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Swordfish

Torpedo Bomber

Fairey

Fairey Swordfish Mk.I № V4646, 841 NAS-RNAS, FAA, Middle Wallop, 1943 © Richard Vernon

Fairey Swordfish Mk.I № V4646, 841 NAS-RNAS, FAA, Middle Wallop, 1943

FAIREY SWORDFISH - The prototype of the Fairey Swordfish torpedo-spotter-reconnaissance aircraft for the Fleet Air Arm was developed under the direction of Marcel Lobelle to meet the requirements of Specification S.I5/33. Known as the Fairey TSR.II, it was a derivative of the earlier TSR.I and, first flown on April 17, 1934, was powered by a 690 hp Pegasus IIIM3. Three develop-ment aircraft were ordered in May 1935 to Specification S.38/34 and production was authorised at the same time. The Fairey Swordfish carried three crew for reconnaissance or two for torpedo duties, could operate as a floatplane and carried one 18 -in (46-cm), 1,610-lb (731-kg) torpedo or 1,500-lb (681-kg) mine under the fuselage or up to 1,500-lb (681-kg) of assorted bombs under fuselage and wings; other armament comprised one forward-firing and one free-mounted aft 0.303-in (7.7-mm) gun. First flight of a development aircraft was on December 31, 1935, the other two following in 1936, one on floats.

Fairey Swordfish I: Initial production contract placed April 1935 for 86 aircraft, increased by subsequent contracts to 989 of which 300 were built by Blackburn at Sherburn-in-Elmet (sometimes i. own colloquially as 'Blackfish') and the remainder by Fairey. Deliveries bigan mid-1936 to No 825 Squadron, and 12 more squadrons equipped by September 1939; 13 more front-line FAA units were equipped by June 1943, and more than 20 second-line units used Fairey Swordfish for training and other duties. Operational use included gun-spotting, minelaying and torpedo attacks (notably at Taranto, when a complete Italian fleet was virtually eliminated, and on the battleships Schamhorst, Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen in the English Channel).

Fairey Swordfish II: Improved version of Mk I with Pegasus IIIM3 or 775 hp Pegasus 30 engine, introduced 1943, with metal covered undersurfaces of lower wings to permit carriage and launching of eight 60-lb (27-kg) rocket projectiles. 1,080 built by Blackburn, of which 99 to Canada (some post-war) for RCAF and RCN. First successful operational use of RPs from Fairey Swordfish on May 23, 1943, by No 819 Sqn, sinking a U-boat. Also used by two RAF squadrons until May 1945.

Fairey Swordfish III: As Mk II with ASV Mk X air-to-surface-vessel radar in large radome between undercarriage legs. 320 built by Blackburn, final delivery August 18, 1944. Operational, alongside Fairey Swordfish Us, with several FAA front-line squadrons up to May 1945, aboard mer-chant aircraft carriers, escort carriers and from shore bases.

Fairey Swordfish IV: Some Fairey Swordfish IIs converted in Canada to have enclosed and heated cockpits. The designation was not officially confirmed.

Addition from James Dickson, Corbeil, Ontario, Canada at January 06, 2005: it was a Swordfish torpedo attack which hit the Bismark and damaged her steering to the point where the British warships were able to move in and finish her off.

Squadrons Front line: 810, 811, 812, 813, 814, 815, 816, 818, 819, 820, 821, 822, 823, 824, 824, 825, 826, 828, 829, 830, 833, 834, 835, 836, 837, 838, 840, 841, 842, 860, 886

Squadrons Second line: 700, 701,702,703, 705, 707, 710, 722, 726, 727, 728, 730, 73, 733, 735, 737, 739, 740, 741, 742, 743, 744, 745, 747, 753, 754, 756, 759, 763, 764, 765, 766, 767, 768, 769, 770, 771, 772, 773, 774, 775, 776, 777, 778, 779, 780, 781, 782, 783, 785, 786, 787, 788, 789, 791, 794, 796, 797, 1700

Swordfish Mk.I
Crew 3
Dimensions
Wing span 13.87 m (45 ft 6 in)
Wing area 56.39 m2 (607 ft2)
Length 11.07 m (36 ft 4 in)
Engine
Pegasus IIIM3 690 hp
Weight
Empty weight 2,361 kg (5,200 Ib)
Loaded weight 4,200 kg (9,250 Ib)
Performance
Maximum speed at altitude 1,448 m (4,750 ft) 224 km/h (139 mph)
Time to 1,525 m (5000 ft) 10 min
Service ceiling: 3,260 m (10,700 ft)
Range with tirpedo 879 km (546 mis)
Armament
Two (7.7-mm) (.303 in) machine guns, torpedo 731 kg (1,610 Ib)

References

  • "Encyclopedia of military engineering" /Aerospace Publising/
  • "British warplanes of World War II" /under cor. Daniel March/

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