylight raids over Europe. In the South-West Pacific Area, the RAAF operated 75 Venturas, beginning in mid-1943. The majority served with 13 Squadron. These aircraft were mainly employed as maritime patrol aircraft, but were also directed against land targets and used as transports. The Ventura's RAAF career ended with the disbandment of 13 Squadron in January 1946.
The Ventura also served with the air forces of Canada, France, New Zealand, South Africa, and with the United States Army, Navy and Marines; 2,475 were produced.
|Crew:||4 - 5|
|Wing span:||19.96 m|
|Weight (unladen):||9,161 kg|
|Endurance:||Maximum range 2,671 km|
|Armament:||2 x .303-in machine-guns|
4 x .5-in machine-guns
1,360 kg of bombs in bomb bay 907 kg of bombs under wings
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