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Fairey Seafox


Navy Reconnaissance Floatplane Aircraft


United Kingdom | 1937



"The Fairey Seafox served the British Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm across sixty-six total examples."



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 01/21/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
Since 1917, Fairey Aviation Company delivered many-an-aircraft for British Royal Navy service and this relationship spanned from World War 1 (1914-1918) to World War 2 (1939-1945). In 1932, the Air Ministry delivered Specification S.11/32 calling for a floatplane aircraft to serve aboard Royal Navy light cruisers through the Fleet Air Arm (FAA). Fairey responded with what became the "Seafox" and two prototypes followed with the first arriving in 1936. First flight was recorded on May 27th, 1936.

The aircraft was designed around a seaplane configuration, its undercarriage consisting of twin floats for water landings while launching was accomplished by onboard catapults (recovery would be by way of shipboard crane). The Seafox was not intended as a fleet protector as much as reconnaissance platform, serving gunnery crews aboard the cruisers and increasing their ranged accuracy as a result. When pressed into war, British light cruisers would be charged with hunting down enemy participants and any long range vision from above was of particularly value.

The Seafox employed a biplane arrangement as well as a metal understructure which was reinforced for the rigors of catapult launching. Simple fabric covered the wings and tail surfaces to produce a light design and manufacture-friendly product. A strut network fixed the floats to the underside of the fuselage. The aircraft required a crew of two and seated the pilot in an open-air cockpit aft of the forward-mounted engine while the observer was shielded from the elements under a canopy aft of the pilot. The engine of choice became the Napier "Rapier" VI series 16-cylinderair-cooled piston model of 395 horsepower output and performance figures included a maximum speed of 125 miles per hour, a service ceiling up to 9,700 feet, and a range out to 440 miles. Armament was largely defensive (and optional) - a single 7.7mm Lewis machine gun being fitted for the rear observer. Some Seafoxes were later modified with underwing racks for carrying 4 x 20lb light bombs or marking flares.

The Seafox was introduced for service in April of 1937 and went on to stock the inventories of some eleven Fleet Air Arm squadrons. Beyond the two prototypes completed, total production netted 64 aircraft. None were exported though British Seafoxes served with Australian and New Zealand naval forces for a time. In practice, the type proved itself highly serviceable but were noted for such failings as underpowered engines (which also suffered from cooling issues) and tricky handling - however these limitations could be overlooked in a time of total war.

When Britain declared war on Germany, total Seafox strength numbered thirty-two and the line was immediately pressed into active operations against German naval targets. Seafoxes played a role in the hunt for the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee in the South Atlantic to which this enemy vessel was eventually chased by the British Navy into neutral Montevideo, Uruguay before being scuttled in December of 1939. Beyond that, Seafoxes served the FAA well in subsequent war years - providing much needed over-the-horizon eyes-in-the-skies. Some were present in the evacuation of Crete during 1941 and their type was in force up until about 1943 when more modern products were ultimately adopted by the FAA.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Fairey Seafox Navy Reconnaissance Floatplane Aircraft.
1 x Napier Rapier Vi piston engine developing 395 horsepower.
Propulsion
124 mph
200 kph | 108 kts
Max Speed
9,843 ft
3,000 m | 2 miles
Service Ceiling
441 miles
710 km | 383 nm
Operational Range
325 ft/min
99 m/min
Rate-of-Climb
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Structure
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Fairey Seafox Navy Reconnaissance Floatplane Aircraft.
2
(MANNED)
Crew
33.5 ft
10.20 m
O/A Length
40.0 ft
(12.20 m)
O/A Width
12.1 ft
(3.70 m)
O/A Height
3,814 lb
(1,730 kg)
Empty Weight
5,512 lb
(2,500 kg)
MTOW
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
RANGE
ALT
SPEED
Armament
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Fairey Seafox Navy Reconnaissance Floatplane Aircraft .
OPTIONAL:
1 x 7.7mm machine gun

NOTE:
Some aircraft modified with underwing racks for carrying 4 x 20lb conventional drop bombs or marking flares.
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the Fairey Seafox family line.
Seafox - Base Series Name
Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Fairey Seafox. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 66 Units

Contractor(s): Fairey Aviation - UK
National flag of the United Kingdom

[ United Kingdom ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 150mph
Lo: 75mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (124mph).

Graph Average of 113 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
66
36183
44000
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
MACH Regime (Sonic)
Sub
Trans
Super
Hyper
HiHyper
ReEntry
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
Aviation Timeline
EarlyYrs
WWI
Interwar
WWII
ColdWar
Postwar
Modern
Future
1 / 1
Image of the Fairey Seafox
Image from the Public Domain.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
MARITIME / NAVY
RECONNAISSANCE
Recognition
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Fairey Seafox Navy Reconnaissance Floatplane Aircraft appears in the following collections:
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