The Lockheed Ventura was designed as a military version of the Lockheed Model 18. Great Britain placed an initial order for the Ventura Mk.I (Model 37-21-01) in February 1940. The RAF Air Ministry increased the initial order to 300 aircraft in May and submitted a follow-on order for 375 more aircraft later in 1940. These 675 aircraft were on order for about a year before the first flight of a Ventura Mk.I occurred on 31 July 1941.
The Great Britain ordered 487 more Mk.II Venturas (Model 37-27-01) for distribution to the RAF, RCAF, and SAAF. However, the USAAF diverted 264 aircraft for its own use. The first aircraft to actually carry the B-34 designation was the Ventura Mk.IIA (Model 137-27-02). Two hundred were ordered by the Army in 1941. Some of these were diverted for RAF, RAAF, and RNZAF use.
An order for 550 improved versions of the Ventura was placed on 8 August 1941. This aircraft was initially designated O-56, then RB-34B and finally B-37. Only 18 B-37s were completed before the contract was canceled.
Lockheed built 3,028 Ventura's
Serial numbers: 41-38020 to 41-38219
The US Army Air Force took over quite a few Ventura's intended for lend-lease.
Great Britain, Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand all used the Ventura
Span: 65 ft. 6 in.
Length: 51 ft. 5 in.
Height: 11 ft. 11 in.
Weight: 27,750 lbs. (max. gross weight)
Armament: Four .50-cal. and six .30-cal. machine guns plus 3,000 lbs. of bombs
Engines: Two Pratt & Whitney R-2800-21 radials of 2,000 hp. each (takeoff power)
Maximum speed: 315 mph. at 15,000 ft.
Cruising speed: 230 mph.
Range: 2,600 miles (max. ferry range); 950 miles with full bomb load.
Service Ceiling: 24,000 ft.