The Short Sunderland II was introduced in 1941, and was the first version of the aircraft to carry ASV radar. It was probably this radar installation that earned the Sunderland the German nickname “porcupine”. The ASV Mk II radar needed eight transmitter aerials on each side of the hull, four dorsal dipole receiving masts and central and underwing Yagi homing aerial arrays, so the Sunderland really did bristle with spikes.
The Sunderland II was powered by four Bristol Pegasus XVIII engines with two stage super-chargers. During the production run the two beam guns were replaced with a two-gun F.N.7 turret, as used on the Blackburn Botha. Only 43 Sunderland IIs were produced – 23 at Shorts’ Rochester plant, 15 at Short & Harland, Belfast and 5 by Blackburn at Dumbarton. The extra equipment increased the weight of the Sunderland II, and despite the slightly more powerful engines the overall performance went down slightly.
Engine: Four Bristol Pegasus XVIII
Span: 112ft 9in
Length: 85ft 7in
Height: 34ft 6in
Max speed: 205mph
Loaded Weight: 58,000lb
Maximum Range: 2,800 nautical miles/ 3,222 miles
Armament (early): Two 0.303in in nose turret, four in tail turret and two in beam positions
Armament (late): Two 0.303in in nose turret, four in tail turret and three in dorsal turret
Bomb load: 2,000lb on retractable racks