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Fairey Firefly Carrier-Borne Fighter (1943)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 5/1/2015
Picture of Fairey Firefly
Picture of Fairey Firefly
Picture of Fairey Firefly
Picture of Fairey Firefly

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The Fairey Firefly proved to be an underrated success in multiple theaters of operation concerning World War 2.

The Fairey Firefly was a hugely successful, two-seat, carrierborne fighter aircraft serving with the Royal Fleet Air Arm through the latter half of the Second World War, eventually seeing service up until the mid-1950's. The system was a powerful naval fighter capable of attacking aircraft and sea-going vessels alike and was found to be highly effective on any front it appeared on including the Pacific and European Theaters. The single engine, rounded-wing cantilever monoplane would see over 1,700 examples built before production ceased. Other features that navalized the series would include the all-important arrestor hook and folding wing systems.

The Firefly appeared in various forms throughout its tenure in the Second World War. The original prototype was flown in 1941, spawning the first production models know as the F.Mk I by 1943. The Firefly would be seen in a multitude of variants fulfilling roughly the same roles yet fitted with differing equipment and powerplants. Most distinctly, the Firefly would appear in a nightfighter form fitted with specialized radio and radar equipment.

At its core, the Firefly was fielded with the Rolls-Royce Griffon series of liquid-cooled piston engines. Capable of speeds in excess of 300 miles per hour, the system gained considerable press from its attack on the Tirpitz, one of Germany's great battleships of the war. The aircraft was fielded with a standard array of 4 x 20mm cannons mounted in the wings. Additional armaments would go on to include provisions for carrying up to eight 60lb explosive air-to-surface rockets and two 1,000lb bombs under each wing. Crew accommodations amounted to two with the pilot sitting forward and the additional crewmember midship aft.

Successes in Europe were followed by equal success in the Pacific against Japan by 1945. Targets included Japanese island fortifications en route to the Japanese mainland and then, later, the mainland itself. Additionally, the Firefly series of aircraft would go on to see more than its fair share of action in the upcoming Korean War. UK production of Fairey Fireflies would end in 1956.

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Specifications for the
Fairey Firefly
Carrier-Borne Fighter

Focus Model: Fairey Firefly F.Mk I
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Manufacturer: Fairey Aviation Company, Ltd - UK
Initial Year of Service: 1943
Production: 1,702

Crew: 2

Length: 37.60 ft (11.46 m)
Width: 44.49 ft (13.56 m)
Height: 13.58ft (4.14 m)
Weight (Empty): 9,751 lb (4,423 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 14,019 lb (6,359 kg)

Powerplant: 1 x Rolls-Royce Griffon IIB V-12 inline piston engine developing 1,735 horsepower.

Maximum Speed: 316 mph (509 kmh; 275 kts)
Maximum Range: 1,300 miles (2,092 km)
Service Ceiling: 27,999 ft (8,534 m; 5.3 miles)

Hardpoints: 2
Armament Suite:
4 x 20mm cannons in wings

8 x 60lb rockets
2 x 1,000 lb conventional drop bombs

Variants: [ SHOW / HIDE ]

Australia; United Kingdom