Sopwith 'Pup' Scout, Old Warden 2009 ©Nigel Key
9 February 1916.
Influenced by the Sopwith Sparrow, the Sopwith Scout, nicknamed 'Pup' was designed by Herbert Smith of the Sopwith Aviation Company in 1916.
The 'Pup' was designed as a single bay single seat fighter of wooden construction covered in doped fabric. The wings were staggered equal span with ailerons to control lateral movement rather than the earlier wing warping technique.
The prototype and initial production models were powered by a Le Rhone 9 rotary engine producing 80 hp, fixed main undercarriage on V-struts and armed with a 0.303" Vickers machine gun synchronised to shoot through the propeller arc.
During February 1916, the prototype was completed and sent to Upavon for trials in late March. The Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) ordered two more prototypes and subsequently placed a production order with deliveries arriving in August 1916 reaching No.8 Squadron RNAS in October 1916.
The Royal Flying Corps (RFC) also ordered the Sopwith Pup and started to receive them December 1916 at No.54 Squadron. Altogether, 1,770 aircraft were built between Sopwith, Standard Motor Company, Whitehead Aircraft and William Beardmore & Co.
The Sopwith Pup was produced from 1916 to 1918, with 1,770 built.
Le Rhone 9C engine, producing 80 hp.
1 x Vickers 0.303” machine gun.
The Sopwith 'Pup' was superior over the German aircraft of the day due to its lightweight construction, relative larger wing area, ailerons on both wings resulting in a good rate of climb, excellent agility and manoeuvrability.
However, by spring 1917 the 'Pup' had become outclassed by the latest German fighters. The 'Pups' of the RNAS were replaced first by the Sopwith Triplane and then the Sopwith Camel but the RFC squadrons had to make do, suffering increasing casualties, until December 1917.
In the summer of 1917, two new squadrons of Sopwith 'Pups' were formed for Home Defence, No.112 Squadron in July and No.61 Squadron in August. The later Home Defence 'Pups' were powered by the Gnome Monosoupage engine producing 100 hp providing an improved rate of climb.
On August 2nd of August 1917, a Sopwith 'Pup', piloted by Squadron Commander Edwin Dunning, was the first aircraft to land on a moving ship, HMS Furious. Tragically, Dunning was killed when the 'Pup' fell over the side of the ship at the third landing attempt.
The Sopwith 'Pup' was used as a ship-based aircraft on three carriers, HMS Campania, Furious and Manxman. They were also used on some cruisers and battleships being launched from platforms which were attached to gun turrets.
The 'Pup' was also used extensively as a trainer, with students often graduating to the 'Pup' after basic training in the Avro 504k, and also used for Combat Training.
|Crew - 1|
|Wing Type - Biplane|
|Length - 19ft 3.75in (5.89m)|
|Wingspan - 26ft 6in (8.08m)|
|Height - 9ft 5in (2.87m)|
|Empty Weight - 787lb (357kg)|
|Max. Weight - 1,225lb (556kg)|
|Max. Speed - 111mph (179km/h)|
|Range - 186 miles (300km)|