The Fairey Swordfish was a biplane torpedo bomber used by Great Britain during World War II.

Description

The first model of the Swordfish series of planes was the Mk I. The Fairey Swordfish had a crew that consisted of three men and a Bristol Pegasus III Engine that was capable of propelling it at speeds of up to 240 kilometres per hour.

The Swordfish had a total length of 11.1 metres and a total weight of 2,300 kg.[1] Its armament consisted of a single forward facing 7.7mm Browning MG, a rear facing Vickers K Machine Gun, and either a single torpedo, several bombs, or up to eight rockets. The Swordfish also had a maximum range of 1,600 kilometers. However, if the Swordfish were to be carrying its total load, the range was limited to only 800 kilometres. Its service ceiling was 5,800 metres.

Variants

The first variant of series was the Mk II model and its main feature was that it had added support on its wings so that additional weapons could be mounted. The Mk III had a new radar system that was mounted in between the main landing wheels. The last production model, the Mk IV was a Canadian improvement of the Mk II. Its main new feature was the implementation of a closed cockpit. 

History

Development

Originally derived from the T.S.R I biplane of 1933, the Swordfish was developed in response to Specification S.15/33, which called for a carrier based torpedo/spotter/reconnaissance aircraft. Submitted as the T.S.R II, the Swordfish prototype was assigned serial number K4190, and first flew on April 17, 1934. Testing with both wheeled and float undercarriage led to the type being ordered into production in April 1935, with a contract for eighty-six aircraft.[2]

Service

Production Swordfish Mk I aircraft were built to Specification S.38/34, and initially entered service with 825 Squadron in July 1936, with 811, 812 and 832 Squadrons also adopting the type by the end of the year.[2]Despite being almost ten years old, the Swordfish was used throughout the war and turned out to be very effective, dealing massive blows to the Axis navies including sinking the German battleship Bismarck. The Swordfish was powered by a Bristol Pegasus IIIM.3 engine which gave it a top  speed of 139 mph, and it could carry one torpedo, one 1,500 lb bomb or mine, or eight rockets.[3] It was also armed with one front-facing machine gun and one machine gun mounted in the rear cockpit.

References

  1. http://www.uboat.net/allies/aircraft/swordfish.htm
  2. 2.0 2.1 World Aircraft Information Files Aviation Partwork. Midsummer Books Ltd. File 108 Sheet 1 (Fairey Swordfish:Fairey's 'Stringbag')
  3. http://wwiivehicles.com/unitedkingdom/aircraft/torpedo-bomber/fairey-swordfish.asp


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