BRITISH AIRCRAFT 
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FAIREY SWORDFISH

The TSR II was a prototype 'Torpedo-Spotter-Reconnaissance' aircraft designed by the Fairey Aviation Company which first flew on the 17th of April 1934.

The TSR II was a bi-plane manufactured from a metal frame and covered in doped fabric. It was designed with folding wings to enable ease of storage when in service on aircraft carriers.

In 1935 the Fleet Air Arm, at the time part of the RAF, placed an order for the Fairey Swordfish and they entered service in 1936 as a torpedo bomber.

By 1939 the Fleet Air Arm was under the control of the Royal Navy and had 13 Squadrons of Swordfish Mk.I, with 3 flights of Swordfish equipped with floats for use off catapult fitted warships.

The main weapon of the Swordfish was the aerial torpedo which had to be released at a height of 18 feet and a maximum range of 1,500 yards but ideally 1,000 yards from the target.

The slowness of the swordfish and the need for a straight approach made the Swordfish vulnerable against the increasingly heavily defended targets and the Swordfish was redeployed as anti-submarine aircraft aboard 'MAC Ships' or small carriers.

The 'MAC Ships', Merchant Aircraft Carriers, were civillian cargo or tanker ships each modified to carry 3 or 4 aircraft crewed from 836 Naval Air Squadron which at its height had around 90 aircraft.

The anti-submarine Swordfish were equipped with depth charges or eight 60lb rockets. Its tough design, lift and maneuverability made the Swordfish ideal for launching from a MAC Ship and continued its sorties into well 1945.

The Swordfish was given the nickname 'Stringbag' due to the amount of equipment the aircraft was cleared to carry with the crews feeling the aircraft could almost carry anything!

Specifications: -
Crew:2 or 3 in tandem
Wing Type:Bi-plane
Length:35ft 8in (10.87m)
Wingspan:45ft 6in (13.87m)
Height:12ft 4in (3.76m)
Empty Weight:4,700lb (2132kg)
Max. Weight:7,510lb (3406kg)
Engine:Bristol Pegasus engine producing 750 hp.
Max. Speed:138mph (222km/h)
Range:1,030 miles (1658km)
Armament: - (1 option only)
Torpedo:1 x 18" 1,610lb Torpedo
Bombs:3 x 500lb or
1 x 500lb & 4 x 250lb
Rockets:8 x 60lb (Mk.II only)
Variants: -

Swordfish Mk.I
First production aircraft and also fitted with floats for catapult equipped ships.

Swordfish Mk.II
Modified to have metal lower wings to mount rockets from 1943.

Swordfish Mk.III
Fitted with radar units from 1943.

Swordfish Mk.IV
Modified with an enclosed cabin for the RCAF.

FAIREY SWORDFISH
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Fairey Swordfish
©Nigel Key Fairey Swordfish Mk.II (Duxford 2011)

'LS326' is a Mk.II Fairey Swordfish which is part of the Royal Navy Historic Flight, here photographed at Duxford in 2011.

The aircraft was built in 1943 at Sherburn-in-Elmet and was part of 836 Squadron, 'L' Flight aboard the MAC Ship Rapana.

In 1959, 'LS326' was repainted for the film Sink The Bismarck! and in October 1960 she was presented to the Royal Navy by the Westland Aircraft Company.
Photographs © Nigel Key, Click thumbnail to enlarge.
Swordfish Mk.II (Duxford 2011) Swordfish Mk.II (Duxford 2011) Swordfish Mk.II (Duxford 2011)
Duxford 2011
Duxford 2011
Duxford 2011
Swordfish Mk.I (Woodford 1995) Swordfish Mk.II (Lee-on-solent 1970's) Swordfish Mk.I (Elvington)
Woodford 1995
Lee-on-solent 1970's
Elvington
Swordfish Mk.I (Bruntingthorpe 1993) Swordfish (Biggin Hill 1970's) Swordfish Mk.II (Biggin Hill 1970's)
Bruntingthorpe 1993
Biggin Hill 1970's
Biggin Hill 1970's



Related Links: -
Royal Navy Historic Flight Page - http://www.militaryplanes.co.uk/
Official RNHF Website - http://www.royalnavyhistoricflight.org.uk
2011 Airshow Calendar - http://www.militaryairshows.co.uk/
Military Airshows in the UK - http://www.militaryairshows.co.uk/