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The FN-20 4-gun tail turret on an Avro Lancaster
FN-5 2-gun nose turret on a Lancaster.

Nash & Thomson was a British engineering firm that specialised in the production of hydraulically-operated gun turrets for aircraft. The company was also an important manufacturer of hydraulic powered radar scanners, used on radar systems such as H2S and AI Mark VIII.



Nash & Thomson was established in 1929 at Kingston upon Thames by business partners Archibald Frazer-Nash and Henry Ronald Godfrey. The company was formed to develop the turrets that Frazer Nash had originated, and their designs were consequently numbered in a series prefixed "FN".

Their major competition in the UK was from Boulton Paul who had licensed the designs of the French SAMM company. While the FN turrets used hydraulic power supplied from the aircrafts hydraulic systems, the BP designs used individual hydraulic pumps for each turret supplied from the aircrafts 24 volt electrical system.

In 1996, the remnants were bought by M L Aviation who were themselves subsequently bought by Cobham plc.[1]


FN-120 turret incorporating the Village Inn system, as fitted on a Lancaster.

Nash & Thomson built a wide range of turrets for aircraft. All were powered hydraulically and carried 0.303 inch (7.7 mm) Vickers K or Browning machine guns, except where noted. Many were built by Parnall Aircraft.

  • FN-1 - "lobster back" partially enclosed turret for Hawker Demon
  • FN-4A - four gun rear turret
  • FN-5 - two gun nose turret on Avro Lancaster, Avro Manchester, Short Stirling and Vickers Wellington
  • FN-7 - two gun dorsal turret on Blackburn Botha, Manchester, Short Sunderland, Stirling
  • FN-9 - two gun retractable "dustbin" ventral turret on Wellington, rarely fitted.
  • FN-10 - two gun tail turret on early-model Wellington and Armstrong Whitworth Whitley
  • FN-11 - two gun retractable nose turret in Sunderland
  • FN-13 - four gun tail turret in Sunderland
  • FN-16 - single Vickers 'K' gun front turret in Whitley
  • FN-17 - two gun retractable "dustbin" ventral turret on Whitley, rarely used
  • FN-20 - four gun tail turret on Lancaster, Wellington, Stirling, Wellington, Whitley
  • FN-50 - two gun dorsal turret on Lancaster, late-model Stirling
  • FN-51 - two gun dorsal turret on early-model Handley Page Halifax
  • FN-64 - two gun ventral turret on Lancaster with periscopic sight, rarely fitted
  • FN-82 - two gun (0.5 inch (12.7 mm) Browning) tail turret on late-model Lancaster
  • FN-54 - two gun rearward firing chin turret on Bristol Blenheim Mk.IV and Bristol Beaufort
  • FN-121 - four gun tail turret on late-model Lancaster
  • FN-120 - four gun tail turret on late-model Lancaster fitted with Village Inn gun-laying radar
  • FN-150 - an improved two gun dorsal turret, based on the FN-50, and fitted to many Lancasters


  1. ^ M. L. Aviation

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