Mark XIV Bomb Sight

The Mark XIV Computing Bomb Sight was a vector bombsight developed and used by Royal Air Force Bomber Command during the Second World War. The bombsight was also known as the Blackett sight after its primary inventor, P. M. S. Blackett. Production of a slightly modified version was also undertaken in the United States as the Sperry T-1, which was interchangeable with UK-built version.

Developed in 1939, the Mk. XIV started replacing the First World War-era Course Setting Bomb Sight in 1942. The Mk. XIV was essentially an automated version of the Course Setting sight, using a mechanical computer to update the sights in real-time as conditions changed. The Mk. XIV required only 10 seconds of straight flight before the drop, and could account for shallow climbs and dives as well. More importantly, the Mk. XIV sighting unit was much smaller than the Course Setting sight, which allowed it to be mounted on a gyro stabilization platform. This kept the sight pointed at the target even as the bomber manoeuvred, dramatically increasing its accuracy and ease of sighting.

The Mk. XIV was theoretically less accurate than the contemporary Norden bombsight but was smaller, easier to use, faster-acting and better suited to night bombing. It equipped the majority of the RAF bomber fleet; small numbers of Stabilized Automatic Bomb Sights and Sperry S-1s were used in specialist roles. A post-war upgrade, the T-4, also known by its rainbow code Blue Devil, connected directly to the navigation computer to automate the setting of windspeed and direction and further increase accuracy. These equipped the V Bomber force as well as other aircraft.

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Mark XIV bomb sight", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

Manufacturer: Royal Air Force
Date: 1939

This exhibit has a reference ID of CH42900. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.

 

Mark XIV Bomb Sight


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