Martinsyde R.G. / F.1 / F.2
H.King Armament of British Aircraft (Putnam)
R.G. Designed late in 1916, the R.G. was initially armed with a fixed Vickers gun to port and a Lewis gun, having a restricted field of fire, from the starboard side of the cockpit. Later two fixed Vickers guns were substituted, the guns lying exposed forward of the windscreen These guns do not appear to have had Constantinesco gear; they retained the land-service grips and firing levers at the rear and may have had a mechanical gear to allow them to fire through the airscrew arc or to have been intended for the Martinsyde electrical synchronising gear. This, however, dated from early 1916, and may have been entirely abandoned by the time the R.G. underwent official tests at Farnborough in 1917. Certainly the R.G. must have rivalled the Sopwith Camel very closely indeed for the distinction of being the first British fighter to have twin Vickers guns.
F.1. The mystery that surrounds this two-seat fighter of 1917 may be dispelled in some degree by evidence later adduced in connection with the Vickers F.B.24E, an aircraft of similar layout. The author inclines to the view that both aircraft were designed for the Vickers mounting described and illustrated in the context of the Vickers type named.
F.2. An all-round improvement on the F.1, the F.2 was more or less contemporary and had a normal armament. A fixed Vickers gun lay externally to port, and the gunner had a Lewis gun on a Scarff ring-mounting.
W.Green, G.Swanborough The Complete Book of Fighters
MARTINSYDE R.G. UK
Derived from the Elephant via a single-bay experimental variant of the earlier design by A A Fletcher, the R.G. bore a close resemblance to its predecessor and was initially flown late in 1916 with a 190 hp Rolls-Royce Falcon 112-cylinder water-cooled engine. Armament comprised a fixed 0.303-in (7,7-mm) Vickers gun on the port upper longeron, outside the cabane struts, and a Lewis gun on the starboard side of the cockpit. After official trials in February 1917, the R.G. was revised in a number of respects. The cockpit was moved aft and the centre section cut-out was enlarged. The span of the lower wing was reduced and the rear top decking was raised. Armament was changed and consisted of two 0.303-in (7,7-mm) Vickers guns immediately in front of the cockpit, and a 275 hp Falcon III engine was fitted. In this form, the R.G. had, according to the official report, a ‘‘performance ... far and away better than any other machine manufactured”. However, development was discontinued in favour of the superior F.3. The following data relate to the definitive R.G.
Max speed, 132 mph (212 km/h) at 6,500 ft (1 980 m).
Time to 10,000 ft (3 050 m), 7.33 min.
Endurance, 2 hrs.
Empty weight, 1,740 lb (789 kg).
Loaded weight, 2,261 lb (1 026 kg).
Span, 32 ft 0 in (9,75 m).
Length, 25 ft 10 in (7,87 m).
Height, 9 ft 10 in (2,30 m).
Wing area, 310 sqft (28,80 m2).
MARTINSYDE F.1 UK
The F.1 two-seat fighter was conceived late in 1915 as a tractor biplane in which the gunner occupied the forward cockpit and stood upright to fire a 0.303-in (7,7- mm) Lewis gun on a mount built into the upper wing centre section. Powered by a 250 hp Rolls-Royce Mk III engine (later to become known as the Eagle III), the F.1 suffered a somewhat protracted development and, by the time that it was officially tested in July 1917, it was already obsolete. Obviously not acceptable for operational use, the F.1 was not further developed.
Max speed, 109 mph (175 km/h) at 6,500 ft (1 980 m).
Time to 10,000 ft (3 050 m), 13.66 min.
Endurance, 3.75 hrs.
MARTINSYDE F.2 UK
Of more modern concept that the F.1, the F.2 two-seat fighter was, like its predecessors, of wooden construction with fabric skinning, apart from the sides and top decking of the fuselage which were plywood covered. Designed and built while the F.1 was under construction, the F.2 underwent official testing two months prior to its predecessor, in May 1917. The F.2 was powered by a 200 hp Hispano-Suiza 8Bd eight-cylinder water-cooled engine and carried an armament of one fixed and synchronised 0.303-in (7,7-mm) Vickers gun and one Lewis gun on a Scarff ring. Shortcomings revealed during official trials ruled out a production order, and the prototype was utilised as a test-bed for the then-new Sunbeam Arab engine.
Max speed, 120 mph (193 km/h) at sea level.
Time to 10,000 ft (3 050 m), 13.5 min.
Endurance, 2.5 hrs.
Empty weight, 1,547 lb (702 kg).
Loaded weight, 2,355 lb (1 068 kg).
Span, 32 ft 0 in (9,75 m).
Length, 25 ft 0 in (7,62 m).
Height, 8 ft 2 in (2,49 m).
Wing area, 334 sq ft (31,03 m2).