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Great Britain's Fairey Fulmar fighter

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Fairey Fulmar fighter:
Great Britain's Fairey Fulmar fighter
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook
Fairey Fulmar fighter:
Great Britain's Fairey Fulmar fighter
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook
Fairey Fulmar fighter:
Great Britain's Fairey Fulmar fighter

Design

Based on the abandoned P.4/34 light bomber project, the Fulmar filled the Royal Navy's need for a modern fighter in the 1930s.

The Royal Navy wanted the fighter to be able to return to the carrier in any weather and felt a second crewman was necessary to act as navigator.

A dingy was included in case of ditching at sea.

The Fulmar was an all metal aircraft.

Wings

The wings could be folded back on the Fulmar to allow for better storage on a carrier.

Undercarriage

The undercarriage retracted inwards and the tail wheel was fixed. There was also a landing hook installed.

Armament

The Fulmar was the first British carrier plane to be armed with eight machine guns.

Prototypes

The first prototype flew on January 13, 1937.

The fighter prototype flew on January 4, 1940. It was evident early on that the fighter didn't perform very well.

Production

Approximately 600 were built, with the last one being delivered in February 1943.

  • Fulmar Mk I: 127
  • Fulmar Mk II: 450
  • Total: 602
  • Manufacturer: Fairey Aviation Co. Ltd.
  • Production: 1940 - 1943

Variants

  • Fulmar:
  • Fulmar night fighter: 100 were converted, but had little success.

Usage

Entered service in 1940 protecting convoys to Malta.

Used in 20 squadrons and on eight fleet carriers and five escort carriers.

Battle of Britain

The No. 808 Squadron of the Fleet Air Arm had Fulmar Mk Is at the time of the Battle of Britain but did not see combat.

Battle of Taranto

Were used for cover for the Swordfish in the raid on Taranto from the carrier HMS Illustrius.

Battle of Matapan

From the HMS Formidable, Fulmars escorted Swordfish and Albacores that attacked the Italian battleship Vittorio Veneto.

Ceylon

There were two squadrons of Fulmars protecting Colombo during the Japanese navy attacks in the Indian Ocean in early 1942.

Most were shot down by the Japanese naval fighters.

Specifications

  Fairey Fulmar
Type Carrier fighter
Crew 2
Engine (Type) 1: Rolls-Royce Merlin X
Cylinders  
Cooling Liquid
HP 1,145
Propeller blades  
Dimensions  
Span 46'
Length 40' 3"
Height 11' 6"
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded  
Performance  
Speed 300 mph
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Armament  
Wings 8: MG
  Fairey Fulmar Mk I
Type Carrier based fighter, Fighter
Crew 2
Pilot, navigator
Engine (Type) Rolls-Royce Merlin VIII piston
Cylinders V 12
Cooling Liquid
HP 1,080
Propeller blades 3
Dimensions  
Span 46' 4", 46' 5"
14.14 m
Length 40' 2", 40' 3"
12.24 m
Height 14'
4.27 m
Wing area 342 ft2
31.77 m2
Weight  
Empty 8,700 lb
3,955 kg
Loaded 9,800 lb, 10,677 lb
4,853 kg
Performance  
Speed  
Speed @ 7,500' 265 mph
Speed @ 9,000' /
2,745 m
247 mph
398 kph
Climb 1,200'/minute
366 m/minute
Service ceiling 21,500', 26,000'
6,555 m
Range 800 miles
4 hours
Armament 8: MG
Wings 8: 7.7 mm MG
  Fairey Fulmar Mk II
Type Carrier based fighter
Crew 2
Engine (Type) Rolls-Royce Merlin XXX piston
Cylinders Inline
Cooling  
HP 1,260, 1,300
Propeller blades  
Dimensions  
Span 46' 4.5"
14.13 m
Length 40' 2"
12.24 m
Height 10' 8"
3.25 m
Wing area 342 ft2
31.77 m2
Weight  
Empty 7,384 lb
3,349 kg
Loaded 10,200 lb
4,627 kg
Performance  
Speed  
Speed @ 16,500' /
5,030 m
272 mph
438 kph
Climb 1,320'/minute
402 m/minute
Service ceiling 27,200'
8,290 m
Range 780 miles
1,255 km
Armament  
Wings 8: 7.7 mm MG
Rear cockpit
(a few models)
1: 7.7 mm MG

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, General Editor: Jim Winchester, 2004
  2. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  3. World War II Airplanes Volume 1, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  4. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
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