Avro Athena

The Avro 701 Athena was a British advanced trainer aircraft built by Avro in the late 1940s. It was designed to replace the North American Harvard in the Royal Air Force, but was only brought in small numbers, the competing Boulton Paul Balliol being preferred. The 15 production Athenas were used by the RAF from 1950 for armament training at the RAF Flying College at RAF Manby.

Avro Athena
Class Aircraft
Type Fighter
Manufacturer Avro
Production Period 1948 - 1953
Origin United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain)
Country Name Origin Year
United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain) 1948
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Avro 1948 1953 12 View

The Athena was designed to meet the requirements of Air Ministry Specification T.7/45 for a three-seat advanced trainer powered by a turboprop engine for the RAF. The Athena was an all-metal low-winged monoplane, with a side-by-side cockpit. The Air Ministry rethought its requirements in 1947 and replaced the original specification with Specification T.14/47, which specified the use of a Rolls-Royce Merlin 35 piston engine, large stocks of which were held in store.

Despite the change in specification, the first three prototypes were of the turboprop-powered Athena T.1, the first of which, powered by an Armstrong Siddeley Mamba engine, flew on 12 June 1948 at Woodford Aerodrome. The Merlin-powered Athena T.2 first flew on 1 August 1948, and was evaluated against the similar Boulton Paul Balliol.

A small production run of 15 Athenas was ordered for the RAF, but the Balliol was preferred, and no further Athenas were ordered.

The 15 production Athenas were used by the RAF from 1950 for armament training at the RAF Flying College at RAF Manby. A single aircraft was loaned back to Avro and given the civil registration G-ALWA for a demonstration tour of India. No sales resulted and it was returned to the RAF.

Role Trainer
Manufacturer Avro
First flight 12 June 1948
Introduction 1950
Primary user Royal Air Force
Number built 22 (including prototypes)

General characteristics

  • Crew: Two
  • Length: 37 ft 3 in (11.37 m)
  • Wingspan: 40 ft 0 in (12.20 m)
  • Height: 12 ft 11 in (3.94 m)
  • Wing area: 270 ft (25.1 m)
  • Empty weight: 6,540 lb (2,973 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 9,383 lb (4,265 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 x Rolls-Royce Merlin 35 V-12 liquid cooled piston engine, 1,280 hp (955 kW)


  • Maximum speed: 255 kn (293 mph, 472 km/h) at 20,000 ft
  • Cruise speed: 194 kn (223 mph, 359 km/h)
  • Range: 478 NM (550 mi, 886 km)
  • Service ceiling 29,000 ft (8,840 m)
  • Rate of climb: 2,050 ft/min (10.4 m/s)


  • One .303 in Browning machine gun
  • Provision for two 60-lb rockets.

End notes