Airco D.H.9A

The Airco D.H.9 was designed as an improvement upon the same company’s successfuI day bomber,  the D.H.4. In particular, the pilot’s and observer’s cockpits were moved closer together, improving in-
fligh communication between the  two crew members. Unfortunately when first introduced in 1917, the D.H.9’s performance proved inferior to the earlier machine. This was rectified by replacing its problematic Siddeley engine with the American Liberty 12 to create the D.H.9A.
The resulting machine entered operational service in the late summer of 1918. It saw only two months of active service before the Armistice, but by then it had proved itself to be an extremely effective day bomber.
Although only 885 “Nine-acks” had been built by the end of World War I, the aircraft went on to become a mainstay of t he RAF’s bomber force for more than a decade during the postwar era.
Armed with one fixed, forward-firing Vickers gun, a Lewis gun for the observer, and up to 660lb of bombs, the “Nine-ack” served against the Bolsheviks in Russia in 1919-20 and against rebels in Iraq during the 1920s. As a “colonial policeman”, it is credited with saving
thousands of troops from deployment to troubled British-governed territories.

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