30 December 1916 – Aircraft and Engines

1916 has seen a massive increase in aircraft production to keep up with the ever expanding demands of the RFC and RNAS.

Britain produced 706 single-seater aircraft and 4964 two-seaters in 1916, showing the continued predominance of aircraft needed for reconnaissance and spotting duties. The corresponding figures for 1915 were 224 and 1323.

The reliance on foreign produced (mainly French) aircraft has dropped, though these still are still a major part of the RFC and RNAS inventory numbering 173 and 737 respectively in 1916 compared to 93 and 173 in 1915.

However, seaplane and flying boat production is almost entirely home grown now. British production expanded from 252 in 1915 to 433 in 1916, whereas foreign aircraft fell from 87 to 21.

It is a similar story with engines where local production has soared to meet demand. The production of stationery engines has trebled from 1365 in 1915 to 3839 in 1916. Engines from abroad also trebled over the period from 332 to 952.

British reliance on French-built rotary engines has dropped however as the production of license-built copies of various French designs has taken off. British firms increased production from 350 to 1500. French built engines are still important though with 912 acquired in 1916 compared to 567 in 1915.


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