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Fairey Firefly Target Tugs

Fairey Firefly Target Tugs



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Fairey Firefly Target Tugs

After the Second World War a number of Fairey Fireflies were converted into target tugs, serving with the Fleet Air Arm, as well as with Sweden, Denmark, Holland and Australia.

Firefly TT.1

The TT.1 was produced for Sweden to fulfil an order from Svensk Flygjanst, the company that provided target-towing services to the Swedish armed forces. It was producing by mounting a Type 'B' Mark 2B cable winch on a windlass arm on the port side of the fuselage, just forward of the rear cockpit. Fourteen were ordered, of which twelve went to Sweden (starting in December 1948) and two to Denmark. Both countries later acquired four more TT.1s. The Swedish aircraft remained in service until June 1964.

Firefly TT.4

The Firefly TT.4 was simplified target-tug producing by fitting an air-driven ML Type G winch in a bomb-shaped pod that was carried under the fuselage centre-section. It was easier to produce than the TT.1, and the pod could be attacked to any Firefly 4, 5 or 6. The Fleet Air Arm ordered 28 TT.4s, and the first was delivered to No.771 Squadron, Fleet Requirements Squadron, at RNAS Lee-on-Solent in November 1951. The TT.4 remained in use until towing duties were taken over by Airwork FRU, a civil operator, in February 1957. Fairey also sold conversion kits to the Dutch and Australian Navies.

Firefly TT.5

The TT.5 was the designation given to two Firefly 5s converted to the target-towing role by the Royal Australian Navy, using kits provided by Fairey.

Firefly TT.6

The TT.6 was the designation given to four Firefly AS.6s converted to the target-towing role by the Royal Australian Navy, using kits provided by Fairey.

Return to main Fairey Firefly article


Westland Lysander

Lysander V9312, owned since 2003 and under restoration by ARCo was built by Westlands during 1940, taken on charge at 33 M.U. on the 4th January 1941 and subsequently served with 612, 225 and 4 Squadrons. On 26th April 1942 whilst serving with 4 Squadron it suffered Category B accident damage. Repaired at Fairfield’s Watford, it was converted to target tug status and sent to Liverpool, from where it sailed for Canada arriving on 18th October 1942. In Canada, it served with the Commonwealth Air Training Plan at Mossbank, Saskatchewan.

V9312 last flew on the 30th December 1944, then came into the possession of Harry Wherreat at Assiniboa, Saskatchewan. It was kept in storage until sold to Kermit Weeks at Polk City, Florida. No restoration work took place by Week’s organization and the aircraft subsequently came to ARC at Duxford.


Target tug

A target tug is an aircraft which tows an unmanned drone, a fabric drogue or other kind of target, for the purposes of gun or missile target practice. Target tugs are often conversions of transport and utility aircraft, as well as obsolescent combat types. Some, such as the Miles Martinet, were specially designed for the role. It was, and is, a relatively hazardous job, as live fire is typically employed and the people doing the shooting are usually still in training.

1.1. History World War 2
Prior to and during World War II target tugs were typically operated by the air arms on behalf of which they flew, and were usually conversions of aircraft that had failed in combat or that were otherwise unsuitable or obsolete in their design roles see Fairey Battle and Short Sturgeon. These aircraft typically trailed a drogue fabric sleeve at the end of a several-thousand metre long cable. Student fighter pilots or air gunners would shoot at the target from other aircraft using painted bullets so that hits could be recorded and later analysed.
In the RAF, Miles Master IIs were used for this purpose as part of the Target Towing Flight at the Central Gunnery School whilst the School was based at RAF Sutton Bridge from April 1942 to March 1944. Other aircraft used in this role were the Hawker Henley, the Boulton Paul Defiant and the Westland Lysander, although the RAF was by no means the only air arm to use target tugs. They were used by most air forces. The USAAF used older aircraft such as the TBD Devastator as target tugs, and the Luftwaffe and the VVS Red Army also used them.
The chief modifications to the aircraft were a station for the drogue operator and a winch to reel in the cable prior to landing. The winch was typically powered by a small wind-turbine on the outside of the aircraft, driven by the airflow and attached to the winch via a clutch. Such devices are still used by some aerial refueling tankers to retract the refueling hose after the operation is completed. The drogue would often be jettisoned at some location convenient for recovery prior to the aircrafts landing. The drogue itself caused a great deal of drag and could be dangerous, particularly to less-powerful aircraft. If the engine failed, the drag from the drogue could be enough to reduce the airspeed of the aircraft below stall speed before the drogue could be jettisoned see Hawker Henley.

2. Current usage
Today, more air arms have turned to civilian companies for provision of target towing services. Many companies operating in this field today do so using modified corporate jet aircraft instead of ex-military aircraft. Advantages of operating civil aircraft types include ease of registration it being difficult in many countries to register ex-military jets as civil aircraft, ease of maintenance and lower operating costs when compared to ex-military aircraft. Companies active in 2007 providing target towing services include FR Aviation Services Ltd. in the UK and associated companies AVdef in France and Falcon Special Air Services in Malaysia using Falcon 20s Pel-Air in Australia using Learjets and in something of a reversal of recent trends EIS Aircraft Gmbh in Germany using Pilatus PC-9 aircraft.
Target towing operations are not without risk. On September 17, 1994 a Golden Eagle Aviation Lear 35A was accidentally shot down by a ship of the Taiwanese Navy during a live-fire exercise.

  • weapon. Targets being shot at for practice include: with hand guns: shooting targets by air forces or air defense forces: target drones and target tugs by
  • behind other craft, the counterparts of target tugs in aviation. The U.S. Navy employs the Low - Cost Modular Target LCMT a modular barge made from pontoons
  • C - 3605 aircraft as target tug which remained in use until 1987. From 1990 to 1994 the Hawker Hunter replaced the Vampires as a target aircraft, carrying
  • The Miles M.33 Monitor was a twin - engined British target tug aircraft designed and built by Miles Aircraft towards the end of the Second World War. Intended
  • Beituo 632 class tug is a class of little known naval auxiliary ship currently in service with the People s Liberation Army Navy PLAN The name of this
  • The Hawker Henley was a British two - seat target tug derived from the Hawker Hurricane that was operated by the RAF during the Second World War. In 1934
  • towing targets and retrieving training torpedoes. Survival training for aircraft crews are also carried out with them. Former Wangerooge class tug A1453
  • Hawker Hart - obsolete bomber used as trainer and target tug Royal Air Force Hawker Henley - target tug Royal Air Force Hawker Osprey - obsolete fighter
  • Tugs is a 1988 British children s television series created by the producers of Thomas the Tank Engine Friends, Robert D. Cardona and David Mitton, features
  • The Type 830 sea - going rescue tug is a type of naval auxiliary ship currently in service with the People s Liberation Army Navy PLAN Type 830 has received
  • Beituo 715 class tug is a class of little known naval auxiliary ship currently in service with the People s Liberation Army Navy PLAN The name of this
  • The Nantuo 181 class tug is a class of little known naval auxiliary ship currently in service with the People s Liberation Army Navy PLAN The name
  • Beituo 625 class tug is a class of little known naval auxiliary ship currently in service with the People s Liberation Army Navy PLAN The name of this
  • The Beituo 659 - class tug is a class of Chinese naval auxiliary ship currently in service with the People s Liberation Army Navy PLAN Its name is taken
  • Beituo 702 class tug is a class of little known naval auxiliary ship currently in service with the People s Liberation Army Navy PLAN The name of this
  • The Beituo 617 class tug is a little known class of naval auxiliary currently in service with the People s Liberation Army Navy PLAN The name of this
  • Beituo 699 class tug is a class of little known naval auxiliary ship currently in service with the People s Liberation Army Navy PLAN The name of this
  • Haixiu 121 class tug is a class of naval auxiliary ship currently in service with the People s Liberation Army Navy PLAN The class is named after the
  • The 3200 - horsepower class tug is a little known class of naval auxiliary currently in service with the People s Liberation Army Navy PLAN Built by
  • USS Wando Tug No. 17 later YT - 17, later YT - 123, later YTB - 123, was a United States Navy tug in commission from 1917 to 1946. Wando Tug No. 17 was
  • The Agena Target Vehicle ATV, ədʒiːnə also known as Gemini - Agena Target Vehicle GATV was an uncrewed spacecraft used by NASA during its Gemini program
  • the Strait of Juan de Fuca in 1968. Northwest Seaport now preserves the tug as a museum ship in Seattle, Washington. Wallowa was built in 1889 in Portland
  • patrolled the waters in and around Key West and served as a harbor tug and target - towing tug during World War I. After the war, she was ordered transferred
  • USS Tekesta AT - 93 was Navajo - class fleet tug built during World War II for the United States Navy. Shortly after being built, it was crewed by trained
  • and ordered versions for twin - engined training, liaison duties and as a target tug The most unusual version was the Potez 565, modified with an arrester
  • The Abnaki - class tug is a class of United States Navy fleet ocean tugs which began construction in November 1942. Comprising 22 oceangoing tugboats, the
  • Steam Tug Wattle is a steam - powered tugboat undergoing refurbishment in Melbourne, Australia. The tugboat was constructed at Cockatoo Island Dockyard
  • The third USS Kiowa AT - 72 later ATF - 72, was a fleet tug later fleet ocean tug that served in the United States Navy from 1943 to 1972. Kiowa was laid
  • USS Arikara AT - 98 was an Abnaki - class of fleet ocean tug It was named after the Arikara, a loose confederacy of sub - tribes of American Indians related
  • These targets have to be reset by tugging on a length of cord attached to the faceplate above the hinge. Targets are shot from open gates in a firing

Raul on Twitter: Pacific Freedom tug towing droneship toward the.

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Fairey Firefly Mk.1

The Fairey Firefly was a Second World War-era carrier-borne fighter aircraft and anti-submarine aircraft principally operated by the Fleet Air Arm (FAA). It was developed and built by the British aircraft manufacturer Fairey Aviation Company.

Development of the Firefly can be traced back to pair of specifications issued by the British Air Ministry in 1938, calling for new naval fighter designs. Designed to the contemporary FAA concept of a two-seat fleet reconnaissance/fighter, the pilot and navigator/weapons officer were positioned at separate stations. In flight, the Firefly was superior in terms of both performance and firepower to its predecessor, the Fairey Fulmar. Due to a protracted development, the type only entered operational service towards the end of the conflict, at which point it was no longer competitive as a fighter. The limitations of a single engine in a relatively heavy airframe reduced its performance, but the Firefly proved to be fairly sturdy, long-ranged, and docile aircraft during carrier operations.

The Fairey Firefly served in the Second World War as a fleet fighter. During the post-war era, it was soon superseded in the fighter role by the arrival of more modern jet aircraft, thus the Firefly was adapted to perform in other roles, including strike operations and anti-submarine warfare. In these capacities, it remained a mainstay of the FAA until the mid-1950s. Both British and Australian Fireflies routinely performed ground–attack operations from various aircraft carriers during the Korean War. In foreign service, the type was in operation with the naval air arms of Australia, Canada, India and the Netherlands. As late as 1962, Dutch Fireflies were used to carry out attack sorties against Indonesian infiltrators in Dutch New Guinea. Its final uses were in various secondary roles, such as trainers, target tugs and drone aircraft.


Fairey Firefly Target Tugs - History

When the Fairey Battle prototype flew on 10 March 1936, it represented a significant step-up in performance over the Hawker Hart, which it was designed to replace. However, when World War II began only three years later the type was already obsolete and the RAF was to learn, like the Luftwaffe with the Junkers Ju 87 Stuka, that it could only operate safely where air supremacy had been achieved.

Designed by Marcel Lobelle, the prototype Fairey Day Bomber, as it was then known, originated as the company's submission to Specification P.27/32 for a two-seat single-engine monoplane bomber capable of carrying 1,000 lbs (454 kg) of bombs for 1,000 miles (1609 km) at 200 mph (322 km/h) which was ordered as a prototype on June 11, 1934. Provision for a radio operator/air gunner was made later, to man a Lewis or Vickers 'K' dorsal machine-gun.This performance was to be bettered by Fairey's aircraft, which was competing against design proposals from Armstrong Whitworth, Bristol and Hawker, but only the Armstrong Whitworth's A.W.29 joined Fairey's prototype in receiving orders. Fairey's contender won the competition, but a first production contract for 155 aircraft, to the revised Specification P.23/35, had been placed in 1935 even before the prototype had flown. The Battle had accommodation for a crew of three comprising pilot, bomb-aimer/observer, and radio operator/gunner. The first production aircraft was built, like the prototype, at Hayes and flew from the Great West Aerodrome (now part of Heathrow Airport), on 14 April 1937. It was used for performance trials during which it achieved 243 mph (391 km/h) at 16,200 ft (4940 m). A range of 1,050 miles (1690 m) was flown with maximum bomb load.

The second and subsequent production aircraft came from a production line established at a new purpose-built factory at Heaton Chapel, Stockport, and it was for the Battle that Rolls-Royce received its launching order for the famous 1,030 hp (768 kW) Merlin I engine, which powered the first 136 Fairey-built aircraft.

The aircraft's light alloy and stressed skin construction was a 'first' for Fairey, and the Battle proved to be extremely robust. In general it proved popular with the test pilots at the Aircraft and Armament Experimental Establishment at Martlesham Heath, and at the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough. It was said to be very easy to fly but the elevator was heavy on take-off on the other hand the Royal Aircraft Establishment considered the elevator over-light at low speeds. Engine-off stall was described as 'innocuous', but the accommodation came in for some criticism: although the pilot's cockpit was considered to be roomy and comfortable with reasonable forward vision, it could sometimes become extremely hot. The rear gunner, behind the pilot, had his own problems: the screen intended to protect him from the slipstream was badly designed and it shape deflected a downdraught into his face, while the rear vision was described as 'poor'.

By the end of 1937, Fairey had built 85 Battles, and the first squadron to receive the new bomber in May 1937 was No.63 at Upwood, Huntingdonshire, where it replaced the Hawker Audax. Other squadrons which re-equipped that year were Nos. 52, 88, 105 and 226.

As new orders for Battles were placed, production sub-contracts were awarded to Austin Motors at Longbridge, Birmingham. Meantime, the last 19 Battles of the initial Fairey order for 155 were provided with Merlin II engines, and these were fitted also to the Austin-built aircraft. The first Battle from the Longbridge factory flew in July 1938, and 29 had been completed there by the end of the year. By March the following year Austin was producing more than 30 Battles a month, but even then the programme was running late. After 60 Austin-built Battles had been completed, the Merlin II engine was introduced on the production line.

By the outbreak of World War II more than 1,000 Battles had been delivered, and aircraft of No. 226 Squadron were the first to be sent to France as part of the Advanced Air Striking Force. It was here that the Battle's inability to defend itself against enemy fighters became obvious. On armed daylight reconnaissance missions the type occasionally tangled with Bf 109s, and although one of the latter was destroyed by a Battle's rear gunner in September 1940, the light bombers invariably suffered heavy casualties.

As the period of the so-called 'phoney war' came to an end, the Battle squadrons were thrown in on 10 May 1940 to try to stop the advancing German ground forces. Without fighter escort, and attacking from a height of only 250 ft (76 m) with delayed-action bombs the Battles came under heavy ground fire, losing 13 of the 32 aircraft sent on the mission, while all the others were damaged. The next day seven out of eight were lost, and on 12 May five Battles of No.12 Squadron, flown by volunteer crews, attacked two vital road bridges over the Albert Canal. In the face of extremely heavy ground fire the attack was pressed home and one bridge seriously damaged, but at a cost of all five aircraft. The first RAF Victoria Crosses of World War II were awarded posthumously to Flying Officer D.E. Garland and his observer, Sergeant T. Gray, who led the formation.

Further heavy losses came on 14 May, when 35 out of 63 Battles failed to return from attacks against bridges and troop concentrations. These losses marked the end of the Battle's career as a day bomber, and although a few remained in front-line service until late 1940 the survivors were mostly diverted to other duties. The most important of these was for training, and 100 were built as dual-control trainers with separate cockpits, while 266 target-towing variants were also supplied.

The last production aircraft, Austin-built, was a target tug, and it was delivered on 2 September 1940. It brought total Battle production to 2,185 including the prototype, 1,156 being built by Fairey and 1,029 by Austin Motors.

Canada used a large number of Battles for training and target towing in the Commonwealth Air Training Plan, the first being supplied to the Royal Canadian Air Force at Camp Borden in August 1939. They were the vanguard of 739 of these aircraft, this total including seven airframes for instructional purposes. Under the Empire Air Training Scheme (EATS), Australia took delivery of 366 of the type between June 1940 and December 1943 consisting of four British-built Battles and 360 assembled in Australia, including 30 target tugs, while other export customers were Belgium (18), Turkey (28), South Africa (161) and Eire (Ireland), where an RAF aircraft which landed at Waterford in 1941 was interned and later taken over by the Air Corps.

A number of Battles were used as test-beds for such engines as the Napier Dagger and Sabre Bristol Hercules and Taurus Rolls-Royce Merlin X and the 1,280 hp (955 kw) Merlin XII with chin radiator and the Fairey Prince. Other Battles were used for experiments with various types of propellers.

Battle B.Mk I - First production type with one Rolls-Royce Merlin I 12-cylinder Vee liquid-cooled piston engine with a single stage, single speed supercharger and rated at 890 hp (656 kW) for take-off at sea level using 87 octane fuel, and developing a maximum power rating of 1,030 hp (768 kW) at 3,000 rpm at 16,250 ft (4940 m) for short periods using 87 octane fuel driving a three bladed dual pitch airscrew. 136 aircraft built.

Battle B.Mk II - Identical to the Battle Mk I but fitted with one Rolls-Royce Merlin II 12-cylinder Vee liquid-cooled piston engine with a single stage, single speed supercharger and rated at 880 hp (664 kW) for take-off at sea level, and developing a maximum power rating of 1,440 hp (1074 kW) at 3,000 rpm at 5,500 ft (1680 m) for short periods using 87 octane fuel driving a three bladed dual pitch airscrew. The Merlin II replaced the unsatisfactory ramp type of cylinder head with a Kestrel style flat combustion chamber. 78 aircraft built.

Battle B.Mk III - Identical to the Battle Mk II but fitted with one Rolls-Royce Merlin III 12-cylinder Vee liquid-cooled piston engine with a single stage, single speed supercharger and rated at 880 hp (664 kW) for take-off at sea level, and developing a maximum power rating of 1,440 hp (1074 kW) at 3,000 rpm at 5,500 ft (1680 m) for short periods using 87 octane fuel driving a three bladed dual pitch airscrew. The Merlin III was adapted for the use of a constant-speed propeller and a constant-speed unit.

Battle B.Mk IV - Identical to the Battle Mk III but fitted with one Rolls-Royce Merlin IV 12-cylinder Vee liquid-cooled piston engine with a single stage, single speed supercharger and rated at 1,030 hp (768 kW) for take-off and 1,440 hp (1074 kW) at 3,000 rpm at 5,500 ft (1680 m) for short periods using 87 octane fuel driving a three bladed dual pitch airscrew. This mark of Merlin engine differs by using a pressurised 70 percent water and 30 percent ethylene-glycol mixture for engine cooling.

Battle B.Mk V - Identical to the Battle Mk IV but fitted with one Rolls-Royce Merlin V 12-cylinder Vee liquid-cooled piston engine with a single stage, single speed supercharger and rated at 1,030 hp (768 kW) for take-off and 1,440 hp (1074 kW) at 3,000 rpm at 5,500 ft (1680 m) for short periods using 87 octane fuel driving a three bladed dual pitch airscrew.

Battle TT.Mk I - Last production variant for use as target tug, with hydraulic winch on port side of fuselage and drogue stowage box below rear fuselage. Production started in February 1940 with all being built by Austin Motors and using Rolls-Royce Merlin III engines. 200 built by Fairey and 66 by Austin.

Battle TT - Battles that were converted to target tugs. Number unknown.

Battle T - After the Fairey Battle was retired from frontline service, several training units used the type unmodified, but rear-seat visibility was inadequate leading to the development of a special dual-control trainer. This designation includes converted dual-control trainers as well. Numbers unknown.

Battle T.Mk I - Starting in 1939 a special dual-control trainer with similar tandem cockpits was produced. 200 built by Austin.

Battle IT - Fairey Battle's modified to carry a Bristol Type I single-gun dorsal turret in place of rear cockpit. Two prototypes were tested in UK and another 204 aircraft were converted in Canada.

Battle IIT - A single RCAF aircraft with a Bristol Type I single-gun dorsal turret and fitted with a Wright GR-1820-G3B Cyclone 9-cylinder radial engine using 91 octane fuel rated at 875 hp (652 kW) for take-off with a normal power rating of 840 hp (626 kW) at 8,700 ft (2650 m).

Belgian Battle - Sixteen Fairey Battles ordered for the Belgian Aéronautique Militaire in 1938, and assembled by Avions Fairey at Gosselies from Stockport built components and equipped with the Rolls-Royce Merlin III engine. They differed from the British Battles by having the radiator placed further forward. Based in Evère-Bruxelles with the 5e Escadrille, Groupe III, 3e Regiment, they took part in a single mission against bridges over the Albert Canal in May 1940.

Experimental - This category includes many one-off experimental aircraft used for testing various engines and propellers. Engines tested include the Napier Dagger and Sabre, the Bristol Hercules (fixed down and faired in undercarriage) and Taurus, the Rolls-Royce Merlin X and XII with chin radiator and the Fairey P.24 Prince.

Specifications (Fairey Battle Mk I)

Type: Three Seat Light Bomber, Target Tug & Gunnery Trainer

Accommodation/Crew: Pilot, Bomb-aimer/Observer, and Wireless Operator/Gunner.

Design: Design Team lead by Marcel Lobelle

Manufacturer: The Fairey Aviation Company Limited based in Hayes, Middlesex with production facilities in Heaton Chapel, Stockport (Cheshire). A shadow factory was established at Austin Motors Limited in Cofton Hackett, Longbridge (Birmingham) building aircraft to Specification 32/36. 16 aircraft were assembled by Avions Fairey in Gosselies, Belgium.

Powerplant: One Rolls-Royce Merlin I piston engine rated at 890 hp (664 kW) for take-off at sea level, and developing a maximum power rating of 1,030 hp (768 kW) at 3,000 rpm at 16,250 ft (4940 m) for short periods. A three-bladed Hamilton Standard (de Havilland built) dual pitch propeller was standard. Settings were fully fine or fully coarse even though they were only 20º apart. At altitude, selecting fully coarse cut the Merlin's rpm in half. When 100 Octane fuel became available it enabled the boost pressure to double from 6 lbs/square inch to 9 - 12 lbs/square inch allowing the same engine to make a maximum power rating of over 1,300 hp (970 kW).

Performance: Maximum speed 257 mph (414 km/h) at 20,000 ft (6100 m) cruising speed 210 mph (338 km/h) service ceiling 25,000 ft (7620 m) initial climb rate 920 ft (280 m) per minute.

Fuel Capacity: 212 Imp gal (254,6 US gal), plus 45 Imp gal (54 US gal) in fuselage tank, plus 33 Imp gal (39.6 US gal) in wing tank.

Oil Capacity: Unknown.

Range: 1,000 miles (1609 km) at 16,000 ft (4875 m) at 200 mph (322 km/h) with 1,000 lbs (454 kg) of bombs.

Weights & Loadings: Empty 6,647 lbs (3015 kg) with a maximum take-off weight of 10,792 lbs (4895 kg).

Dimensions: Span 54 ft 0 in (16.46 m) length 42 ft 1 3/4 in (12.85 m) height 15 ft 6 in (4.72 m) wing area 422.0 sq ft (39.20 sq m) wing aspect ratio 6.91.

Defensive Armament: One forward firing 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Browning machine-gun in in the starboard wing with a 400 round magazine and combat ciné camera and one rearward firing 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Vickers 'K' machine-gun in the rear cockpit with 485 rounds. Early aircraft had a 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Lewis machine-gun until replaced by the Vickers 'K' machine-gun. During the Battle for France, crews often hastily added a ventral gun below the fuselage just aft of the wing. This gun was aimed by the third crew member using a mirror sight.
Disposable Ordnance: Up to 1,000 lbs (454 kg) of bombs carried internally in four inner wing bomb cells. The internal wing bomb cells had racks that were lowered and attached to the bombs and then hydraulically raised the bombs into their cells. These hydraulic racks could also be extended below the wing for dive bombing attacks. A single 250 lbs (114 kg) bomb could be carried externally under each wing at the expense of range.

4 × 250 lbs (114 kg) bombs in the wing bomb cells, and

2 × 250 lbs (114 kg) bombs on underwing racks (with reduced range)

Variants: Battle B.Mk I, B.Mk II, B.Mk III, B.Mk IV, B.Mk V, TT.Mk I.

Equipment/Avionics: R.1082 radio and T.1083 transmitter.

History: First flight (prototype), 10 March 1936 production Mk I June 1937 final delivery January 1941 withdrawn from service 1949.

Operators: United Kingdom (RAF), Canada (RCAF), Australia (RAAF), South Africa (SAAF), Belgium (18), Turkey (28), Ireland (1), Greece (12), Poland (1 - never delivered).

Units: Nos. 12, 15, 35, 40, 52, 63, 88, 98, 103, 105, 106, 142, 150, 185, 207, 218, 226, 300, 301, 304, 305 Squadrons of RAF Bomber Command.


Prior to and during World War II target tugs were typically operated by the air arms on behalf of which they flew, and were usually conversions of aircraft that had failed in combat or that were otherwise unsuitable or obsolete in their design roles (see Fairey Battle and Short Sturgeon). These aircraft typically trailed a drogue, or fabric sleeve, at the end of a long cable (often thousands of metres) and student fighter pilots or air gunners would shoot at the target from other aircraft (using painted bullets so that 'hits' could be recorded and later analysed). Miles Master IIs were used for this purpose as part of the Target Towing Flight at the Central Gunnery School whilst the School was based at RAF Sutton Bridge from April 1942 to March 1944. Other aircraft used in this role were the Hawker Henley, the Boulton Paul Defiant and the Westland Lysander.

The chief modifications to the aircraft were a station for the drogue operator and a winch (usually air-driven) to reel in the cable prior to landing the drogue would often be jettisoned at some location convenient for recovery prior to the aircraft's landing.

The use of such aircraft continued post-war, although a trend developed whereby ex-military aircraft were purchased, modified and operated by civilian companies under contract. Deutsche-Luftfahrt Beratungsdienst of West Germany and Svensk Flygtjänst AB of Sweden were two notable companies in the field in the post-war years, operating such types as the Hawker Sea Fury, Fairey Firefly and Douglas Skyraider. Many air arms however continued to operate target tugs on their own behalf.

In later years the use of civilian companies expanded significantly worldwide, with many companies forming or entering the field in the 1960s and 1970s. The trend was still to use ex-military aircraft, for example Illawarra Flying Services in Australia used two ex-RAAF CAC Mustangs from 1960 until the latter part of the 1970s [ 1 ] . Flight Systems Inc. commenced operations at Mojave, California with Canadair Sabres converted as QF-86E missile targets, the first aircraft making its first unmanned flight in April 1975 this company later also operated Sabres as target tugs [ 2 ] . Flight Systems Inc was later purchased by Tracor and these operations are still performed by BAE Systems Flight Systems with Douglas Skyhawks [ 3 ] . The practice of using ex-military aircraft as target tugs (and of air arms retaining older aircraft themselves for such use) resulted in them surviving into an era where such aircraft became desirable as Warbirds many former target tugs are now to be found on the airshow circuit or under restoration to fly, and in aviation museums.

Today, more air arms have turned to civilian companies for provision of target towing services. Many companies operating in this field today do so using modified corporate jet aircraft instead of ex-military aircraft. Advantages of operating civil aircraft types include ease of registration (it being difficult in many countries to register ex-military jets as civil aircraft), ease of maintenance and lower operating costs when compared to ex-military aircraft. Companies active in 2007 providing target towing services include FR Aviation Services Ltd. in the UK and associated companies AVdef (in France) and Falcon Special Air Services (in Malaysia) [ 4 ] using Falcon 20s Pel-Air in Australia using Learjets and (in something of a reversal of recent trends) EIS Aircraft Gmbh in Germany using Pilatus PC-9 aircraft.

Target towing operations are not without risk. On September 17, 1994 a Golden Eagle Aviation Lear 35A was accidentally shot down by a ship of the Taiwanese Navy during a live-fire exercise [ 5 ] . On the lighter side, a typical admonition from a tug pilot to gunners hitting the tug rather than the target would be Tell them I'm pulling it, not pushing it !. [ citation needed ]


Bojové nasazení [ editovat | editovat zdroj ]

Fairey Firefly verze F Mk.I byla jedinou variantou, která se významně zúčastnila bojových operací za druhé světové války. Postupně byla nasazena jak v Evropě, tak na Dálném východě. Letouny byly do služby zařazovány od 1. října roku 1943, konkrétně byly přiřazeny 1770. peruti na palubě letadlové lodi HMS Indefatigable. Prvního nasazení se dočkaly až v polovině roku 1944, kdy provedly sérii průzkumných a útočných operací proti nepřátelské lodní dopravě podél norského pobřeží. Firefly rovněž podpořily letecké útoky v rámci operace Mascot, která měla zneschopnit německou bitevní loď Tirpitz kotvící v norském Altenfjordu – během náletů ostřelovaly svými 20mm kanóny palubu lodi a další stanoviště protiletadlové obrany. Ve stejné oblasti působila s letouny Firefly i 1771. squadrona na lodi HMS Implacable

Dále se letadlové lodi HMS Indefatigable zapojila do bojů proti Japonsku jako součást British Pacific Fleet. Fairey Firefly se stal prvním britským strojem války nad zemí vycházejícího slunce a nad Tokiem. Letouny byly nasazovány při četných útocích proti pozemním cílům a hrály významnou roli například při zničení ropných rafinerií na Sumatře v lednu 1945. V té době se rovněž uplatnily v roli protiponorkového letounu.

Firefly byly bojově nasazeny i ve válce v Malajsii a ve válce v Koreji Austrálií a Velkou Británií. Ještě v roce 1962 si Firefly Nizozemského námořnictva zabojovaly proti Indonésii v bitvě v Arafurském moři.


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The Fairey Aviation Company had long been known for their naval aircraft. Their Flycatcher fighter biplane had served the Royal Navy for many years, and the company was always happy to contend when any official specification was issued by the Admiralty for a new Fleet Air Arm aircraft. However, in the late 1930s the British naval authorities decided to behave in an illogical manner (and not for the last time, I might add). Having ignored the imminent arrival of the Hurricane and then the Spitfire into RAF service, they plumped for yet another biplane, the Sea Gladiator, from Gloster, and then finally selected Fairey to build the first FAA eight-gun monoplane fighter. Fairey chose to hand the project to Marcel Lobelle (of Fairey Battle fame), a Belgian designer who came up with a machine that was powered by a Rolls-Royce Merlin and armed with 8 x .303 Browning machineguns (like the Spitfire and Hurricane). What the Fairey Fulmar, as it was called, also had was a Naval Observer, to do the navigation! This weight penalty in structure and crew finished the Fulmar as a high performance fighter.

When the time came to replace the Fulmar, you would have thought that their Lordships (of the Admiralty, of course) would have learnt their lesson. No! Fairey’s came up with a perfectly respectable fleet fighter, built to Specification P.4/34, which they called the Firefly (they had already built a biplane fighter of the same name). Still saddled with a two-man crew, the company decided on Rolls-Royce’s new Griffon IIB engine of 1,730hp, which was pulling new generation Spitfires around the sky at close to 400 mph the Firefly Mk 1 managed only 316 mph (slower than a Mk 1 Hurricane!)

Still, despite these handicaps, the new fighter proved to have a powerful punch, with 4 x 20mm Hispano cannon and 8 x 60lb rocket projectiles – ideal for attacking ground targets, or shipping strikes. Fireflies took part in shipping strikes in Norwegian waters, and the raids on the German battleship, ‘Tirpitz’. Later, the British Pacific Fleet used Fireflies from the carriers HMS Indefatigable and HMS Implacable to attack targets in Sumatra, and even the Home Islands of Japan. The second crewman also came in useful when anti-submarine versions were designed, post-WW2. The Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Canadian Navy both operated Fireflies, and the Fleet Air Arm took them to war in Korea, where they were used to strike at targets both north and south of the 38th Parallel. Other users included the Royal Netherlands Naval Air Service (Marine-Luchtvaartdienst), and the Ethiopean Air Force (bought second-hand from the Canadians). I remember taking a call in my room at the Addis Ababa Hilton, in the middle of the night, and being offered a pair of VERY used Fireflies – it turned out that a) one of them had a tree growing through it, and b) the gentleman concerned didn’t actually OWN the aircraft – but that’s another story!

Here we can see a Firefly TT.1, in storage at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, Cambridgeshire. It was originally manufactured in 1944 as ‘DT989’, an FR.1 (Fighter/Reconnaissance version), but was converted to a target tug, as many were after the end of WW2, in this case at Fairey’s Heaton Chapel works, near Ringway Airport, Manchester. It was exported to Sweden, where a company called Svenska Flygjanst AB provided target-towing facilities for the Swedish Armed Forces, using a total of 16 Fireflies (hence the all-over yellow scheme of SE-BRG). Since it represents the early generation Firefly (the second generation machines, such as the AS.5, have radically different tail profiles, chin contours and wing shapes) it will, undoubtedly, be ‘deconverted’ back to its original form by its new owners, the Aircraft Restoration Company at Duxford. I am really looking forward to the day when we will, eventually, see a genuine WW2-era Firefly on the airshow circuit


Contents

World War 2 [ edit ]

Prior to and during World War II target tugs were typically operated by the air arms on behalf of which they flew, and were usually conversions of aircraft that had failed in combat or that were otherwise unsuitable or obsolete in their design roles (see Fairey Battle and Short Sturgeon). These aircraft typically trailed a drogue fabric sleeve at the end of a several-thousand metre long cable. Student fighter pilots or air gunners would shoot at the target from other aircraft using painted bullets so that hits could be recorded and later analysed.

In the RAF, Miles Master IIs were used for this purpose as part of the Target Towing Flight at the Central Gunnery School whilst the School was based at RAF Sutton Bridge from April 1942 to March 1944. Other aircraft used in this role were the Hawker Henley, the Boulton Paul Defiant and the Westland Lysander, although the RAF was by no means the only air arm to use target tugs. They were used by most air forces. The USAAF used older aircraft such as the TBD Devastator as target tugs. The Luftwaffe and the VVS (Red Army) also used tugs.

The chief modifications to the aircraft were a station for the drogue operator and a winch to reel in the cable prior to landing. The winch was typically powered by a small wind turbine on the outside of the aircraft, driven by the airflow and attached to the winch via a clutch. Such devices are still used by some aerial refueling tankers to retract the refueling hose after the operation is completed. The drogue would often be jettisoned at some location convenient for recovery prior to the aircraft's landing. The drogue itself caused a great deal of drag and could be dangerous, particularly to less-powerful aircraft. If the engine failed, the drag from the drogue could be enough to reduce the airspeed of the aircraft below stall speed before the drogue could be jettisoned (see Hawker Henley).

Post-War [ edit ]

The use of such aircraft continued post-war, although a trend developed whereby ex-military aircraft were purchased, modified and operated by civilian companies under contract. Deutsche-Luftfahrt Beratungsdienst of West Germany and Svensk Flygtjänst AB of Sweden were two notable companies in the field in the post-war years, operating such types as the Hawker Sea Fury, Fairey Firefly and Douglas Skyraider. Many air arms however continued to operate target tugs on their own behalf.

In later years the use of civilian companies expanded significantly worldwide, with many companies forming or entering the field in the 1960s and 1970s. The trend was still to use ex-military aircraft, for example Fawcett Aviation in Australia used two ex-RAAF CAC Mustangs from 1960 until the latter part of the 1970s. Ώ] Flight Systems Inc. commenced operations at Mojave, California with Canadair Sabres converted as QF-86E missile targets, the first aircraft making its first unmanned flight in April 1975 this company later also operated Sabres as target tugs. ΐ] Flight Systems Inc was later purchased by Tracor and these operations are still performed by BAE Systems Flight Systems with Douglas Skyhawks. Α] The practice of using ex-military aircraft as target tugs (and of air arms retaining older aircraft themselves for such use) resulted in them surviving into an era where such aircraft became desirable as Warbirds many former target tugs are now to be found on the airshow circuit or under restoration to fly, and in aviation museums.


Fairey Battle

The Fairey Battle was a prewar British light bomber design that proved a step-forward for the nation when it was designed during the early-tomid-1930s. However, it was quickly outclassed in the fighting of World War 2 (1939-1945) where it held little advantage against more nimble enemy fighters put forth by the Germans. Nevertheless, Battle crews and British warplanners soldiered on due to the lack of a better alternative and production would eventually range into the thousands. The aircraft was used by several major air arms of the conflict and was not formally retired until the late 1940s.

The Battle was born from Specification P.27/32 appearing during 1933 which called for a two-seat, light-class bomber aircraft to replace the aging stock of Hawker biplanes in the same role. At this time in history, British thinking centered on a compact, light-class bomb delivery platform with France being the assumed future enemy of Britain - thusly range proved of little import. The storied Fairey concern returned with a modern, two-seat, low-wing monoplane which recorded its first flight on March 10th, 1936. By the time the aircraft made it aloft, it had changed considerably from the original direction, now incorporating a greater bomb load capability as well as a third crewmember to help take on more of the operational workload. This forced a long slender fuselage with a long-running, greenhouse-style canopy to be implemented and these changes regrettably increased the airframe's intended weight with the result becoming degraded performance.

Even before the readied prototype (K4303) had even flown, the Air Ministry contracted for 155 of the modern aircraft to offset its outclassed interwar-era biplanes (many air forces were incorporating all-metal, enclosed cockpit aircraft during the period). Production followed as quickly as possible and order numbers grew despite limitations in the design already understood by commanders who would be managing the fleet during wartime. No. 63 Squadron became the aircraft's first recipient during May of 1937 as Europe grew more and more unsettled and by September of 1939, 1,000 Battles stocked the Royal Air Force (RAF) inventory in preparation for total war. Initial variants were recognized rather simply as "Battle Mk I" and these were powered by a Rolls-Royce Merlin I inline piston engine of 1,030 horsepower - the same engine that would make stars out of the Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire in due time. Armament was just 1 x .303 (7.7mm) Browning machine gun in a fixed, forward-firing mounting along the right-hand-side wing leading edge with 1 x Vickers K machine gun in an aft mounting in the cockpit. The Battle managed an internal bomb load of 4 x 250lb conventional drop bombs and an additional 500lbs of external stores.

World War 2 (1939-1945) began on September 1st, 1939 when German forces began their campaign to conquer Europe, crossing into sovereign Poland. They were soon joined weeks later by the Soviet offensive in the East which divided Poland in two. Prior to the invasion, the British had already delivered some ten squadrons of Fairey Battles to French soil in anticipation of war.

When Battles were put to the test, it proved itself an already outclassed aircraft type - too slow to counter enemy fighters and holding too small of a bomb load to be an effective strike aircraft. Self-defense was truly lacking and its size worked against the crew, providing a large target and revealing many vulnerable approach angles to the enemy. If left on their own, Battles fended poorly during sorties than when under fighter escort protection - Battles were neither true bombers nor dedicated fighters, instead something of an obsolete cross-breed that realistically held little value in the upcoming war of fluid fronts. During one mission undertaken in September of 1939, five Battles fell to German Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighters with little trouble - such was the German fighter advantage when facing unprotected Battle aircraft.

Following the initial Mk I variant was the slightly improved Battle Mk II with their Rolls-Royce Merlin II inline piston engines outputting at 1,030 horsepower. Performance included a maximum speed of 257 miles per hour with a range out to 1,000 miles. It service ceiling was 25,000 feet with a rate-of-climb nearing approximately 1,250 feet per minute.

The Mk V was then brought online and this mark introduced the Merlin V series engine. From the Mk I, Mk II and Mk V lines was born the converted "Battle T" trainer model. The "Battle IT" trainers were given a turret along the aft end of the fuselage for aerial gunnery practice. The "Battle IIT", appearing October 1940, was a one-off Mk I outfitted with the American Wright Cyclone R1820-G38 engine in case Rolls-Royce Merlins would go into short supply during the war. Others fell to use as target tugs - "Battle TT" and "Battle TT.Mk I".

As the Germans advanced through the Low Countries and, ultimately, France during May of 1940, the Battles were continually pressed into action simply due to the lack of more viable alternatives in an ever-growing desperate situation. Battles undertook armed reconnaissance/patrols and strike where possible and additional threats remained ground-based anti-aircraft fire leading to increasing losses. The Germans, through their quick Blitzkrieg approach, forced Allied warplanners to catch up on the ever-evolving situation along varied fronts. In one mission on May of 1940, dozens of Battles were lost to Axis fighters which further reduced the type's value in combat. With the fall of France and vital resupply ports along the Channel, the aircraft joined other military equipment that had survived the onslaught back on English soil.

Despite the relocation and their disastrous outings, Battles continued in service throughout what remained of 1940. Targets became Axis positions across the Channel for which Battles were originally designed for. However, results were no better and the line was removed from frontline service by the end of the year. Remaining stocks were then used in the aerial gunnery training role and as target tugs.

Battles were officially retired from all service in 1949, well after the war had ended in 1945. Despite their production total reaching 2,185 (manufactured from the period spanning 1937 to 1940), only five remain today as protected museum showpieces (2014). Beyond their service with the RAF, the aircraft also stocked the inventories of Australia, Belgium, Canada, British India, Ireland (sole target tug example), Greece, Free Polish Forces, South Africa and Turkey. Manufacturers including Fairey itself, Avions Fairey (Goselies, Belgium) and the Austin Motor Company

Some twenty-six RAF squadrons made use of the Battle. Additional service was seen through the Fleet Air Arm (FAA).


Earlier RN Armoured Carriers

3) Issue spec S24/37 dir a monoplane carrier TB/DB/R as OTL
but stress the bonus for "less strategic material" (as in other requirements of this date)
so that the Supermarine Type 322 design looks good
(especially as Fairey is busy with the above)

4) However, since Supermarine are busy with the Spitfire (and iOTL a strategic bomber design)
transfer final tuning and production to another company.
I would suggest Westland since they are also experts in the sort of STOL devices in this design

(as a side effect less Lysanders for "Army cooperation" pre war )

Neither the early marks of my super-Fulmar nor the Dumbo quite would have the range you have asked for
(probably

750 nm) but compared to OTL 1940 .

Cryhavoc101

OK .. IMHO it's easy to get quite close in 4 simple steps

1) skip the Albacore - have Fairey build more Swordfish but to a slightly improved design
(Metal wings like the MkII + closed cockpit as was eventually in the Mk IV + . )

2) Go with the 2 seat monoplane that iOTL became the Fulmar
Stress to Fairey that they really, really need true divebombing capability with at least 1000 lb bomb

AIUI the Fulmar was supposed to have this but failed
Do not issue the "Firefly" requirement until they succeed

3) Issue spec S24/37 dir a monoplane carrier TB/DB/R as OTL
but stress the bonus for "less strategic material" (as in other requirements of this date)
so that the Supermarine Type 322 design looks good
(especially as Fairey is busy with the above)

4) However, since Supermarine are busy with the Spitfire (and iOTL a strategic bomber design)
transfer final tuning and production to another company.
I would suggest Westland since they are also experts in the sort of STOL devices in this design

(as a side effect less Lysanders for "Army cooperation" pre war )

Neither the early marks of my super-Fulmar nor the Dumbo quite would have the range you have asked for
(probably

750 nm) but compared to OTL 1940 .

'My Fulmar' has more of the Battle DNA retained than the OTL Fulmar did

Basically its a folding Wing 'Sea Battle' (which would be a better description which i will use from now on) capable of carrying the same weapon load or greater as the Swordfish - 1 × 1,670 lb (760 kg) torpedo or 1,500 lb (700 kg) mine under fuselage or 1,500 lb total of bombs under fuselage and wings + twice the range and twice the speed etc

Given it being a later variant of the Battle with the more powerful later RR Merlins of 1300 HP and intended to intercept snoopers, be a secondary fighter as well as be a Recon, bomber, dive bomber, Torpedo bomber - it is fitted with British version of the Oerlion FFS 20 mm Cannon - 2 in each wing

Basically by late 1940 British Fleet carries would be operating just 2 types of Aircraft.

Later variants improve performance and weapon load as the design matures and the Merlin gets more 'Chad Like'

I envisage it as being ready for service at around the same time of the OTL Fulmar (instead of the Fulmar and Applecore) and replaces the Skua and Swordfish in front line Squadrons.

Built by Fairey and Blackburn instead of the Albacore and Fulmar

I have an even crazier POD that puts a Land use variant of the Swordfish called the Fairey-Blackburn Claymore into service as a multi purpose Army cooperation aircraft capable of being a runabout, artillery spotter and dive bomber!

AlanJWhite

The OTL Battle has the kind of range you want and close to the carrying capacity (1500 lb externally) with a 1000hp engine and fixed prop.

If it were "navalised" as you suggest one issue would be weight, even with a better engine and prop.

Some might be lost (no internal bomb bay) but a LOT would be added (folding wing, stronger undercart etc)
and the ATA armament you suggest is not light either150kg vs

20
(a single FFS is about 28Kg plus mounting plus ammo cf a .303 browning at 10Kg see Tony Williams Analysis)

Size is another. The battle is 10-20% bigger in all dimensions than a Fulmar

Cryhavoc101

The OTL Battle has the kind of range you want and close to the carrying capacity (1500 lb externally) with a 1000hp engine and fixed prop.

If it were "navalised" as you suggest one issue would be weight, even with a better engine and prop.

Some might be lost (no internal bomb bay) but a LOT would be added (folding wing, stronger undercart etc)
and the ATA armament you suggest is not light either150kg vs

20
(a single FFS is about 28Kg plus mounting plus ammo cf a .303 browning at 10Kg see Tony Williams Analysis)

Size is another. The battle is 10-20% bigger in all dimensions than a Fulmar

Need to compare it to a Kate / Aichi and Devestator / Dauntless as it will be operating in the same time frame doing the same job

FFS is about 39 KGs - 60 round drum is about another 10 kgs so 4 guns = about 200 KGs (possibly lighter once its been worked on for a while by BSA and the like) about 160 kgs for the 8 Brownings and 350 rounds each - but given the intended prey - 3 and 4 engined snoopers a brace of 8 x mk 2 Brownings in .303 aint going to cut it

Sonofpegasus

AlanJWhite

Need to compare it to a Kate / Aichi and Devestator / Dauntless as it will be operating in the same time frame doing the same job

FFS is about 39 KGs - 60 round drum is about another 10 kgs so 4 guns = about 200 KGs (possibly lighter once its been worked on for a while by BSA and the like) about 160 kgs for the 8 Brownings and 350 rounds each - but given the intended prey - 3 and 4 engined snoopers a brace of 8 x mk 2 Brownings in .303 aint going to cut it

Agreed that 4xFFS with a decent ammo supply is better than the 8x .303 in a Fulmar

but you are proposing a (highly) modified Battle
- which iOTL only carried a single .303 so the weight penalty is very much higher.

In early WW2 carrier attack planes, whether TB or DB typically had 1 or 2 machine guns in the wings
(plus a similar defensive mount to the rear)
The Kate/VAL/TBD et al are all in this style so a Sea Battle Torpedo Bomber is possible
and with a stretch,
it might have Dive bombing capability too., given the similar Fairey entry P4/34 as a DB that was not adopted.
But 3 missions - even only as an anti snooper fighter ??

It was only in the later years that the Fighter bomber with heavy ATA cannons appeared
What you are specifying has better range and more flexible weapons load than even a Fairey Firefly from 1944.

I'm not sure that your 3 mission Sea Battle can be managed in 1938/9.

IMHO it would be much better to have a true Fleet defence fighter with 800nm range to escort whatever TB/DB we settle on.
which is another interesting topic . but for tomorrow . TTFN

Cryhavoc101

Agreed that 4xFFS with a decent ammo supply is better than the 8x .303 in a Fulmar

but you are proposing a (highly) modified Battle
- which iOTL only carried a single .303 so the weight penalty is very much higher.

In early WW2 carrier attack planes, whether TB or DB typically had 1 or 2 machine guns in the wings
(plus a similar defensive mount to the rear)
The Kate/VAL/TBD et al are all in this style so a Sea Battle Torpedo Bomber is possible
and with a stretch,
it might have Dive bombing capability too., given the similar Fairey entry P4/34 as a DB that was not adopted.
But 3 missions - even only as an anti snooper fighter ??

It was only in the later years that the Fighter bomber with heavy ATA cannons appeared
What you are specifying has better range and more flexible weapons load than even a Fairey Firefly from 1944.

I'm not sure that your 3 mission Sea Battle can be managed in 1938/9.

IMHO it would be much better to have a true Fleet defence fighter with 800nm range to escort whatever TB/DB we settle on.
which is another interesting topic . but for tomorrow . TTFN

The Dauntless which also had a secondary fighter function was also a scout - 3 jobs - Dive bomber, Scout and secondary fighter

Also the Skua which had a secondary fighter function with 4 x Browning Mk 2 .303s along side its dive bomber role

The Swordfish had TBD, Dive bomber and Scout

So as a follow on aircraft I don't see why not 4 jobs?

We known that such a plane would make for a poor fighter but we are wearing our 1939 hats and so we think differently and its not intended to hunt other fighter only snoopers and 3/4 engined bombers.

A Battle had a top speed of over 250 MPH with a 1000 HP engine - give it the Merlin XXX which the Fulmar had of 1300+ HP and we could see a 260 plus MPH Aircraft?

By mid 1941 we can see such planes sporting a 1400-1500 HP engine with improved props very likely not overly improving speed but certainly improving MTWA thus increasing range and payload (and equipment)

Later MK2 Fulmar had a brace of 4 x AN/M2 .50 cals with 170 or 350 rounds per gun (depending on source) so that is not far off our 4 x FFS with 60 or 90 round drums weight wise or who knows maybe an earlier start gets a 120 round belt?

Peg Leg Pom

Cryhavoc101

Peg Leg Pom

AlanJWhite

I agree with you that the RN is better trying for an air group of only 2 types in 1939
given the limited carrying capacity of even the enlarged Armoured carriers we have been proposing,


And IMHO those should be a TBR and a FB, as became standard for both the RN and USN later in the war.
Initially, there might be more TBR than FB but that would pretty soon reverse.

For myself, I'd love to see British carriers of 1940 loaded with early Model Douglas SkyRaider and Sea Fury
but that is not going to happen without engines with 2300 or more HP
(and a lot of improvements on the carriers e.g. catapults etc)

However, I do think a TBR with "Battle" level capability and a FB with "Hurribomber" level capability (but longer range)
should be possible in 1940.
(Just to be clear I'm not necessarily requiring the planes to be based o those particular airframes or even from the same manufacturers just with equivalent capabilities when flying from an Armoured carrier)

IMHO the TBR should have some self-defence capability beyond a rear-facing machine gun or guns
but carrying nothing like the firepower to be considered a "secondary fighter"
(because of speed and weight considerations).

That's similar to OTL. The Dauntless had only 2x.50 machine guns (which was better than the Kate or Val)
but Japanese/Italian fighters with similar gun power are all regarded as "under armed".
Even dedicated fighters with 4 guns are not enough by 1940 or 1941.

The process would need to start around 1936 when many relevant Specifications were written by the Air Ministry.
Probably too many in OTL but if the mindset is clearer as above who knows

Sonofpegasus

Cryhavoc101

Well its not going to be going to be capable of mixing it up with then modern single seat fighters

That would be a job for the chosen carrier fighter interceptor of the day

No its job like that of the Skua and Dauntless would have been to 'be able' to act as a secondary fighter for CAP operations to either engage snoopers or bombers in addition to its normal day job.

That requires a heavier armament than a single fwd firing .303

I don't expect for a moment that it would be as nearly effective as a dedicated fighter and more than the Skua an Dauntless were (coughthelikesofStanleyWinfield"Swede"Vejtasanotwithstandingcough)

AlanJWhite

No disrespect to those that served but Claimed and credited are the operative words

the British "claimed" 175+ kills for 15 September 1940 when German Records show only 60 kills (plus damages of course)

Over claiming is rife in any air combat of Ww2 . even in a single "furball" .. even with a single attacker -

"Everyone knows" Butch O'Hare shot down five Betties when protecting Lady Lex from nine attackers.
except that O'Hare himself claimed six plus a damaged on the day.
The Captain of the Lex had to credit Butch with only five because he himself saw four Betties escaping.
The fact that Jimmy Thach arriving on the scene moments after the fight only saw three falling was ignored.

(BTW post-war access to Japanese records show only three losses and three damaged that managed RTB)

And nobody cared to correct those mistakes .. not then or now.
In some ways, quite rightly too.
BoB day was a significant event whatever the exact loss ratio and O'Hare's effort beyond praise

Except that Military Command requires self-honesty if errors are to be corrected and better decisions made next time.

In 1940, Keith Park was reported spitting mad that the overclaims were being treated as true
because they warped any attempt to improve RAF tactics and organisation.
His reports were NOT well received in the Air Ministry or in Downing Street
(In fact, I believe that this attitude was part of the reason he lost his job soon after)

IMHO Historians .. even rank amateurs like us - have a similar duty.
We need to avoid the "Liberty Valance" trap and not "print the legend"
or perhaps more appropriately "print the legend AND the truth as far as we can find it AND determine why they differ"

Apologies for the rant . but I feel better now

Triune Kingdom

Well, I really did not give too much attention to what exactly they would be flying off the Armoured Carriers.

To keep it simple, I would have gone for what they used IOTL, though with requirements for aircraft coming in earlier then IOTL, if at all possible. We should also take into account their prewar belief that for overwater navigation you need a dedicated navigator, so that generally means that every aircraft, aside from short range defense fighter, will have to have at least 2 man crew. That is something a different type of carrier is very much unlikely to change, and in fact having a 2 seat fighter, to perform both Fleet Defense and Recconaisance duties would likely be seen as an advantage, reducing the number of types carried aboard.

So, I was thinking that at the start of the war, the RN carriers ( at least on the newer, AFDs) would be carrying two AC types, Fighter-Recon Fairey Fulmar and Fairey Albacore as a Torpedo-Bomber-Recon, by the time war starts. It may seem rather underwhelming, TBH, but both of these aircraft would be adequate for the tasks required of them, and with some updates would continue to be competitive for longer.

Say what you will about Fairey Fulmar, which is a very much underappreciated aircraft, but at the very least it was designed as a naval aircraft from the start, and what it lacked in performance, it made up in actual use aboard the CVs, something which Sea Hurricanes and Seafires had problems with. Reasoning behind the design was questionable at best, but the basic design was sound enough, you could stow them in existing hangars and using existing lifts (unlike Sea Hurricanes and non-folding Seafires), they were much less challenging to land for an average pilot (unlike Seafire), not to mention they were, for all their faults, the top scoring AC of the FAA. Now, my outline for TTL Fairey Fulmar is rather rough, and I have no idea is this workable or not, but basically, it enters service in late '37, early '38, as the newest CVs are being finished, and its Mk.I variant is fitted with 8x.303 MGs and Merlin VIII (if in existance). MK.II would see instalation of a more powerful (then IOTL) Merlin Variant, perhaps using higher octane fuel, lightening of the aircraft (if at all possible) and possibly fitting of a more powerful armament, some variant of .50cal, either Browning or Vickers, and it would make an appearance in 1939/40 period. Mk.III is likely the last gasp of the Fulmar, and most I can think of is to again increase engine power, and perhaps end up with NF variant, '41/'42 timeframe?

Llewwyy

I agree with you that the RN is better trying for an air group of only 2 types in 1939
given the limited carrying capacity of even the enlarged Armoured carriers we have been proposing,


And IMHO those should be a TBR and a FB, as became standard for both the RN and USN later in the war.
Initially, there might be more TBR than FB but that would pretty soon reverse.

For myself, I'd love to see British carriers of 1940 loaded with early Model Douglas SkyRaider and Sea Fury
but that is not going to happen without engines with 2300 or more HP
(and a lot of improvements on the carriers e.g. catapults etc)

However, I do think a TBR with "Battle" level capability and a FB with "Hurribomber" level capability (but longer range)
should be possible in 1940.
(Just to be clear I'm not necessarily requiring the planes to be based o those particular airframes or even from the same manufacturers just with equivalent capabilities when flying from an Armoured carrier)

IMHO the TBR should have some self-defence capability beyond a rear-facing machine gun or guns
but carrying nothing like the firepower to be considered a "secondary fighter"
(because of speed and weight considerations).

That's similar to OTL. The Dauntless had only 2x.50 machine guns (which was better than the Kate or Val)
but Japanese/Italian fighters with similar gun power are all regarded as "under armed".
Even dedicated fighters with 4 guns are not enough by 1940 or 1941.

The process would need to start around 1936 when many relevant Specifications were written by the Air Ministry.
Probably too many in OTL but if the mindset is clearer as above who knows

I agree with you that the RN is better trying for an air group of only 2 types in 1939
given the limited carrying capacity of even the enlarged Armoured carriers we have been proposing,


And IMHO those should be a TBR and a FB, as became standard for both the RN and USN later in the war.
Initially, there might be more TBR than FB but that would pretty soon reverse.

For myself, I'd love to see British carriers of 1940 loaded with early Model Douglas SkyRaider and Sea Fury
but that is not going to happen without engines with 2300 or more HP
(and a lot of improvements on the carriers e.g. catapults etc)

However, I do think a TBR with "Battle" level capability and a FB with "Hurribomber" level capability (but longer range)
should be possible in 1940.
(Just to be clear I'm not necessarily requiring the planes to be based o those particular airframes or even from the same manufacturers just with equivalent capabilities when flying from an Armoured carrier)

IMHO the TBR should have some self-defence capability beyond a rear-facing machine gun or guns
but carrying nothing like the firepower to be considered a "secondary fighter"
(because of speed and weight considerations).

That's similar to OTL. The Dauntless had only 2x.50 machine guns (which was better than the Kate or Val)
but Japanese/Italian fighters with similar gun power are all regarded as "under armed".
Even dedicated fighters with 4 guns are not enough by 1940 or 1941.

The process would need to start around 1936 when many relevant Specifications were written by the Air Ministry.
Probably too many in OTL but if the mindset is clearer as above who knows

Peg Leg Pom

ArtosStark

Well, I really did not give too much attention to what exactly they would be flying off the Armoured Carriers.

To keep it simple, I would have gone for what they used IOTL, though with requirements for aircraft coming in earlier then IOTL, if at all possible. We should also take into account their prewar belief that for overwater navigation you need a dedicated navigator, so that generally means that every aircraft, aside from short range defense fighter, will have to have at least 2 man crew. That is something a different type of carrier is very much unlikely to change, and in fact having a 2 seat fighter, to perform both Fleet Defense and Recconaisance duties would likely be seen as an advantage, reducing the number of types carried aboard.

So, I was thinking that at the start of the war, the RN carriers ( at least on the newer, AFDs) would be carrying two AC types, Fighter-Recon Fairey Fulmar and Fairey Albacore as a Torpedo-Bomber-Recon, by the time war starts. It may seem rather underwhelming, TBH, but both of these aircraft would be adequate for the tasks required of them, and with some updates would continue to be competitive for longer.

Say what you will about Fairey Fulmar, which is a very much underappreciated aircraft, but at the very least it was designed as a naval aircraft from the start, and what it lacked in performance, it made up in actual use aboard the CVs, something which Sea Hurricanes and Seafires had problems with. Reasoning behind the design was questionable at best, but the basic design was sound enough, you could stow them in existing hangars and using existing lifts (unlike Sea Hurricanes and non-folding Seafires), they were much less challenging to land for an average pilot (unlike Seafire), not to mention they were, for all their faults, the top scoring AC of the FAA. Now, my outline for TTL Fairey Fulmar is rather rough, and I have no idea is this workable or not, but basically, it enters service in late '37, early '38, as the newest CVs are being finished, and its Mk.I variant is fitted with 8x.303 MGs and Merlin VIII (if in existance). MK.II would see instalation of a more powerful (then IOTL) Merlin Variant, perhaps using higher octane fuel, lightening of the aircraft (if at all possible) and possibly fitting of a more powerful armament, some variant of .50cal, either Browning or Vickers, and it would make an appearance in 1939/40 period. Mk.III is likely the last gasp of the Fulmar, and most I can think of is to again increase engine power, and perhaps end up with NF variant, '41/'42 timeframe?

Couple things on the Fulmar. The design was adapted from a light bomber design which was meant to replace the Battle. P4/34, I believe. If that spec had been for a long range fighter/observer rather than a light bomber, presumably you could have got the Fulmar sooner. Possibly higher preforming too. Speeding up the RR Griffon could also help it out. It likely still won’t be a high performance aircraft though, as it wasn’t meant to be. As naval aircraft were not supposed to tangle with land based fighters heavy armament and long range were considered more important than speed or maneuverability. To change this you would need to change doctrine and I am guessing you would not build it from the Battle. That said, if you have aircraft carriers that can take 84 aircraft, maybe you could have a flight or a squadron of Better Fulmars and a couple Squadrons of a more high performance fighter.