Fairey Swordfish II Bomber Plane
Fairey built the Swordfish to meet Air Ministry specification S.15/33 based on an existing private venture designed by Marcel Lobelle and HE Chaplin, it was a large single engine fabric covered biplane with folding wings, it made it's maiden flight on the 17th of April 1934 and entered service with the Fleet Air Arm in 1935. In service the Fairey Swordfish soon gained the nickname 'Stringbag', a reflection on the aircrafts ability to carry almost anything asked of it regardless of shape or size, they remained operational throughout WW2.
By the start of WW2 the type was considered virtually obsolete and several other aircraft were brought into service to try and replace it, however the Swordfish's flexibility and ruggedness combined with an almost unbelievable low speed carrier take off and landing capability resulted in the Swordfish still being in frontline service long after it's would-be replacements had been withdrawn!
The Fairey Swordfish remained in service for the whole of WW2, a total of 2,391 aircraft being produced by Fairey and Blackburn, few changes were made to the aircraft in this time, the most obvious changes being the adoption of non flammable metal skins on the lower wings to allow the use of under-wing rockets from the introduction of the 1943 Swordfish II, and eventually the addition of airborne type x radar in a dome between the main undercarriage struts on the Swordfish III. A small number of Swordfish IV's were produced for use in the cold Canadian waters, these were effectively Swordfish II's with their open cockpits glazed over to increase crew comfort and endurance.
|Fairey Swordfish Specifications: |
- Crew: Pilot, observer, and radio operator/rear gunner
- Length: 35 ft 8 in (10.87 m)
- Wingspan: 45 ft 6 in (13.87 m)
- Height: 12 ft 4 in (3.76 m)
- Empty weight: 4,195 lb (1,900 kg)
- Loaded weight: 7,720 lb (3,500 kg)
- Engine: Single (750 hp (560 kW) Bristol Pegasus IIIM
- Maximum speed: 138 mph (222 km/h) at 5,000 ft (1,500 m)
- Range: 546 mi (879 km)
- Ferry range: 1,025 mi (1,650 km)
- Service ceiling 19,250 ft (5,870 m)
Fairey Swordfish Mk2
|Fairey Swordfish Armament: |
- Single 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers machine gun mounted in the engine cowling
- Single 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Lewis or Vickers K machine gun in rear cockpit
- Eight 60 lb (27 kg) RP-3 under-wing rocket projectiles (Mk.II and later only)
- Single 1,670 lb (760 kg) torpedo or 1,500 lb (700 kg) mine
Famous Fairey Swordfish Operations
The most famous operations involving Fairey Swordfish in WW2 were the attack against Italian battleships and a cruiser during the Battle of Taranto in November 1940 and the crippling attack, by fifteen of Ark Royal's Swordfish, on the German battleship Bismarck in May 1941, the resulting ruder damage allowing the Royal Navy's Home Fleet, under the command of Fleet Admiral John Tovey, to catch up and sink it the following morning.
Fairey Swordfish Biplane
Fairey Swordfish Mk.II LS326
This Fairey Swordfish picture has been digitally re-mastered from a MOD picture, it therefore contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v2.0
A Flying Film Star!
Fairey Swordfish Mk.II LS326 still regularly flown by the "Royal Navy Historic Flight" based at the Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton. It is of note that LS326 featured in the 1960 movie film Sink the Bismarck!. Following the end of the films production the Fairey Swordfish was presented by it's owner, Westland Aircraft, to the Royal Navy as a Historic Navel Aircraft. LS326 is depicted in the colour pictures on this page in her original 1943 North Atlantic convoy colour scheme. The 1969 B/W picture shows her in her film star paint scheme.
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Fairey Swordfish II Bomber Plane Picture and Information