Aviation of Word War II

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Firebrand

Shipborn Torpedo Fighter

Blackburn

Firebrand

The Fleet Air Arm RAF needed long-range fighters. Protecting British naval bases was the responsibility of the RAF, but funds were not foreseen for this, and therefore the Admiralty agreed that it would have to take on this responsibility. This required an interceptor fighter, and experience from the early 1940 Norwegian campaign also showed that air superiority requires a highly efficient single-seat fighter on the deck of an aircraft carrier.

Blackburn proposed its B-37 design using a 24-cylinder liquid-cooled Napier Saber H-type engine. Aviation Ministry specification N.11 / 40 indicated a minimum maximum speed of 350 knots (650 km / h; 400 mph), and an order was placed for three prototypes in January 1941.

The B-37 aircraft, on July 11, 1941, received the service name Firebrand (Aggressor), structurally was an all-metal low-wing aircraft. First flight on February 27, 1942. In the tail section of the cockpit, the fuselage was an oval semi-monocoque, in front with a steel tubular frame of circular cross-section, which housed the main fuel tank with a volume of 770 liters and 320 liters behind the engine. The radiators for the neatly bonded Saber engine were housed in the fender extensions. The large wing consisted of a center section with two spars and manually folded outer consoles (with five angles of inclination) to provide more compact storage in the hangar decks of aircraft carriers. To increase lift and reduce landing speed, large Fairey-Youngman flaps with hydraulic control were installed on the wing, which extended to the edges of the Frize ailerons. The fixed armament of four 20 mm (0.79 in) Hispano cannons was mounted on the wing with 200 rounds per barrel. The keel and rudder were positioned in front of the elevator to keep the elevator effective. The main landing gear was installed at the ends of the wing center section and retracted into the wing. The Firebrand was unusual in that an airspeed indicator was installed outside the cockpit, so that during landing, the pilot did not have to look down at the dashboard - the prototype of the modern display on the glass of the fighter's cockpit.

In Britain during the war there were not only modern carrier-based fighters, but also torpedo bombers. The main aircraft of this purpose, the Fairey Swordfish, like the Albacore that replaced it, were biplanes with a maximum speed of about 250 kilometers per hour, and the Barracuda, which had just begun to enter combat units, was more of a dive bomber. Trying to save Fairbrand, which had failed completely as a fighter and given its considerable payload, Blackburn offered to make a single-seat torpedo bomber out of it.

As a prototype for the new modification, they decided to use what was left of the second experienced Firebrand DD810, which crashed on February 20, 1943.

In general, the aircraft showed satisfactory characteristics, and the Firebrand was still at the level of the requirements of the mid-forties. The aircraft was even capable of aerobatics with a suspended torpedo, as demonstrated by Lt Cdr Ivers during the Heston air show on October 2, 1945. It remains only to regret that the Firebrand TF IV flew in 1945 and not in 1941.



Firebrand TF Mk IV
Crew 1
Dimensions
Length, m 11.81
Height, m 4.04
Wing span, m 15.63
Wing area, m² 35.6
Weight, kg
Empty 5,197
Gross weight, kg 7,575
Powerplant
1 × Bristol Centaurus IX 18-pistons radial, h.p. 1×2520
Performance
Maximum speed, km/h 550
Cruising speed, km/h 412
Service ceiling, m 5,335
Service range, km 1,199
Armament
4 × 20mm Hispano cannon, bombs, kg 2×910

Combat use. A total of 170 Firebrand TF IV aircraft were built, of which 124 were converted to TF V, but despite such an impressive number of vehicles produced, they practically did not get into combat units. The only exceptions were the fifteen Firebrands of 813 Squadron, which was formed on September 1, 1945 at RNAS Ford in Sussex. This unit in 1946-1947 conducted military tests of "new" aircraft, possibly even on board aircraft carriers, and also participated in various celebrations such as the aviation parade in honor of Victory Day over London on June 8, 1946.

The service of the "fours" turned out to be very short, and already in 1947, the only squadron flying them moved to the more advanced Firebrand TF V.

Photo Description
Drawing Firebrand TF Mk IV

Drawing Firebrand TF Mk IV

Firebrand TF Mk IV EK602

Firebrand TF Mk IV EK602

Bibliography

  • "Encyclopedia of military engineering" /Aerospace Publising/
  • "British warplanes of World War II" /under cor. Daniel March/