Aircraft Type Index

Bomber Planes Index



Airco DH9A Bomber Plane

The Airco DH9A was a total re-design of the Airco DH9 medium bomber to remove deficiencies existing in the original aircraft and increase it's weapon load capability, it was given a more powerful Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII or American Liberty engine which necessitated a strengthened fuselage and new radiator, the wings also had their span and chord increased. Both the DH9 and DH9A were designed by Aircraft Manufacturing Co. Ltd's chief designer, Capt. Geoffrey de Havilland, who used his initials in the designation of the aircraft he designed.

Airco DH9A Bomber Plane


The de Havilland dh9A went into production in 1918 and 885 aircraft were produced by the end of WW1 by a dozen British manufactures, the primary contractors being de-Havilland and Westland. As the DH9A only entered service at the end of WW1, only four operational squadrons were sent to France. Although the DH9A's only operated for a short period during WWI it rapidly gained a reputation for rugged reliability with their air-crews and the nickname 'Ninak' (Nin + Ack = Nine +A = 9A).

After WW1 the de Havilland dh9A bomber along with the Bristol F2b fighter formed the backbone of the newly formed Royal Air Force and were used notably in 'Policing duties' in Iraq from 1921 to 1927. The Airco DH9a's remained in RAF use up to the end of the 1930's although it was retired from it's original bombing role in early 1931. When production of the 'Ninak' finally ceased in excess of 2,500 aircraft had been produced.

Unlicensed production took place in Russia for the Red Air Force and additional aircraft were made in the US and many European countries most noticeably those made by SABCA in Belgium and Hispano-Suiza powered dh9A aircraft in Spain. One notable unusual feature of the dh9A was a spare tail-wheel tyre carried as standard under the rear fuselage.


Airco DH9a bomber specifications:


  • Single Forward fireing.303 Vickers machine gun
  • One or two .303 Lewis machineguns on rear cockpit scarff ring
  • 460-660 lb (208.7-299.4 kg) of externally carried bombs

Airco DH9A Cockpit and
interrupted fire Vickers
machine gun

Airco DH9A Cockpit

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