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Pictures from the Heritage Archives

The first aeroplane that Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft built in quantity under the control of John Siddeley was AW Siskin.Following the WW1 armistice Armstrong Whitworth announced that “since there was no clear government plan for the development of the aircraft industry they would stop building aircraft”; once they had completed the takeover of Siddeley-Deasy John Siddeley quickly persuaded them to reverse this decision. The first aeroplane that Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft built under the leadership of Siddeley was the A.W. Siskin, it was a development of the Siddeley-Deasy S.R.2.

The aircraft was built to meet an air ministry specification which called for a single-seat fighter powered by the Dragonfly radial engine. The Dragonfly failed to meet its anticipated performance and was quickly replaced with the Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar engine; a combination that lead the ministry to place an initial order for 59 aircraft with over 480 models of different types finally being built.

John Siddeley was a great believer in the value of advertising and as the above advert shows he lost no time in bringing the public’s attention to the success of the Jaguar powered Siskin winning the kings Cup Air Race. All of the Armstrong Whitworth aircraft of the 20’s and 30’s were powered by Armstrong Siddeley aero-engines; the Jaguar was notable for being the first such engine in the world to be supercharged.

You can find out more about the Siskin and the curious way in which it failed to complete the Kings Cup race the following year by clicking the following image.


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