British light bombers and reconnaissance aircrafts

Discussion in 'Aircraft Pictures' started by gekho, Dec 8, 2011.

  1. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    Blackburn B-24 Skua

    The Skua was the Fleet Air Arm's first fighter/dive-bomber and its first operational monoplane. The Skua was also the first radial-engined all-metal cantilever low-wing monoplane with folding wings, flaps, a retractable landing gear and variable-pitch propeller to be produced in Britain. It was first flown in prototype form on 9 February 1937. The crew of two sat in a glazed cabin, the rear-gunner being armed with one Lewis gun and the pilot with four Browning guns mounted in the wings. One 227kg armour-piercing bomb was carried under the fuselage.

    To meet the Royal Navy's ugent requirements 190 Skuas were ordered in July 1936 (six months before the prototype flew) and deliveries were completed in March 1940. Skuas re-equipped Nos 800 and 803 Squadrons on board the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal and No 801 on board HMS Furious. A Dornier Do 18 flying-boat - the first enemy aircraft shot down during World War II by the FAA - fell to the guns of a Skua of No 803 Squadron piloted by Lt B. S. McEwen off Heligoland on 25 September 1939. Although quickly replaced as a fighter, it was a very effective dive-bomber, its greatest success being the sinking of the German cruiser Konigsberg in Bergen Harbour on 10 April 1940, which was attacked by seven Skuas of No 800 Squadron led by Capt R. T. Partridge RM and nine Skuas of No 803 Squadron led by Lt W. P. Lucy RN. This involved a long-distance night crossing from Hatston, Orkney. The majority were lost 11 days later when both squadrons embarked on Ark Royal to cover the Narvik operations. In June 1940 No 801 Squadron operated over the Dunkirk beaches from a temporary base at Detling, Kent. After brief operations on board Ark Royal and Argus in the Mediterranean, Skuas were relegated to target-towing in distinctive diagonal black and yellow stripes.

    Source: Blackburn B-24 Skua - carrier-borne dive-bomber
     

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  2. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    #2 gekho, Dec 8, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2012
    The Roc was a two-seat Fleet fighter/dive-bomber developed from the Skua but with a wider rear fuselage to accommodate a Boulton Paul power-driven turret with four Browning machine-guns. The entire production of 136 aircraft was subcontracted to Boulton Paul Ltd, Wolverhampton. The first aircraft flew on 23 December 1938. Four Rocs were also flown experimentally with float landing gears. Rocs served briefly with Nos 801 and 806 Squadrons, FAA, in 1940. When broadsides by the four turret guns proved a failure, Rocs were relegated to second-line duties in the UK, Egypt and Bermuda. Many were painted with diagonal black and yellow stripes in 1940 as target-tugs. Others were used in 1941 for sea searches for survivors of sinking ships and aircraft in the English Channel.

    Source: Blackburn B-25 Roc - fighter
     

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  3. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Can the windscreen get any straighter :lol:

    Another excellent thread my friend.
     
  4. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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  5. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    The A-34 designation was assigned for contractual purposes to a Lend-Lease version of the Brewster SB2A-2 intended for delivery to Great Britain. The SB2A-2 and Model B-340E (export version) "Bermuda" (originally known as "Buccaneer") were modified for land use and much of the equipment for operating from an aircraft carrier removed (folding wings, arrestor hook and catapult gear). The rear turret of the Navy version was replaced with a flexible machine gun mount for the rear gunner. The "Bermuda" was inferior to other more capable aircraft and was used primarily in secondary roles like training and target tug.

    Source: Factsheets : Brewster A-34
     

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  6. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    In 1935 Pan American engineers working closely with A. A. Gassner developed this amphibious aircraft that was to be known as the Fairchild F-91. It was an all metal shoulder wing monoplane intended to carry eight passengers. The aircraft featured fully retractable landing gear and could cruise at 155 MPH at sea level and 151 MPH at 8000 feet. While a very attractive airplane only eleven were ever produced with two of those going to the Brazilian subsidiary of Pan American for use on the Amazon River. These two aircraft served faithfully until 1945 when they were stripped of all useful equipment and scrapped. The prototype aircraft was purchased by a clandestine operative for the Spanish Republicans but the aircraft was intercepted during shipment by the Nationalists and commandeered for their use. Two F-91s went to the Japanese Navy for testing and were used as liaison aircraft. The last F-91 produced was purchased by American Millionaire Gar Wood who had it named “Wings of Mercy” and painted in RAF colors. He donated it to the RAF and they sent it to Egypt to perform SAR duties. It filled this role with several different camouflage schemes until 1943 when it hit a submerged object and was lost.
     

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  7. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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  8. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    #8 gekho, Dec 10, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2012
    The Fairey Albacore was a biplane torpedo bomber, designed to replace the earlier Fairey Swordfish. While the Albacore successfully supplanted the Swordfish on the large fleet aircraft carriers, it was not as adaptable as the Swordfish, and was withdrawn from front line service in 1944, one year before the Swordfish. The Albacore was developed in response to Air Ministry specification S.41/36. Like the Swordfish it was a single engined biplane, but unlike the Swordfish it had a comfortable enclosed and heated crew cabin, hydraulic flaps, a more powerful engine and a variable-pitch propeller. The prototype, powered by a 1,065hp Taurus II engine, made its maiden flight on 12 December 1938. It was followed in 1939 by a second prototype, and then by the first of 798 production aircraft, powered by the 1,130hp Taurus XII. All 800 Albacores were produced at Fairey’s Hayes factory, and were delivered between 1939 and 1943.

    The Albacore entered service with No.826 Squadron in March 1940, and made its operational debut on 31 May 1940, during the German blitzkrieg in the west. Although it had been designed as a carrier based torpedo bomber, in the desperate circumstances of May 1940 its first raid was a conventional bombing attack on German road and rail communications at Westende, combined with an attack on E-boats at Zeebrugge. For the rest of the year the squadron carried out a mix of night time bombing raids and convoy escort missions. Two of the remaining three Albacore squadrons formed during 1940 were also used as land-based aircraft. The Albacore operated as a land based aircraft into 1943. As well as anti-submarine patrols and anti-shipping strikes, they were used during the fighting in North Africa, both to attack German and Italian supply convoys, and to drop flares in support of the RAF night bombers. They were also used as artillery spotters during naval bombardments of North Africa ports during and after Operation Torch. The Albacore was also used as a conventional bomber during the operation. The Albacore also operated from Malta.

    On 26 November 1940 the Albacore finally went to sea, when Nos.826 and 829 Squadrons embarked on the carrier HMS Formidable. Over the next year the Albacore gradually replaced the Swordfish on the larger fleet carriers, serving on HMS Ark Royal, HMS Formidable, HMS Furious, HMS Illustrious., HMS Indomitable and HMS Victorious. Carrier based Albacores took part in the battle of Cape Matapan (March 1941), the attack on Kirkenes and Petsamo in July 1941, and an attack on the Tirpitz during 1942. However most of their duties were less glamorous (if no less important), and included convoy protection for the Russian convoys. At its peak the Albacore equipped fifteen Fleet Air Arm squadrons, but during 1943 it was phased out in favour of the Fairey Barracuda. The last carrier-based squadron to use the Albacore was No.820 Squadron on HMS Formidable, which retained them until the end of the year, using them to support the invasion of Italy. One of the best known facts about the Albacore is that it was withdrawn from front line service in 1944, a year before the Swordfish, despite having been designed to replace the earlier aircraft. Like so many well known facts, this is a little misleading. The Albacore had indeed replaced the Swordfish on the larger fleet aircraft carriers, before itself being replaced by the Fairey Barracuda and American Avengers. The Swordfish then went on to serve on escort carriers, which were often too small to cope with the faster, heavier Albacore. The Albacore was also used in limited numbers by the RCAF and RAF. No.841 Squadron of the Fleet Air Arm had been operating the Albacore from Manston against German shipping in the Channel and North Sea, operating under the command of RAF Fighter Command. In November 1943 No.841 Squadron was disbanded, and its Albacores passed on to No.415 Squadron, RCAF. This squadron continued to operate the Albacore against German shipping, until in July 1944 it was transferred to Bomber Command. The Albacores were then used to reform No.119 Squadron. This squadron used its Albacores against German E-boats and R-boats on operating along the Dutch coast, before in October moving to Belgium. The squadron was also used during the D-Day invasion, as part of the air effort to prevent German ships from attack in the invasion convoys. In something of an ironic twist, in this case at least the Albacore was replaced by the Swordfish, for in January 1945 the squadron converted to radar-equipped Swordfish IIIs, using them against German midget submarines and the few remaining E-boats.
     

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  9. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    #9 gekho, Dec 10, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2012
    The Fairey Swordfish, the legendary ‘Stringbag’, was a Torpedo Spotter Reconnaissance biplane dive-bomber which went into service with the Fleet Air Arm pre-war in 1936. Initially, Swordfishes operated from the large fleet carriers. Later Swordfishes operated from escort carriers, and were very effective against U-boats. The nickname Stringbag indicated the versatility of the Swordfish, which could carry an unlikely combination of loads, but also referred to its jungle of bracing wires, which belonged to a past age. The Swordfish remained operational until the end of the war, gaining the distinction of being the last biplane to see active service.

    The precursor of the Swordfish, the Fairey PV, was designed by Marcel Lobelle as a private venture to meet an order from the Greek Navy. The prototype PV made its first flight on 21 March 1933. The PV met Air Ministry requirement S.9/30 for an unarmed spotter - reconnaissance aircraft, but had an Armstrong Siddeley Panther radial engine instead of a liquid-cooled Rolls-Royce Kestrel. After modifications and replacement of the engine by a Bristol Pegasus IIM radial, it was renamed the TSR 1 (Torpedo - Spotter - Reconnaissance 1). It flew in this form in July 1933, but was lost in September 1933. The TSR II met the requirements of Air Ministry specification S.15/33, which superseded S.9/30, which called for a two-seat torpedo-bomber and three-seat reconnaissance aircraft. The TSR II flew on 17 April 1934, and exactly on year later on 23 April 1935, the TSRII was submitted to the Air Ministry fotr which Fairey subsequently received a production order. The production Swordfish Mk I entered service in February 1936, and had an entirely metallic structure. The first front-line squadron to be equipped with the Fairey Swordfish was 825 squadron in July 1936, with aircraft K5936 “978” on HMS Glorious. At the outbreak of war, the Fleet Air Arm had 13 squadrons equipped with Swordfishes, most of them based on the six fleet carriers, and three flights of Swordfishes with floats, that operated from catapult-equipped warships.

    In 1939 the RAF also trialed the Fairey Swordfish Mk I. Swordfish I L9770 was at Gibraltar dett 3 AACU from March 1939 thence sent to B Flight 202 squadron also at Gibraltar 27 October 1940. Five Mk I aircraft, P4026-P4030, were also delivered to Seletar in August 1939, they became part of B Flight Spotter Unit at RAF Seletar from 1 October 1939 and thence 4 AACU Seletar until March 1941. After 1942 the Swordfish was replaced in its torpedo-bombing role by the Fairey Albacore, Fairey Barracuda and Grumman Avenger, and was employed in anti-submarine missions and was provided with a radar (Mk.III) and with air-surface rockets. However, even though the Fairey Albacore went into service early in the war, it proved little better than the Swordfish, which it was intended to replace. By this time, production of the Swordfish was moved to Blackburn Aircraft Limited, Sherburn-in-Elmet. The Swordfish was now equipped with ASV radar and rocket projectiles for anti-submarine operations. The Swordfish Mk II had wings with metal-skinned undersides and launching rails for eight 60lb rockets. The provision for a float undercarriage was deleted, and the more powerful Pegasus 30 engine installed. The Mk.III had ASV Mk.XI radar in a radome between the landing gear legs. This radar had a range of about 40km against ships, and in good conditions also against U-boats; but it would detect a Schnorkel only in very calm seas and at distances below 8km. Some Mk IIs and many Mk IIIs became Mk IVs when a cockpit canopy was installed.

    After this time, Swordfishes operated from 14 escort carriers and 18 MAC (Merchant Aircraft Carrier) ships. MAC ships were converted oil tankers or grain ships, with a flight deck but minimal maintenance facilities, and the aircraft were continuously exposed to the often Arctic weather conditions. For operations from small flight decks with heavy loads, rocket-assisted take-offs were necessary.In their anti-submarine role, the Swordfish were very successful. They usually flew patrols at night, patrolling between 145km and 40km ahead of the convoy. Targets were located with radar, and investigated by dropping flares. The final Swordfish was delivered in August, 1944 and the last front-line Swordfish Fleet Air Arm unit was 836 squadron, which disbanded on 21 May 1945. However, the Swordfish continued in second-line training duties until Summer 1946. The very last two Swordfish, retired at RNARY with Swordfish HS255 which was scrapped as late as in 1952, and HS255 which was at Youngsfield Airport, Cape Town until 1953. By the end of production in 1944, a total production was 2396 aircraft had been built, including 989 Mk.Is, 1080 Mk.IIs, and 327 Mk.IIIs.

    Source: Fairey Swordfish aircraft profile. Aircraft Database of the Fleet Air Arm Archive 1939-1945
     

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  10. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    Excellent shots!
     
  11. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    What is the source of all these pictures?
     
  12. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    Uuuffff, dont know... I have been collecting them since I was a kid....
     
  13. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    The Fairey Barracuda became operational with the Royal Navy during the second World War, operating as a torpedo and dive bomber from aircraft carriers. It was the first all metal monoplane British torpedo bomber. In order to operate from small escort carriers, Fairey Barracuda aircraft were fitted with rocket assisted take off. The Fairey Barracuda Mark III, first flown in 1943, carried a surface sweep radar for use against enemy shipping. This proved especially effective in detecting enemy submarines. The Fairey Barracuda may be best known for their role in the crippling of the German battleship Tripitz in Kaa Fjord, Norway on April 3, 1944. Despite heavy enemy defensive fire, the 42 aircraft flight scored fifteen bomb hits on the battleship, putting it out of action for three months. Two were lost in the operation. It became operational in the Pacific Theatre in April of 1944. They were particularly effective when used against enemy positions in preparation for landings on the island of Sumatra. Some 2,572 of the aircraft were produced making the Fairey Barracuca one of the ugliest mass produced aircraft in the world.

    Source: Fairey Barracuda
     

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  14. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    #14 gekho, Dec 11, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2012
    Designed by Marcel Lobelle, the prototype Fairey Day Bomber, as it was then known, originated as the company's submission to Specification P.27/32 for a two-seat single-engine monoplane bomber capable of carrying 1,000 lbs (454 kg) of bombs for 1,000 miles (1609 km) at 200 mph (322 km/h) which was ordered as a prototype on June 11, 1934. Provision for a radio operator/air gunner was made later, to man a Lewis or Vickers 'K' dorsal machine-gun.This performance was to be bettered by Fairey's aircraft, which was competing against design proposals from Armstrong Whitworth, Bristol and Hawker, but only the Armstrong Whitworth's A.W.29 joined Fairey's prototype in receiving orders. Fairey's contender won the competition, but a first production contract for 155 aircraft, to the revised Specification P.23/35, had been placed in 1935 even before the prototype had flown. The Battle had accommodation for a crew of three comprising pilot, bomb-aimer/observer, and radio operator/gunner. The first production aircraft was built, like the prototype, at Hayes and flew from the Great West Aerodrome (now part of Heathrow Airport), on 14 April 1937. It was used for performance trials during which it achieved 243 mph (391 km/h) at 16,200 ft (4940 m). A range of 1,050 miles (1690 m) was flown with maximum bomb load. The second and subsequent production aircraft came from a production line established at a new purpose-built factory at Heaton Chapel, Stockport, and it was for the Battle that Rolls-Royce received its launching order for the famous 1,030 hp (768 kW) Merlin I engine, which powered the first 136 Fairey-built aircraft.

    The aircraft's light alloy and stressed skin construction was a 'first' for Fairey, and the Battle proved to be extremely robust. In general it proved popular with the test pilots at the Aircraft and Armament Experimental Establishment at Martlesham Heath, and at the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough. It was said to be very easy to fly but the elevator was heavy on take-off; on the other hand the Royal Aircraft Establishment considered the elevator over-light at low speeds. Engine-off stall was described as 'innocuous', but the accommodation came in for some criticism: although the pilot's cockpit was considered to be roomy and comfortable with reasonable forward vision, it could sometimes become extremely hot. The rear gunner, behind the pilot, had his own problems: the screen intended to protect him from the slipstream was badly designed and it shape deflected a downdraught into his face, while the rear vision was described as 'poor'. By the end of 1937, Fairey had built 85 Battles, and the first squadron to receive the new bomber in May 1937 was No.63 at Upwood, Huntingdonshire, where it replaced the Hawker Audax. Other squadrons which re-equipped that year were Nos. 52, 88, 105 and 226.

    As new orders for Battles were placed, production sub-contracts were awarded to Austin Motors at Longbridge, Birmingham. Meantime, the last 19 Battles of the initial Fairey order for 155 were provided with Merlin II engines, and these were fitted also to the Austin-built aircraft. The first Battle from the Longbridge factory flew in July 1938, and 29 had been completed there by the end of the year. By March the following year Austin was producing more than 30 Battles a month, but even then the programme was running late. After 60 Austin-built Battles had been completed, the Merlin II engine was introduced on the production line. By the outbreak of World War II more than 1,000 Battles had been delivered, and aircraft of No. 226 Squadron were the first to be sent to France as part of the Advanced Air Striking Force. It was here that the Battle's inability to defend itself against enemy fighters became obvious. On armed daylight reconnaissance missions the type occasionally tangled with Bf 109s, and although one of the latter was destroyed by a Battle's rear gunner in September 1940, the light bombers invariably suffered heavy casualties. As the period of the so-called 'phoney war' came to an end, the Battle squadrons were thrown in on 10 May 1940 to try to stop the advancing German ground forces. Without fighter escort, and attacking from a height of only 250 ft (76 m) with delayed-action bombs the Battles came under heavy ground fire, losing 13 of the 32 aircraft sent on the mission, while all the others were damaged. The next day seven out of eight were lost, and on 12 May five Battles of No.12 Squadron, flown by volunteer crews, attacked two vital road bridges over the Albert Canal. In the face of extremely heavy ground fire the attack was pressed home and one bridge seriously damaged, but at a cost of all five aircraft. The first RAF Victoria Crosses of World War II were awarded posthumously to Flying Officer D.E. Garland and his observer, Sergeant T. Gray, who led the formation. Further heavy losses came on 14 May, when 35 out of 63 Battles failed to return from attacks against bridges and troop concentrations. These losses marked the end of the Battle's career as a day bomber, and although a few remained in front-line service until late 1940 the survivors were mostly diverted to other duties. The most important of these was for training, and 100 were built as dual-control trainers with separate cockpits, while 266 target-towing variants were also supplied.

    The last production aircraft, Austin-built, was a target tug, and it was delivered on 2 September 1940. It brought total Battle production to 2,185 including the prototype, 1,156 being built by Fairey and 1,029 by Austin Motors. Canada used a large number of Battles for training and target towing in the Commonwealth Air Training Plan, the first being supplied to the Royal Canadian Air Force at Camp Borden in August 1939. They were the vanguard of 739 of these aircraft, this total including seven airframes for instructional purposes. Under the Empire Air Training Scheme (EATS), Australia took delivery of 366 of the type between June 1940 and December 1943 consisting of four British-built Battles and 360 assembled in Australia, including 30 target tugs, while other export customers were Belgium (18), Turkey (28), South Africa (161) and Eire (Ireland), where an RAF aircraft which landed at Waterford in 1941 was interned and later taken over by the Air Corps. A number of Battles were used as test-beds for such engines as the Napier Dagger and Sabre; Bristol Hercules and Taurus; Rolls-Royce Merlin X and the 1,280 hp (955 kw) Merlin XII with chin radiator; and the Fairey Prince. Other Battles were used for experiments with various types of propellers.

    Source: Fairey Battle
     

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  15. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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  16. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    Ruddy marvellous, Old Fruit!! Top shots, eh wot?!
     
  17. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    #17 gekho, Dec 12, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2012
    The Fairey Firefly was initially designed under specifications N.8/39 and N.9/39, but the prototype later updated to also fit under specification N.5/40. Designed as a two-seat Fleet reconaissance fighter based on the Fairey Fulmar, the prototype first flew on 22 December 1941. It had a low-wing monoplane configuration with a wide-track undercarriage, smaller than the Fulmar, and provided with a more powerful engine, a single 2,250hp Rolls Royce Griffin 74 engine. The design was deliberately conventional, to bring it into service quickly, and with the trailing edge provided with patented Youngman flaps for use at low speeds and in cruise. Unlike the installation on the Barracuda, these flaps could be recessed into the wing.. Early Fireflies had a deep 'beard' radiator, later models had wing leading root intakes. The aircraft went into production on 26 August 1942 and the first production aircraft was delivered from Fairey’s Great Western Aerodrome (now London Heathrow International Airport) to RNAS Yeovilton on 4 March, 1943 where the first operational squadron, 1770, was formed in October, 1943. A total of 1623 Firefly were built.


    It was mainly used as a carrier based anti-submarine, reconnaissance and strike aircraft, with a crew of pilot and oberver. The plane carried four 20mm guns mounted in the wings and sixteen 60lb rockets or two 1,000 lb bombs. The Firefly was regarded as a versatile aircraft, taking part not only in WWII but also in the Korean war. The last of the 1702 built was delivered in 1956. The Firefly ended its naval career as a target drone. The Fairey Aviation Company's original prototype first flew in 1941 and, two years later, the aircraft became operational with the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm. In total, 1623 Fireflies left the assembly lines. One of the aeroplane's most interesting features is the housing of the pilot and navigator/weapons officer in separate compartments. In addition, the innovative wing flaps, when extended, increased both the wing area and, in turn, their lift. This last feature made the heavy Firefly docile during landings on aircraft carrier decks.

    Two-seat reconaissance fighter. It was a low-wing monoplane with a wide-track undercarriage, smaller than the fulmar that preceded it, and provided with a more powerful engine. The design was deliberately conventional, to bring it into service quickly. Early Fireflies had a deep 'beard' radiator, later models had wing leading root intakes. The concept of the two-seat fighter may have been mistaken, but the Firefly was a versatile aircraft, taking part not only in WWII but also in the Korean war. The last of the 1702 built was delivered in 1956. The Firefly ended its career as a target drone. Postwar the Firefly was used by the Navcal Air arms of Australia, Canada, and Holland. The Royal Canadian Navy employed 65 Fireflies of the Mk AS-5 variety on board its own aircraft carriers between 1946 and 1954,m for use in the anti-submarine role.
     

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  18. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    In 1937, the Glenn L. Martin Company designed a new twin engined flying boat to succeed its earlier Martin P3M and supplement the Consolidated PBY, the Model 162. It received an order for a single prototype XPBM-1 on 30 June 1937. This was followed by an initial production order for 21 PBM-1 aircraft on 28 December 1937. To test the PBM's layout, Martin built a ⅜ scale flying model, the Martin 162A Tadpole Clipper with a crew of one and powered by a single 120 hp (90 kW) Chevrolet engine, this flying in December 1937. The first genuine PBM, the XPBM-1, flew on 18 February 1939. The aircraft was fitted with five gun turrets and bomb bays that were in the engine nacelles. The gull wing was of cantilever design, and featured clean aerodynamics with an unbraced twin tail. The PBM-1 was equipped with retractable wing landing floats that were hinged inboard, like the Catalina. The PBM-3 had fixed floats, and the fuselage was three ft longer than that of the PBM-1.

    The British Royal Air Force acquired 32 Mariners, but they were not used operationally, with some returned to the United States Navy. A further 12 PBM-3Rs were transferred to the Royal Australian Air Force for transporting troops and cargo.
     

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  19. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Interesting way the Firefly's wings fold.
     
  20. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    Love the Mariner, great looking plane.
     
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