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Great Britain's Blackburn Skua dive bomber, fighter-bomber

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Blackburn Skua dive bomber:
Great Britain's Blackburn Skua dive bomber
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook

Blackburn Skua dive bomber:
Great Britain's Blackburn Skua dive bomber
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook

Design

The Blackburn Skua was initially designed to be a Royal Navy dive bomber from a specification given in 1934. It was the Royal Navy's first single purpose dive bomber.

The Skua was an all metal dive bomber.

Prototype

The Skua prototype first flew on February 9, 1937.

Production

The initial order for Skuas was for 190. 154 of these were completed by the start of World War II.

  • Skua: 190, 192
    • Manufacturer: Blackburn Aircraft Ltd.
    • Production: ? - March 1940

Variants

  • Skua Mk I: The prototype and one additional aircraft. Used Bristol Mercury IX (840 HP) radial engine.
  • Skua Mk II: Production model.

Usage

The Skua became operational on the HMS Ark Royal in November 1938.

At the start of World War II the Nos. 800, 801, 803, and 806 Squadrons were equipped with the Skua.

First German shot down

Lieutenant B. S. McEwen shot down a Dornier Do 18 on September 25, 1939, over the North Sea, to be the first German aircraft shot down by a British aircraft. He was a member of the No. 803 Squadron from the HMS Ark Royal.

Norwegian Battles

On April 10, 1940, flying from Hatston to Bergen, Skuas of the Nos. 800 and 803 Squadrons sank the German cruiser Konigsberg.

Dunkirk

No. 801 Squadron was used at the defense of Dunkirk.

Oran

Skuas from the HMS Ark Royal were used in the attack on the French fleet at Oran harbor in September 1940.

Withdrawn from service

In August 1941 the Skuas were with drawn from service and were replaced by Fulmars and Sea Hurricanes. The Skua was then used for towing targets.

Specifications

  Blackburn Skua Mk II
Type Carrier dive bomber, Carrier fighter, Fighter-bomber
Crew 2
Engine (Type) Bristol Perseus XII piston
Cylinders 9, Radial, Radial 9
Cooling Air
HP 890, 905
Propeller blades 3
Dimensions  
Span 46' 2"
14.07 m
Length 35' 7"
10.84 m, 10.85 m
Height 12' 6", 14' 2"
3.81 m
Wing area 319 ft2
29.64 m2
Weight  
Empty 5,496 lb
2,493 kg
Loaded 8,228 lb
3,732 kg
Performance  
Speed 225 mph
Speed @ 6,500' /
1,980 m
225 mph, 229 mph
362 kph, 368 kph
Climb 1,580'/minute
480 m/minute, 482 m/minute
Service ceiling 19,100', 20,200'
6,155 m, 6,157 m
Range 435 miles, 761 miles, 800 miles
700 km, 1,287 km
Armament 5: MG
Wings 4: MG
4: 7.7 mm MG
4: 0.303" MG
Rear cockpit 1: MG
1: 7.7 mm MG
1: 0.303" MG
Bomb 1: 500 lb, 740 lb
1: 227 kg

Sources:

  1. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  2. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  3. World War II Airplanes Volume 1, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  4. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site