During the Second World War experimental work concentrated on bomb ballistics and firing trials.

Between 1938 and 1959 a majority of the firing trials were concentrated in this area. The firing trials were mainly concerned with determining the vulnerability of aircraft and aircraft components to attack by various projectiles. Whole aircraft or individual parts such as fuel tanks, oxygen tanks or running engines were subjected to carefully controlled and recorded simulations of attack.

A principal area of work involved improving the lethality of Allied ammunition and improving the protection of Allied aircraft against German ammunition. A wide range of aircraft including four- engine bombers would be lined up here undergoing trials.

To determine vulnerability the aircraft were shot at with .303 rifles from all angles, a single shot at a time, with each bullet hole marked and recorded after every shot. After the war work continued on machine gun ammunition, rockets and other projectiles, on the vulnerability of aircraft to attack and the development of techniques to record projectiles in flight and duplicate various effects experimentally.

This work continued until the early 1960s and was latterly very largely concerned with the aerodynamics and ballistics of the first nuclear weapons.
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Links: www.nationaltrust.org.uk
By: kjfitz


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