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Sopwith Snipe Single-Seat Biplane Fighter Aircraft

 Updated: 11/9/2016; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Sopwith Snipe  
Picture of Sopwith Snipe Single-Seat Biplane Fighter Aircraft
Picture of Sopwith Snipe Single-Seat Biplane Fighter Aircraft Picture of Sopwith Snipe Single-Seat Biplane Fighter Aircraft

The Sopwith Snipe was an evolved form of the successful war-winning Sopwith Camel design - though not appearing until the final weeks of World War 1.

The Sopwith Snipe took all of the components that had made the Sopwith Camel a legend in the middle years of World War 1 and introduced several new features that made this new design the most formidable Allied fighter. Appearing with just eight weeks left in the conflict, the Sopwith Snipe would nevertheless prove its worth against the very best Fokker designs available. In the end, the Herbert Smith-designed Snipe would continue to serve the Royal Air Force (RAF) in large capacity, surviving well into the inter-war years.

Externally, the Snipe took on the basic design of the Camel with a traditional biplane wing structure, fixed landing gear and single pilot seating. Armament consisted of two 7.7mm synchronized machine guns firing in a fixed-forward position. Where the Snipe stood out above its predecessor was internally, featuring an all-new more powerful engine, integrated oxygen and heating systems allowing the aircraft to fly higher and with a better straight-line speed. Power for the Snipe was derived from a Bentley B.R.2 rotary piston engine, delivering some 230 horsepower.

The Sopwith Snipe would go on to become the Thomas Sopwith firms last production aircraft by conflicts end. Nearly 500 examples would be produced and would serve in some capacity up until 1927.

Sopwith 7F.1 Technical Specifications

Service Year: 1918
Type: Single-Seat Biplane Fighter Aircraft
National Origin: United Kingdom
Manufacturer(s): Sopwith Aviation Company - United Kingdom
Production Total: 497

Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

Operating Crew (Typical): 1
Overall Length: 19.75 feet (6.02 meters)
Overall Width: 30.09 feet (9.17 meters)
Overall Height: 8.76 feet (2.67 meters)

Weight (Empty): 1,323 lb (600 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 2,028 lb (920 kg)

Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

Propulsion: 1 x Bentley B.R.2 rotary piston engine developing 230 horsepower.

Maximum Speed: 121 mph (195 kph; 105 knots)
Maximum Range: 364 miles (585 km)
Service Ceiling: 19,521 feet (5,950 meters; 3.70 miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 1,300 feet-per-minute (396 m/min)

Armament / Mission Payload

2 x 7.7mm Vickers fixed, forward-firing machine guns synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.

4 x 25lb bombs underwing

Global Operators / Customers

Australia; Brazil; Canada; Soviet Union; United Kingdom

Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

Snipe - Base Series Designation

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