All posts by Gunther Arnold

Heinkel He 280 V6 (Huma Models)

TYPE: Fighter aircraft

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot only

POWER PLANT: Two Junkers Jumo 004B-1 turbojet engines, rated at 900 kp thrust each

PERFORMANCE: 508 mph at 19,685 ft

COMMENT: The Heinkel He 280 was the first turbojet-powered fighter aircraft in the world. It was inspired by Ernst Heinkel‘s’s emphasis on research into high-speed flight and built on the company’s experience with the Heinkel He 178 turbojet prototype. A combination of technical and political factors led to it being passed over in favor of the Messerschmitt Me 262 „Schwalbe“ (Swallow). Only nine were built and none reached operational status
The Heinkel company began the He 280 project on its own initiative after the Heinkel He 178 had been met with indifference from the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM, Reich Aviation Ministry).
Work on the project began under the Heinkel designation „Projekt 1065“ in late 1939 but in March, 1940, after receiving official support the designation Heinkel He 280 was applied. The design had a typical Heinkel fighter fuselage, elliptical wings and a dihedralled tailplane with twin fins and rudders. Power was provided by two Heinkel HeS 8 centrifugal turbojet engines and had a tricycle undercarriage landing gear with very little ground clearance. This arrangement was considered too frail for the grass or dirt airfields of the era; however, the tricycle layout eventually gained acceptance. The He 280 was equipped with a compressed-air powered ejection seat, the first aircraft to carry one and the first aircraft to successfully employ one in an emergency.
The first prototype was completed in the summer of 1940, but the Heinkel HeS 8 intended to power it was running into difficulties. On September 1940, while work on the engine continued, the first prototype started glide tests with ballasted pods hung in place of its engines. It was another six months before the second prototype flew under its own power, on March 1941. The aircraft was then demonstrated to Ernst Udet, head of RLM’s development wing, on April, 1941, but like its predecessor, it apparently failed to make an impression. One benefit of the He 280 which did impress the political leadership was the fact that the jet engines could burn kerosene, which requires much less expense and refining than the high-octane fuel used by piston-engine aircraft. However, government funding was lacking at the critical stage of initial development.
Over the next year, progress was slow due to the ongoing engine problems. A second engine design, the Heinkel HeS30 was also undergoing development, both as an interesting engine in its own right, as well as a potential replacement for the HeS 8. In the meantime, alternative powerplants were considered, including the Argus As 014 pulsejet that powered the Fieseler Fi 103 V-1 Flying bomb. It was proposed that up to eight be used.
Engine problems continued to plague the project. In 1942, the RLM had ordered Heinkel to abandon the HeS 8 and HeS 30 to focus all development on a follow-on engine, the Heinkel/Hirth HeS 011, a more advanced and problematic design. But because the HeS 011 was not expected for some time, Heinkel selected the rival BMW 003. However, this engine also had problems and delays. The second He 280 prototype was re-engined with Junkers Jumo 004  The Jumo 004 engines were much larger and heavier than the HeS 8 that the plane had been designed for, and while it flew well enough on its first powered flights from March 1943, it was clear that this engine was unsuitable. The aircraft was slower and generally less efficient than the Messerschmitt Me 262.
Meanwhile, the He 280 V4 and V5 had been completed, the latter with Heinkel-Hirth 001 turbojets and the former with BMW 003A-0 turbojets. The He 280 V5 was considered by Heinkel tob e representative of he proposed He 280A-1 production standart. Ist claimed peformance include a maimum speed of 509 mph at 19,685 ft at normal loaded weight. The Heinkel He 280 V6 was completed with Junkers Jumo 004 engines and full armament from the onset. Amarment consisted of three 20 mm MG 151 cannon in the fuselage nose and one 500 kg or two 250 kg bombs. The He 280 V6 was tested at Rechlin, and in early 1943, Heinkel tendered a proposal to the Technische Amt for the He 280B-1 fighter bomber with two Junkers Jumo 004 engines and an estimated maximum speed of 547 mph.
By this time, flight testing of the Messerschmitt Me 262 V4 suggested that the Messerschmitt fighter would have a performance advantage over the Heinkel He 280 when fitted with similar power plants, and particularly in so fas as range was concerned, this being a serious defect in the Heinkel fighter’s performance. Thus, on March 1943 the Technische Amt instructed Heinkel to abandon all further development of the He 280 as a fighter, permission being given to complete only the nine prototypes which were allocated to various test programmes (Ref.: 7, 24).

Martin-Baker M.B.6 “Sky Ferret” T.Mk. I (AZ-Models)

TYPE: Projected trainer for MB 5

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot and Student

POWER PLANT: One Rolls-Royce Griffon 83 liquid-cooled engine, rates at 2,340 hp, driving three-bladed contra-rotating propeller

PERFORMANCE: 460 mph at 20,000 ft (estimated)

COMMENT: There are some speculations concerning the existence of a further development of the British Martin-Baker MB 5. This latter was the ultimate development of a series of prototype fighter aircraft built during the WW II. But neither the MB 5 nor its predecessor Martin-Baker MB 3 ever entered production, despite what test pilots described as excellent performance.
The Martin-Baker MB 6 was designed as a two-seat variant of the MB 5 to be used as night fighter or as a trainer version for the MB 5. All dimensions as well as engine, two three-bladed contra-rotating propellers were similar to the original prototype. A second seat for the instructor was positioned behind the student’s seat and an elongated canopy covered the cockpit.
However, it is uncertain whether the Martin-Baker MB 6 really was designed nor whether the aircraft was named Sky- or Night Ferret.
Although the Martin-Baker MB 5 was considered as a superlative piston-engined fighter, better in many ways than the British Supermarine Spitfire or the US North-American Mustang, no orders for serial production were placed. Possibly, Martin-Baker may have lacked both facilities and sufficient government support to engage in large production numbers. The company’s slow progress with the machine could have been due to a lack of facilities. Instead, the RAF directed their attention towards the incoming turbojet-powered fighters and in fact, some postwar informations hypothesise the existence of a Martin-Baker MB 6 project of a tailless, deltawing configurated and  turbojet-powerded aircraft. No further details are known (Ref.: 24).

Messerschmitt Me 609 (Huma-Models)

TYPE: Fighter, Fighter bomber

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot only

POWER PLANT: Two Daimler-Benz DB 603 liquid-cooled engines, rated at 1,726 hp each

PERFORMANCE: 472 mph (estimated)

COMMENT: The Messerschmitt Me 609 was a short-lived WW II German project which joined two fuselages of the Messerschmitt Me 309 fighter prototype together to form a heavy fighter.
The project was initiated in response to a 1941 RLM (Reich Air Ministry) requirement for a new “Zerstörer” (destroyer, or heavy fighter) to replace the Messerschmitt Bf 110 in a minimum time and with a minimum of new parts The new design would use components from existing aircraft, thus not disrupting existing production. After the cancellation of the Messerschmitt Me 309 project in 1943, work was continued using it as a basis for other designs. One of these reworked designs was for the Me 509; another was for the 609, which was basically two Me 309 fuselages joined with a new center wing section. Messerschmitt was also working on and had completed a twin-fuselage Bf 109, known as the Me109Z, but the prototype was destroyed before flight testing.
Two Me 309 fuselages were to be joined with a constant chord center wing section, into which two inboard landing gears retracted. The outboard landing gears were resigned, two nose wheels retracted to the rear and rotating 90 degrees to lie flat beneath the engines. This resulted in an unusual four-wheel arrangement.  Power was to be supplied by two Daimler Benz 603 or 605 12 cylinder inverted V liquid -cooled engines. The pilot sat in a cockpit located in the port fuselage, with the starboard cockpit canopy being faired over.
Two versions were envisioned: a heavy fighter (“Zerstörer”) and a high-speed bomber (“Schnellbomber”, fast bomber). In the fighter version, two MK 108 30 mm cannon and two MK 103 30mm cannon were projected as the armament, with a provision for two additional MK 108 30mm cannon mounted beneath the center wing section or under the outer wing sections. In addition, either one SC 500 or two SC 250 bombs could be carried, also beneath the center wing section. The fast bomber version would have reduced armament, with only two MK 108 30mm cannon were to be installed. Extra fuel (1500 kg) could be carried in the faired over starboard cockpit, and the bomb load was to consist of two SC 1000 bombs which were carried beneath each fuselage.
Finally, a two seater night fighter variant was envisioned with FuG 220 “Lichtenstein SN-2” antennas mounted at the outer wings. The pilot sat in the port and the radar operator in the starboard fuselage.
Even though it was calculated that many components of the Me 309 could be used (fuselage, engines, equipment, 80% of the wings), by the time this design began to jell, the Messerschmitt Me 262 turbojet fighter was proving to be the plane of the future, and could take over all roles for which the Me 609 was designed. Thus, the Me 609 project was no longer pursued after 1944 (Ref.: 24).

Lavochkin La-5FN, 813. IAP, (AML-Models)

TYPE: Fighter

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot only

POWER PLANT: One Shvetsov M-82FN radial piston engine, rated at 1,960 hp

PERFORMANCE: 403 mph at 20,505 ft

COMMENT: The Lavochkin La-5 was a Soviet fighter aircraft of World War II. It was a development and refinement of the LaGG-3, replacing the earlier model’s inline engine with the much more powerful Shvetsov Ash-82 radial engine. During its time in service, it was one of the Soviet Air Force’s most capable types of warplane, able to fight German designs on an equal footing.
The La-5’s heritage began even before the outbreak of war, with the LaGG-1, a promising yet underpowered aircraft. The LaGG-3 was a modification of that design that attempted to correct this by both lightening the airframe and fitting a more powerful engine. Nevertheless, this was not enough, and the lack of power remained a significant problem.
In early 1942 the LaGG-1 and -3’s designer Vladimir Gorbunov attempted to correct this deficiency by experimentally fitting a LaGG-3 with the more powerful Shvetsov Ash-82 radial engine. Since the LaGG-3 was powered by an inline engine, they accomplished this by grafting on the nose section of a Sulhoi Su-2 (which used this engine). By now, the shortcomings of the LaGG-3 had caused Lavochkin to fall out of Joseph Stalin’s favour, and factories previously assigned to LaGG-3 construction had been turned over to building the rival Yakovlev Yak-1 and Yak-7. The design work, which required that the LaGG-3 be adapted to its new engine and still maintain the aircraft’s balance, was undertaken by Lavochkin in a small hut beside an airfield over the winter of 1941–1942, on a completely unofficial basis.
When the prototype took flight in March, the result was surprisingly pleasing – the fighter finally had a power plant that allowed it to perform as well in the air as it had been supposed to on paper. After flying, the LaG-5 (the change in name reflecting that one of the original LaGG designers, Mikhail I. Gudkov, was no longer with the program), Air Force test pilots declared it superior to the Yak-7, and intensive flight tests began in April.
The prototype was put in mass production almost immediately in factories located in Moscow and in the Yaroslav region. Design changes for main production La-5 models included slats to improve all-round performance. While still inferior to the best German fighters at higher altitudes, the La-5 proved to be every bit their match closer to the ground. With most of the air combat over the Eastern Front taking place at altitudes of under 16,404 ft, the La-5 was very much in its element.
Further refinement of the aircraft involved cutting down the rear fuselage to give the pilot better visibility, making this version the La-5F. Later, a fuel-injected engine, a different engine air intake and further lightening of the aircraft led to the designation La-5FN that would become the definitive version of the aircraft. A full circle turn took 18–19 seconds. Altogether, 9,920 Lavochkin La-5s of all variants were built, including a number of dedicated trainer versions, designated La-5UTI. Very late La-5FN production models had two 20mm Berezin B-20 cannon installed in the cowling in place of the heavier two 20mm ShVAK (both were capable of a salvo weight of 3.4 kg/s). Further improvements of the aircraft would lead to the Lavochkin La-7.
A number of La-5s continued in the service of Eastern Bloc nations after the end of WW II (Ref.: 24).

Braunschweig LF 1 ‘Zaunkönig’ (“Wren”) with Panzerfaust 100 (Bazooka), (Luedemann Models)

TYPE: Short Take-Off and Landing aircraft

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot only

POWER PLANT: One Zündapp Z9-092 air-cooled, rated at 50 hp

PERFORMANCE: 88 mph

COMMENT: The Braunschweig LF-1 “Zaunkönig”, (“Wren”, LF = Langsames Flugzeug, Slow aircraft), is a Short Take-Off and Landing single-seat light aircraft designed in 1939 by Hermann Winter  and some of his students from the Technische Universität Braunschweig (Technical University of Brunswick), Lower Saxony, Germany, as a fool-proof trainer for novice student pilots to experience solo flight. H. Winter was a former chief engineer at the Bulgarian company DAR (Drzhavnata Aeroplanna Rabotilnitsa, where he created a line of aircraft and gliders for the Bulgarian Army.
The LF-1 is a parasol wing monoplane with a high set tail-plane, powered by a Zündapp Z 9-092 engine delivering 50 hp, able to operate from a 330 ft airstrip. The two-piece wings are set at 16° dihedral and are supported by a pair of V-cabane struts and V-struts either side from approximately half-span to the lower center fuselage. Full span leading edge slats extend automatically and full span trailing edge flaps / drooping ailerons can be extended manually by the pilot. The fixed tailwheel undercarriage attaches to the fuselage with long struts and oleo pneumatic shock absorbers.
It was a proof-of-concept design for a ‘fool-proof’ trainer intended for novice pilots with only one hour of ground instruction, the hour being reduced to five-minutes for those who had already flown gliders, and was intended to be impossible to either stall or spin.
The first prototype, the LF-1 V1, was built in 1940 and made its maiden flight, piloted by Winter himself, in December 1940. Test flights stopped in November 1942 after part of the wing ruptured causing the aircraft to crash. In 1943 a second prototype, the V2, was built, receiving the civil registration D-YBAR.
In early 1945 the aircraft was tested for military applications and was once even armed with a Panzerfaust 100 recoilless anti-tank weapon (Bazooka).
At the end of WW II the LF-1 was taken to the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE) at Farnborough for slow flying tests; given the British serial VX190, where amongst others, it was flown by Eric “Winkle” Brown CO Aero Flight, the aircraft also being soloed by the then-head of the RAE Aerodynamics Section, Handel Davies, after half an hour of ground instruction, and whose only previous piloting experience was as a pupil in a dual-control Miles Magister.
Encouraged by the positive British reviews Hermann Winter decided to build three more LF-1 aircraft. The construction started in 1954 and it was the first new aircraft in Germany after the war to receive a certificate by the Luftfahrt-Bundesamt (LBA) in Braunschweig (Ref.: 24).

Lockheed P-38M “Night Lightning”, (Revell)

TYPE: Night and bad weather fighter

ACCOMMODATION: Crew of two, pilot and radar operator

POWER PLANT: Two Allison V-1710-111/113 liquid-cooled turbo-supercharged engines, rated at 1,600 hp each

PERFORMANCE: 410 mph at 25,000 ft

COMMENT: The Lockheed P-38 „Lightning“ is a World War II–era American piston-engined fighter aircraft. Developed for the United Stated Army Air Corps, the P-38 had distinctive twin booms and a central nacelle containing the cockpit and armament. Allied propaganda claimed it had been nicknamed the fork-tailed devil (German:„Gabelschwanz-Teufel“) by the Luftwaffe and „two planes, one pilot” by the Japanese. The P-38 was used for aerial combat of every sort including interception, dive bombing, level bombing, ground attack, night fighting, photo reconnaissance, radar and visual pathfinding for bombers and evacuation missions, and extensively as a long-range escort fighter when equipped with drop tanks under its wings.
Adaption oft he Lightning as a night fighter, to fill the gap in the USAAF inventory caused by late delivery oft he Northrop P-61 „Black Widow“, accounted fort the last-designated variant oft he Lockheed twin, the P-38M, although the use of Lightnings in nocturnal role actually originated at squadron level rather than as a factory-designed innovation. Detachments oft he 6th Fighter Squadron flying Douglas P-70s in New Guinea and at Guadalcanal, both operated P-38Gs in this role, and the New Guinea detachment actually converted two Lightnings to two-seatres, carrying SCR-540 radar in a drop tank; the unit was, however, disbanded before these aircraft could be tested in combat. Unmodified P-38Gs and P-38Js were used as night fighters in New Guinea and on Guadalcanal with a few successful interceptions recorded.Two single seat P-38Js fitted with APS-4 radar were used with a degeree of sucess by the 547th Night Fighter Squadron operating in the Philippines in late 1944/early 1945.
While these operational innovations had been going on, a P-38J had been adapted at Wright Field to serve as a test-bed for AN/APS-4 radar, installed in the first instance in a pod under the fuselage behind the nose wheel. As it was struck by cartridges ejected when the nose gund were fired, this pod was later moved to an underwing position, outboard oft the starboard engine. Several similar radar conversions of P-38Js, including „piggy back“ two seaters were than made fort the 481st NF Operational Training group, which conducted field trials, and when the USAAF then contracted with Lockheed, in late 1944, to convert a P-38L as a night fighter, carrying a radar operator in a second cockpit behind and above the pilot, and an AN/APS-6 radar in a long pod under the nose ahead oft he nosewheel doors. The headroom in the rear cockpit was limited, requiring radar operators who were preferably short in stature.
The first flight with all modifications in place was made on February 1945, and although only six flights were made before this aircraft was destroyed, the USAAF then ordered 75 similar P-38L conversions, to be redisignated Lockheed P-38M „Night Lightning“. Testing oft he first P-38M began in July 1945, and five of these aircraft arrived at a training establishment at Hammer Field, Ca, in the same month. Found to have a better overall performance than the Northrop P-61B „Black Widow“ but to suffer some operational limitations, the P-38M saw some combat duty in the Pacific towards the end of WW II but none engaged in combat (Ref.: 9, 24).

Heinkel He 162S (A+V Models, Resin)

TYPE: Trainer glider for Heinkel He 162 turbojet aircraft

ACCOMMODATION: Crew of two, Pilot and student

POWER PLANT: None

PERFORMANCE: No data available

COMMENT: The Heinkel He 162 „Volksjäger“ (“People’s Fighter”), the name of a project of the „Jägernotprogramm“ (Emergency Fighter Program) design competition, was a German single-engine, jet-powered fighter aircraft fielded by the Luftwaffe in WW II. It was designed and built quickly and made primarily of wood as metals were in very short supply and prioritised for other aircraft. „Volksjäger“ was the RLM’s (Reich Air Ministry’s) official name for the government design program competition won by the He 162 design. Other names given to the plane include „Salamander“, which was the codename of its construction program, and „Spatz“ (“Sparrow”), which was the name given to the plane by Heinkel.
The „Volksjäger“ needed to be easy to fly. Some suggested even glider or student pilots should be able to fly the jet effectively in combat, and indeed had the Heinkel He 162 gone into full production, that is precisely what would have happened. After the war, Ernst Heinkel would say, “[The] unrealistic notion that this plane should be a ‘people’s fighter,’ in which the „Hitler Jugend“ (Hitler Youth), after a short training regimen with clipped-wing two-seater gliders like the DFS „Stummel Habicht“, could fly for the defense of Germany, displayed the unbalanced fanaticism of those days.”
The clipped-wingspan DFS „Habicht“ (Goshawk) models had varying wingspans of both 8 m or 6 m, and were used to prepare more experienced Luftwaffe pilots for the dangerous Messerschmitt Me 163B „Komet“ rocket fighter – the same sort of training approach would also be used for the „Hitler Youth“ aviators chosen to fly the jet-powered „Volksjäger“ design competition’s winning airframe design.
Besides the „Stummelhabicht“ a standard-fuselage length, unarmed BMW 003E-powered two-seat version (with the rear pilot’s seat planned to have a ventral access hatch to access the cockpit) and an unpowered two-seat glider version, designated the Heinkel He 162S („S“ for Schulen, Training establishment), were developed for training purposes. Only a small number were built, and even fewer delivered to the sole He 162 „Hitler Youth“ training unit to be activated in March 1945 at an airbase at Sagan (now Poland). The unit was in the process of formation when the war ended, and did not begin any training; it is doubtful that more than one or two He 162S gliders ever took to the air (Ref.: 24).

Yakolev Yak-7V, Normandie-Niemen Fighter Regiment (Valom)

TYPE: Fighter, Fighterbomber, Trainer

ACCOMMODATION: Crew of one or two, pilot or trainer and student

POWER PLANT: One Klimov M-105PA V-12 liquid-cooled engine, rated at 1,050 hp

PERFORMANCE: 355 mph at 16,000 ft

COMMENT: The Yakovlev Yak-7 was developed from the earlier Yakolev Yak-1 fighter, initially as a trainer but converted into a fighter. As both a fighter and later reverting to its original training role, the Yak-7 proved to be a capable aircraft and was well liked by air crews. The Yak-7 was simpler, tougher and generally better than the Yak-1.
In 1939, A. Yakolev designed a tandem-seat advanced trainer, originally designated “I-27” and then “UTI-26”, offered along with the original I-26 proposal that became the Yak-1. The “UTI” (Uchebno Trenirovochnyi Istrebitel, Training fighter) was intended to give pilots-in-training experience on a high-performance aircraft before transitioning to a fighter. With development work started in 1940, the UTI-26 differed from its predecessor in its larger span wing being placed farther back for balance as well as having two cockpits with dual controls and a rudimentary communication system. It was armed with a single 7.62 mm ShKAS machine gun in the cowling, mainly for use in training, but Yakovlev envisioned a multi-purpose aircraft that could also undertake courier and light transport duties at the front.
The first production aircraft known as Yak-7UTIs retained a retractable main landing gear, but beginning in the summer of 1941, a fixed landing gear variant, the Yak-7V (Vyvozoni = Familiarization) was substituted. The factory reasoned that production would be simplified and that reduced performance would not be detrimental for a trainer. Yak-7UTIs and Yak-7Vs were also equipped with skis for winter operations.
The Yak-7 proved to be an effective close support fighter although the first two-seaters were considered nose-heavy. Consequently, the factory introduced a rear cockpit fuel tank. Pilots complained about the fuel tank’s vulnerability since it was unarmored, and it was usually removed in the field. There were constant changes to the design based on combat observations including a definitive single-seat variant, the Yak-7B, which was produced in large numbers.
Generally, the Yakolev Yak-7 pleased its pilots. They reported that it was easy to fly at all altitudes, stable and easy to maintain and although it did not climb as quickly as a Messerschmitt Bf 109, it was as maneuverable and fast, except in the vertical plane. But defects were also noted: there was too much drag from the radiators, the canopy glass was of bad quality; the pilot was not protected enough, taking-off and landing distances were too long and, above all, it was underpowered.
Yakovlev suggested to Klimov, the engine builder, some modifications that resulted in the M-105PF which was 130 hp more powerful. With this modified engine, the Yak-7B top speed was of 372 mph, it climbed much faster up to 16,404 ft and it was more maneuverable both in the horizontal and the vertical planes. But because the rear tank was removed, its range was reduced and the center of gravity was moved too forward, while M-105 defects (glycol and oil overheating, oil leaks etc.) persisted.
In total 510 two-seat trainer were built, 87 were converted from Yak-7B (Ref.: 24).

Messerschmitt “Projekt Wespe II” (Project Wasp II), (Unicraft Models, Resin)

TYPE: Short-range fighter, fighter bomber

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot only

POWER PLANT: One Heinkel/Hirth HeS 011 turbojet engine, rated at 1,300 kp thrust

PERFORMANCE: No data available

COMMENT: This late WW II Messerschmitt „Projekt Wespe” (Wasp) is mostly unknown, and information on it is incomplete. Two seperate fuselages were designed for the „Wespe”:
Design I had the cockpit located midway along the fuselage, and the single He S 011 jet engine was located at the rear and was fed by a long air duct. A long tapering single fin and rudder was chosen, with the tail planes located about halfway up.
Design II had the cockpit located far forward on the fuselage, and the single He S 011 turbojet was mounted mid fuselage. It was fed by an air duct which wrapped under the forward fuselage, and exhausted below a tail boom with a V- Tail unit.
Both designs used a tricycle landing gear arrangement, with the main gear retracting inwards from the wing and the front gear retracting forwards. No armament was specified, but at this stage in the war two MK 108 30mm cannon would probably have been fitted. Priority for both designs was the use of non-strategic material as much as possible, reduction of time for maintenance and adequate flying characteristics (Ref.: 17).

Fairey ‘Seafox’ Mk.I, (Matchbox)

TYPE: Reconnaissance floatplane

ACCOMMODATION: Crew of two

POWER PLANT: One Napier Rapier air-cooled engine, rated at 395 hp

PERFORMANCE: 124 mph

COMMENT: The Fairey Seafox was a 1930s British reconnaissance floatplane designed and built by Fairey for the Royal Fleet Air Arm. It was designed to be catapulted from the deck of a light cruiser and served in the WW II. Of the 66 built, two were finished as landplanes.
The Fairey Seafox was built to satisfy Air Ministry Specifications S.11/32. The first of two prototypes appeared in 1936, first flying on May 1936, and the first of the 64 production aircraft were delivered in 1937. The flights were organized as 700 Naval Air Squadron of the Fleet Air Arm.
The fuselage was of all-metal monocoque construction, the wings being covered with metal on the leading edge, otherwise fabric. It was powered by a 16-cylinder 395 hp air-cooled Napier Rapier H engine. It cruised at 106 mph, and had a range of 440 mi.
Although the Seafox handled well, it was criticized for being underpowered, engine cooling was poor and landing speeds were higher than desired.
In 1939, a Seafox played a part in the Battle of River Plate against the German pocket battleship “Admiral Graf Spee”, by spotting for the naval gunners. This ended with “Graf Spee’s” scuttling and destruction.
Seafoxes operated during the early part of the war from the cruisers HMS “Emerald”. “Neptune”, “Orion”, “Ajax”, “Arethusa” and “Penelope” and the armed merchant cruisers HMS “Pretoria Castle”, “Asturias” and “Alcantara”. The floatplanes remained in service until 1943 (Ref.: 24).