Birth, first steps and pre-war planes of the Spanish Military Aviation

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The Ansaldo A.300 was an Italian general-purpose biplane aircraft built by the Ansaldo company (now part of FIAT) of Turin from 1920 to 1929. It also served as a light bomber, transport, fighter and reconnaissance aircraft, and finally as an advanced trainer, with examples in service as late as 1940. 50 examples were also license-built in Poland at ZM E. Plage T. Laśkiewicz, but were not a success due to poor quality. Based on Ansaldo's highly successful World War I Balilla and S.V.A scouts, the A.300 was a conventional single-engined two-bay open cockpit biplane of mixed metal and wood-and-fabric construction, powered usually by a water-cooled Fiat A.12bis V12 engine. Most variants had two fixed Vickers guns and one mobile gun mounted in the rear cockpit. It first flew in 1919.

Early examples were two seaters, but the A.300/3 was a three-seater intended for reconnaissance use, of which around 90 were delivered. The most significant variant was the A.300/4, again mostly three-seaters, which started full production in 1923, just as Ansaldo was absorbed into FIAT. This became the standard multi-role aircraft in the newly-formed Regia Aeronautica and served in Italy, Sicily, Sardinia, Corfu, Libya and Eritrea. The A.300 was one of the most numerous aircraft of its time, with the production run of the A.300/4 alone, at 700 units, exceeding the total production of any other type of the 1920s except the Breguet XIX and Potez 25. Despite this, and possibly because it was Italian rather than French or British, it remains one of the least documented contemporary types, certainly the most obscure produced in anything like these numbers.


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The Loring R-1 was a reconnaissance aircraft produced in Spain in the late 1920s. It was the first design by D. Eduardo Barron for Loring, and the firm's first aircraft of its own design. Conventional for its day, it was a sesquiplane with staggered wings that were braced with struts in a Warren truss-like configuration. The pilot and observer sat in open cockpits in tandem and the main units of the fixed, tailskid undercarriage were divided. Thirty examples were produced for the Spanish Army. A refined version was designed as the R-2 before production shifted to the Loring R-3.


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The Felixstowe F.2a entered production and service as a patrol aircraft, with about 100 being completed by the end of World War I. In February 1917, the first prototype of the Felixstowe F.3 was flown. This was a larger and heavier development of the F.2a, powered by two 320 hp (239 kW) Sunbeam Cossack engines. Large orders followed, with the production aircraft powered by Rolls-Royce Eagles. The F.3s larger size gave it greater range and heavier bomb load than the F2, but poorer speed and agility. Approximately 100 Felixstowe F.3s were produced before the end of the war, including 18 built in the dockyards at Malta.

The Felixstowe F.5 was intended to combine the good qualities of the F.2 and F.3, with the prototype first flying in May 1918. The prototype showed superior qualities to its predecessors but the production version was modified to make extensive use of components from the F3, in order to ease production, giving lower performance than either the F.2a or F.3. The Felixstowe was re-exported to America, and a re-jigged Felixstowe/Curtiss with the Curtiss Company, provided the basis for NC-4 which was the first plane to fly the Atlantic.

The carrier Dedalo, also known as "España nº6", was the first carrier of the Spanish Navy. It was a merchant of German flag called Neuenfels which was given to Spain by the Weimar Republic after the WWI as compensation for the sinking of Spanish ships suffered at the hands German submarines. It could carry 2 tethered balloons, which could be tied to the port bow, 2 semi-rigid airships SCA 1,500 m³ (1 operating and one in reserve) with tie and open hangar forward. With regard to seaplanes, perfectly stowed on deck could carry twelve to twenty more, with wings folded inside the hangar. It had a deck of 60 m and a forklift to raise or lower the seaplane hangar, but to most they had to remove the wings to be uploaded or downloaded to it. Transported in their years of service seaplane types: Felixstowe F.3, Savoia S.16 and S.16 bis, Macchi M.18 and Supermarine Scarab.


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The Airco DH.9 (from de Havilland 9) - also known after 1920 as the de Havilland DH.9 - was a British bomber used in the First World War. A single-engined biplane, it was a development of Airco's earlier, highly successful DH.4 and was ordered in very large numbers for Britain's Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force. Its engine was unreliable, and failed to provide the expected power, giving the DH.9 poorer performance than the aircraft it was meant to replace, and resulting in heavy losses, particularly over the Western Front. The subsequently-developed DH.9A had a more powerful and reliable American Liberty L-12 engine.

After the war, Spain imported some DH-9, but Hispano-Suiza engine with 300 hp and the Hispano Aviation in Guadalajara provided since 1922 over a hundred more. Little used in Morocco, the Spanish Havilland equipped several groups of the Peninsula and, especially, was used as a school aircraft and for training transformation observers, shooting and bombing. Some DH-9 served during the Civil War, spread on both sides. The DH-9A was derived from the DH-9 but larger, more powerful, and that did prove effective in the RAF in the last months of World War I and after the war, equipped with the American Liberty motor 400 hp. Spain in 1922 acquired eight DH-9A with the formidable engine of 450 hp Napier Lion. Napier Havilland Squadron operated in Melilla, coming at a time committed to Tetouan and Larache. In 1928 he became the first unit sent to the Spanish Air Sahara, returning to Melilla after a short time. The decline in Napier Havilland took place around 1930-31.


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The Loring R-3 was a 1920s Spanish two-seat sesquiplane reconnaissance aircraft designed by Commandante D. Edurado Barron and built by Dr. Jorge Loring's company, Talleres Loring. It had a two tandem open cockpits and was powered by a 600 hp (447 kW) Hispano-Suiza engine. Some R-3s remained in service until the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War.

In early 1926, Loring began manufacturing a new aircraft designed by Barron sesquiplane Loring, R-III. The aim was to introduce this new model of military aviation since this had decided to select a second supplementary reconnaissance plane that made 19 CASA Breguet under license. The Loring R-III competed in this competition with the Potez 25 submitted by La Hispano Aviacion to build under license. The technical quality of the two aircraft was on a par, but the Military Aviation favored the R-III, given the interest of the Military Board of Primo de Rivera in boosting the domestic industry.

In mid-1926, Loring R-III made its test flights, joining once the first devices, numbers 1 to 4 of manufacture, Larache Seville line. These are commercial appliances were replaced Hispano Suiza engines for about 450 hp Junkers L-2 265 hp, consumer much more economical and suitable for this job. The order that the Military Aeronautics held in April 1927 with budgets of 1925 was exceptional, 110 R-III devices, which begin to leave the assembly line in 1929 Carabanchel. Loring Workshops at this time stood at the head of the Spanish aeronautical industry. In the National Aeronautics Exhibition held at the Crystal Palace El Retiro in October and November 1926 to urge the American Conference of Air Navigation, the flag of four models exhibited Loring totally Spanish: The RI, R-III and T-1, biplane school.


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Before the experimental Cierva C.19 Mk V, autogiros had been controlled in the same way as fixed-wing aircraft, that is by deflecting the air flowing over moving surfaces such as ailerons, elevators and rudder. At the very low speeds encountered in autogiro flight, particularly during landing, these controls became ineffective. The experimental machine showed that the way forward was to have a tilting rotor hub and a control rod coming down from the hub to the pilot's cockpit with which he could change the rotor plane. This was known as "direct control" and was fitted to the C.30. The production variant, called C.30A in England, was preceded by several development machines.

The first production design in the series was the C.30, a radial engined autogiro with a three blade, 37 ft (11.3 m) rotor mounted on an aft-leaning tripod, the control column extending into the rear of the two cockpits. The engine was the five-cylinder, 105 hp (78 kW) Armstrong Siddeley Genet Major I used in the C.19 series. The fabric covered fuselage carried an unbraced tailplane, without elevators but with turned up tips. The port side plane had an inverted aerofoil section to offset the roll-axis torque produced in forward flight by the advancing port side blades. As with most autogiros, a high vertical tail was precluded by the sagging resting rotor, so the dorsal fin was long and low, extending well aft of the tailplane like a fixed rudder and augmented by a ventral fin. The wide track undercarriage had a pair of single, wire braced legs and a small tail wheel was fitted. This model flew in April 1933. It was followed by four improved machines designated C.30P (P here for pre-production) which differed in having a four-legged pyramidal rotor mounting and a reinforced undercarriage with three struts per side. The rotor could be folded rearwards for transport. The C.30P used the more powerful (140 hp, 104 kW) seven-cylinder Armstrong Siddeley Genet Major IA radial engine.

The production model, called the C.30A by Avro, was built under licence in Britain, France and Germany and was similar to the C.30P. The main alteration was a further increase in undercarriage track with revised strutting, the uppermost leg having a pronounced knee with wire bracing. There was additional bracing to the tailplane and both it and the fin carried small movable trimming surfaces. Each licensee used nationally built engines and used slightly different names. In all, 143 production C.30s were built, making it by far the most numerous pre-war autogiro. Between 1933 and 1936, de la Cierva used one C.30A (G-ACWF) to perfect his last contribution to autogyro development before his death in a DC-2 (fixed wing) crash in late 1936. To enable the aircraft to take off without forward ground travel, he produced the "Autodynamic" rotor head, which allowed the rotor to be spun up by the engine in the usual way but to higher than take-off r.p.m at zero rotor incidence and then to reach operational positive pitch suddenly enough to jump some 20 ft (6 m) upwards.

Spain bought two of these aircraft for military aviation and two for the Navy. Were used to monitor the events in Asturias in 1934, in what was the first performance of a rotary-wing aircraft in military operations. In 1998 a Spanish technical committee with the involvement of Albacete's Air Arsenal built a replica of this model, in which flights were made until 2000 when it was delivered to the Air Museum.



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It was a three-engined high-wing braced and full metal construction designed to equip the Squadron Sahara. It was intended that the aircraft could cover a wide range of missions: bombing, transport, recognition ... It was designed by engineer Eduardo Barrón for Loring house, but before the prototype could be completed by Barron, he had to leave the company because of a serious disease. To make matters worse the economic crisis had beaten hard to Loring and all hope to avoid bankruptcy had been put into the contract to produce a series of colonial trimotors for Military Aviation. The test flights took place at the aerodrome of Carabanchel attached to Loring facilities during the summer of 1932. During one of those tests (do not know the date) the aircraft crashed, dying Joaquin Cayón (pilot of LAPE) and two mechanics. As a result of this accident left the project and the Loring house was doomed to a process of industrial restructuring. The Loring Trimotor was fitted with three 9Qa Hispano radial engines of 250 hp (licensed version of the Wright Whirlwind)


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The Goliath was initially designed in 1918 as a heavy bomber capable of carrying 1000 kg of bombs with a range of 1500 km. It was a conventional fixed-undercarriage biplane of wooden construction with canvas covering, powered by two Salmson Z.9 engines. It had a simple and robust, yet light structure. The wings were rectangular with a constant profile. Hollow wooden main wing spars were used for the first time. It was undergoing initial testing when World War I came to an end and Farman realized there would be no orders for his design. Nonetheless he was quick to understand that the big, box-like, fuselage of the Goliath could be easily modified to convert the aircraft into an airliner. Commercial aviation was beginning to appear and was in need of purpose-built aircraft. With the new passenger cabin arrangement, the Goliath could carry up to 12 or 14 passengers. It had large windows to give the passengers a view of the surroundings. The Salmson engines could be replaced by other types (Renault, Lorraine) if a customer desired it. Approximately sixty F.60 Goliath were built. Between 1927 and 1929, eight Goliaths with various engines were built under licence in Czechoslovakia, four by Avia and four by Letov.

In 1922 General Francisco Echagüe, director of Military Aeronautics, thought it was time to replace the aircraft from the stock ally of the Great War for equipment upgrading and new construction and homogenizing the material in the squadrons. To this end he was summoned by Royal Decree of 3 December the same year, a competition for the selection of new equipment in the categories of fighter, reconnaissance and bombing. It envisaged that the service would charge the construction of 30 fighters, 30 reconnaissance aircraft and 10 bombers of the winning models. Testing began in February 1923 in Cuatro Vientos aerodrome. In point of bombing appeared to contest a single device: a French Farman F.60 Goliath. The aircraft was a twin-engine biplane bomber derivative of F.50. Designed in 1918, did not fly in time to participate in the World War. F.60 size and its wide-body did it suitable for transportation of passengers, so we decided to continue its development in that direction. The modified prototype flew in January 1919 and immediately began mass production, exceeding the figure of 60 copies, which was a commercial success. The civil F.60 operated in various airlines and in 1933 some were still flying. Farman continued parallel development of the military version, giving the first bombers F.60 Bn.2 the Aéronautique Militaire in 1922. The production of the different variants of military F.60 reached 300 specimens exported to countries like Japan, Italy, Poland and the USSR.

The Goliath brought in 1923 to Cuatro Vientos mounted engines of 375 hp Lorraine, and during the tests was piloted by French Coupet. The competition in the category of bomber was declared void, but the copy submitted must be purchased by the Service, a Farman F.60 was present at the opening of the airfield Tablada (Sevilla) in April. Goliath would be paid two to be formed with the half squadron of heavy bombardment in the database. This unit featured a device always kept in Melilla making war service. There is no known date of termination of the F.50, but probably if there was one in flying condition in 1923, would retire when it enters service the new F.60. Ignacio Hidalgo de Cisneros (head of the Republican Air Force during the Civil War) carried out bombing missions in Morocco with chemical weapons at the controls of aircraft Farman F.60. From reading the memoirs of Hidalgo de Cisneros is clear that one reason he advised the purchase of the Goliath was his ability to carry 4 or 6 large bombs of 100 kg. loaded with mustard gas (apparently from the Allied war stock.) Bombing with chemical weapons on enemy concentrations were carried out at night to prevent gases volatilize the effect of high daytime temperatures, so they could expand and increase the persistence of its effects. It appears that the adequacy of the justification for these missions F.60 maintenance problems posed by such heavy equipment operating from airfields in Africa. These aircrafts were retired in 1928.


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In February 1028 the government approved the acquisition of three different models bombers (a Fokker, a Junkers and Rohrbach) for the purpose of tests and select the one best suited to Spanish needs. Seems to have finally arrived in Spain a single Junkers K-30 bomber that would be tested even wearing the same summer the Swedish civil registration S-AABH (due to the restrictions of Versailles the Junkers had moved their production to Malmoe). The K 30 was a three-engined (engine Junkers L 5, 310 hp), low-wing monoplane with fixed landing gear and the cladding of corrugated iron typical Junkers, as can be seen as a clear precursor of the famous Ju-52.

The K-30 received in 1928 was the only specimen of this model acquired by the Spanish Air Force, so late into the civil war there will be no real aircraft bombing in Spain. The Junkers K-30 was the numeral 49-1 and served in the Training Squadron where he usually piloted by Captain Gallego. In late 1931, the Junkers were integrated into the Fleet Trimotor Unit No. 1 (Getafe), accounting for several years the only material that drive wheel, where it would mount Cascón usual captain. By this time the detachments made ​​trimotor newspapers in the Cape Juby airfield (Sahara).


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Aeronáutica Militar bought a prototype and a license in 1923, and started production in the CASA works, in A2 and B2 variants. The first 19 aircraft were imported, the next 26 completed from French parts, then 177 were manufactured (50 of them had Hispano-Suiza engine, the rest the Lorraine-Dietrich 12Eb engine). The Breguet 19 was the basic equipment of Spanish bomber and reconnaissance units until the initial period of the Spanish Civil War.

In July 1936, there were less than hundred in service in the Spanish Republican Air Force. They were actively used as bombers during the war, especially on the government's side. In 1936, the Nationalists bought an additional twenty from Poland. With an advent of more modern fighters, the Br.19 suffered many losses, and after 1937 were withdrawn from frontline service. The Republican side lost 28 aircraft, and Nationalists lost 10 (including 2 Republican and 1 Nationalist aircraft, that deserted). The remaining aircraft were used for training until 1940.


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The Vickers Vildebeest and the similar Vickers Vincent were two very large two- to three-seat single-engined British biplanes designed and built by Vickers and used as a light bomber, torpedo bomber and in the army cooperation roles. While first flown in 1928, it remained in service at the start of the Second World War, with the last Vildebeests flying against Japanese forces over Singapore and Java in 1942.

The Vildebeest was ordered by the Spanish Republic in 1934 and licence production of 27 Vildebeest was undertaken in Spain by CASA most receiving the Hispano-Suiza HS 600 inline engine, though some other engines were also used. Around 20 survived to fight with the Spanish Republican Air Force on the loyalist side of the Spanish Civil War, some equipped with floats.


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The Spanish "Aeronautica Militar" started to take deliveries of ND-52s in 1930, production continuing until 1933, equipping three fighter units, Grupo 11, Grupo 1 and Grupo 13. The Nieuport fighter (known as the "Hispano-Nieuport" was unpopular in Spanish service, being described as heavy and unresponsive, while it was slower than expected, with Spanish aircraft only able to reach 225 km/h (140 mph) compared with the 260 km/h (162 mph) claimed by Nieuport. Losses to accidents were heavy, with only 56 remaining when the Spanish Civil War broke out on 18 July 1936.


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On Septembre 1929, comes to Barcelona from Calende Sesto (Italy), the first Savoia SM-62 that later form the basis for making a series of 36 seaplanes, which were manufactured in Barcelona, with Hispano-Suiza engines in the workshops of the Naval Aviation. The first aircrafts were delivered in early 1931 and finished in early 1936. Flew during the SCW on both sides and were discharged at the end of 1938.


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The Macchi M.18 was a flying boat produced in Italy in the early 1920s. Originally planned as a passenger aircraft, it entered production as a bomber before eventually being offered on the civil market that it was originally intended for. A conventional design for World War I, it was a biplane flying boat with unstaggered wings of unequal span braced by Warren truss-style struts. The engine was mounted pusher-fashion in the interplane gap, and the pilot and observer sat in side-by-side open cockpits. An open position was provided in the bow for a gunner.

In addition to the standard military version, a version with folding wings was produced for shipboard use as the M.18AR. This equipped the Italian Navy's seaplane tender Giuseppe Miraglia and the Spanish Navy's Dédalo. The latter service used the type in action against Moroccan rebels. Six of the 20 machines purchased by Spain remained in service at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War and were used to attack Nationalist forces on Majorca as well as flying reconnaissance patrols. Portugal also operated the type, buying eight examples in 1928.


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In 1917, George Handasyde of Martinsyde designed a single seat biplane fighter powered by a Rolls-Royce Falcon V-12 engine, the Martinsyde F.3, with a single prototype being built as a private venture without an official order, and had flown at Brooklands aerodrome by October 1917. six being ordered in 1917, with the first flying in November that year. Its performance during testing was impressive, demonstrating a maximum speed of 142 mph (229 km/h), and was described in an official report as "a great advance on all existing fighting scouts", resulting in an order for six pre-production aircraft and 150 production fighters being placed late in 1917. It soon became clear, however, that all Falcon production was required to power Bristol F.2 Fighters, so use of the Falcon for the F.3 would be problematical. To solve this problem, Martinsyde designed a new fighter based on the F.3, but powered by a 300 hp (224 kW) Hispano-Suiza engine, the F.4 Buzzard. The Buzzard, like the F.3, was a single bay tractor biplane powered by a water cooled engine. It had new lower wings compared with the F.3 and the pilot's cockpit was positioned further aft, but otherwise the two aircraft were similar. The prototype F.4 was tested in June 1918, and again demonstrated excellent performance, being easy to fly and maneuverable as well as very fast for the time.[8] Large orders followed, with 1,450 ordered from Martinsyde, Boulton Paul Ltd, Hooper Co and the Standard Motor Company. It was planned to equip the French Aéronautique Militaire as well as the British Royal Air Force, and production of a further 1,500 aircraft in the United States of America was planned.

Deliveries to the RAF had just started when the Armistice between the Allies and Germany was signed. Martinsyde was instructed to only complete those aircraft which were part built, while all other orders were cancelled. The Buzzard was not adopted as a fighter by the post war RAF, the cheaper Sopwith Snipe being preferred despite its lower performance. Martinsyde continued development of the Buzzard, buying back many of the surplus aircraft from the RAF, and producing two seat tourers and floatplanes. After the bankruptcy of Martinsyde in 1924, these aircraft were obtained by the Aircraft Disposal Company which continued to develop and sell F.4 variants for several years.

The Spanish Military Aviation acquired 20 aircraft of this type in 1921, for use in Morocco. In 1931 they were transfered to the Navy. At the beginning of the Civil War in 1936, 10 of these aircrafts are still in service, but only 7 in flight status. Located at the base of San Javier (Murcia) all of them fell in Republican hands. They were coded MS-2, MS-3, MS-5, MS-6, MS-7, MS-8, MS-10, being the MS-6 and MS-7 two-seaters.


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In 1922 the Navy was testing the possibility of acquiring torpedo planes so in October of that year he sent to Britain to Lieutenant Vincent Cervera Jiménez-Alfaro and to witness the plane's flight test Blackburn T.1 Swift Mk.II to be held in London in November. The Swift Mk.II was the export version of Blackburn T.1 Swift, a large car biplane (14'55 m wingspan) capable of launching a 760 kg Whitehead torpedo. The Swift was designed to operate from aircraft carriers so its wings were folded back. Cervera's report should have been positive as a Royal Order dated March 17, 1923 provides for the granting of a loan of 663 864 pesetas to the acquisition of two Swift Mk.II the Blackburn Aeroplane Motor Sci. On 27 August of that year one of the Spanish Swift held an impressive demonstration of torpedo on the River Humber to representatives of the Admiralty, the British Air Ministry and commissioned a number of foreign governments (should be noted that the Swift also exported to the U.S. and Japan). The next day would be conducted acceptance tests satisfactorily and the two shortstops be declared fit for service by the Spanish Armada. In September both units shipped would be heading to Barcelona would initially framed in the School of Naval Aeronautics, airport El Prat de Llobregat. Received fees and M-M-NTBB NTBA. In this British airfield became instructors for the new type to several Spanish naval pilots. The original Swift cars were planes but apparently to teaching assignments could open some hatches after the position where the pilot could "accommodate" the instructor. However, in the photographs of the Spanish Swift clearly shows the existence of a second equipped with windshield.

In July 1927 approving the acquisition of a third shortstop Blackburn. It was Blackburn T.3 Velos of a Dart T.2 development which in turn derived from T.1 Swift. Unlike their predecessors had been designed as Velos seaplane (although the floats could be easily replaced by a train of wheels). The Velos was a most versatile device that Swift because, in addition to tasks could be used as a torpedo bomber (4 230 lb bombs.) And as a reconnaissance aircraft, for that it had an observer position with dual control and two Lewis guns of 7.95 mm. Scarff ring on front stock. Along with the Velos acquired two sets of floats with which to equip the Navy Swift was still in service. This constitutes the squadron (or Patrol) Aircraft equipped with 3 Torpedo Blackburn. The registry receives T.3 M-T.1 NTAC while new enrollments are M-and M-Ntab NTAA. The Squadron took part in naval maneuvers held in 1928 and 1929. From that date is already being felt material fatigue. On February 27, 1931 Blackburn occupied by Lieutenant Rafael Romero and Jesús Conde Rodríguez Núñez suffered an engine fire in flight. The pilot, barely visible, manages to turn over in the field of Prat was wounded. The machine was completely burnt. Blackburn were relegated to auxiliary tasks, serving in the Aviation Authority (Madrid) and the Photographic Service of Naval Aeronautics (San Javier). In the summer of 1931 had been made in Britain comparative tests between the Vickers and the Blackburn Ripon Vildebeest Mk.IV to select a new torpedo for the Navy. The Vildebeest was selected and a prototype equipped with Hispano-Suiza engine arrived in Spain in 1932 as a model for the national production of 25 copies. That same year was low the last Blackburn Spanish. The three Blackburn had been a great school that would allow the Spanish Naval Aviation to train pilots in the tactics of torpedoing and develop a doctrine of using this type of equipment that would be the basis for Spain in 1936 to have an independent force of three squadrons Vildebeest torpedo (a deterrent to keep in mind too). The outbreak of the Civil War would destroy all these efforts and within months the force of torpedo planes would be nothing to use their aircraft as a scattered land fronts on missions for which they were not designed.

(Translated with Google translator)


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The Supermarine Scarab was a military flying-boat, based upon the Sea Eagle, built for the Spanish Naval Air Service. It was fitted with a .303 in (7.7 mm) Lewis gun and a bomb load of 1,000 lb 454 kg. In early 1924, the Spanish Goverment acquired 12 reconnaissance and bombing hydroplanes, militarized version of the Supermarine Sea Eagle. Destinated to the carrier Dedalo, five of them were destroyed by an accident in August 25th, being used the rest of them at the landing of Alhucemas


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