Martin MB-1

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Martin MB-1

Martin MB-1 Biplane History
In 1916 the United States Army Air Service (USAAS) requested an American built heavy bomber to equal or exceed the performance of the new British Handley Page Type O WW1 heavy bomber which was in service with the British RFC. Glenn L. Martin responded to this urgent request with the twin engined Martin MB-1 biplane strategic heavy bomber, which was the first purpose built bomber to be produced by the United States. By the time the Martin MB-1 aircraft was ready to go into production, in September 1918, WW1 was drawing to a close. The design proved better than the type O bomber but not as good as other new bombers like the Vickers Vimy.

Martin MB-1k Bomber Introduction:
With WW1 nearly over, most of the outstanding Martin MB-1 orders were cancelled by the US government, with only the first twenty Martin MB-1 bombers actually being produced. None of the Martin MB-1 bombers built arrived in Europe in time to be used during WW1. Of the ten aircraft supplied to the Army Air Service, the first four aircraft to be produced were set up as observation aircraft, the following two as bombers and three of the final four were configured experimentally. Six of these aircraft were later converted for use as mail carriers and used by the United States Postal Service.

The United States Navy had the other ten Martin MB-1 variants, which were used by itself and the Marine Corps as torpedo bombers. One of the Marine Corpsí aircraft, A-5720, placed third in the National Air Races, held in St. Louis on October 5, 1923. These aircraft were used as observation aircraft in the Battle of Blair Mountain, during the West Virginian Coal Wars.

Martin MB-1k Biplane Survivors:
A replica of the later version, the Martin MB-2 can be seen in the Early Years Gallery of the National Museum of the United States Air Force, Dayton, Ohio.

Various scale models, model kits and plans of this aircraft have been available in the market place.

Martin MB-1k Specifications:

Martin MB-1 Crew:
Pilot, bombardier and gunner
Martin MB-1 Length:
44 ft 10 in (13.67 m)
Martin MB-1 Wingspan:
71 ft 5 in (21.77 m)
Martin MB-1 Height:
14 ft 7 in (4.45 m)
Martin MB-1 Empty weight:
6,702 lb (3,040 kg)
Martin MB-1 Gross weight:
10,225 lb (4,638 kg)
Martin MB-1 Engines:
Twin 400 hp (298 kW) Liberty 12A liquid-cooled V12 piston engines
Martin MB-1 Maximum speed:
105 mph (169 km/h)
Martin MB-1 Cruise speed:
92 mph (148 km/h)
Martin MB-1 Range:
390 miles (628 km)
Martin MB-1 Service ceiling:
10,300 ft (3,100 m)
Martin MB-1 Rate of climb:
630 ft/min (3.2 m/s)

Martin MB-1k Bomber Armament:

1,040 lb of bombs

Five .30-caliber machine guns
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