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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.1,2

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.1

A dingy was included in case of ditching at sea.1

The Fulmar was an all metal aircraft.3

Wings

The wings could be folded back on the Fulmar to allow for better storage on a carrier.3,4

Undercarriage

The undercarriage retracted inwards and the tail wheel was fixed.1 There was also a landing hook installed.3

Armament

The Fulmar was the first British carrier plane to be armed with eight machine guns.3

Prototypes

The first prototype flew on January 13, 1937.1

The fighter prototype flew on January 4, 1940.2,3 It was evident early on that the fighter didn't perform very well.2

Production

Approximately 600 were built, with the last one being delivered in February 1943.1

  • Fulmar Mk I: 1272
  • Fulmar Mk II: 4502
  • Total: 6023
  • Manufacturer: Fairey Aviation Co. Ltd.3
  • Production: 1940 - 19433

Variants

  • Fulmar:
  • Fulmar night fighter: 100 were converted, but had little success.1

Usage

Entered service in 1940 protecting convoys to Malta.1

Used in 20 squadrons and on eight fleet carriers and five escort carriers.1

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.2

Battle of Taranto

Were used for cover for the Swordfish in the raid on Taranto from the carrier HMS Illustrius.1,2

Battle of Matapan

From the HMS Formidable, Fulmars escorted Swordfish and Albacores that attacked the Italian battleship Vittorio Veneto.2

Ceylon

There were two squadrons of Fulmars protecting Colombo during the Japanese navy attacks in the Indian Ocean in early 1942.2

Most were shot down by the Japanese naval fighters.2

Specifications

  Fairey Fulmar
Type Carrier fighter4
Crew 24
Engine (Type) 1: Rolls-Royce Merlin X4
Cylinders  
Cooling Liquid4
HP 1,1454
Propeller blades  
Dimensions  
Span 46'4
Length 40' 3"4
Height 11' 6"4
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded  
Performance  
Speed 300 mph4
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Armament  
Wings 8: MG4
  Fairey Fulmar Mk I
Type Carrier based fighter1, Fighter3
Crew 21,3
Pilot, navigator1
Engine (Type) Rolls-Royce Merlin VIII piston1,3
Cylinders V 121,3
Cooling Liquid3
HP 1,0801,3
Propeller blades 31
Dimensions  
Span 46' 4"3, 46' 5"1
14.14 m1
Length 40' 2"1, 40' 3"3
12.24 m1
Height 14'1,3
4.27 m1
Wing area 342 ft2 1
31.77 m2 1
Weight  
Empty 8,700 lb1
3,955 kg1
Loaded 9,800 lb3, 10,677 lb1
4,853 kg1
Performance  
Speed  
Speed @ 7,500' 265 mph3
Speed @ 9,000' /
2,745 m
247 mph1
398 kph1
Climb 1,200'/minute1
366 m/minute1
Service ceiling 21,500'1, 26,000'3
6,555 m1
Range 800 miles3
4 hours1
Armament 8: MG3
Wings 8: 7.7 mm MG1
  Fairey Fulmar Mk II
Type Carrier based fighter2
Crew 22
Engine (Type) Rolls-Royce Merlin XXX piston2,3
Cylinders Inline2
Cooling  
HP 1,2602, 1,3003
Propeller blades  
Dimensions  
Span 46' 4.5"2
14.13 m2
Length 40' 2"2
12.24 m2
Height 10' 8"2
3.25 m2
Wing area 342 ft2 2
31.77 m2 2
Weight  
Empty 7,384 lb2
3,349 kg2
Loaded 10,200 lb2
4,627 kg2
Performance  
Speed  
Speed @ 16,500' /
5,030 m
272 mph2
438 kph2
Climb 1,320'/minute2
402 m/minute2
Service ceiling 27,200'2
8,290 m2
Range 780 miles2
1,255 km2
Armament  
Wings 8: 7.7 mm MG2
Rear cockpit
(a few models)
1: 7.7 mm MG2

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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