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Fairey Albacore


Naval Torpedo Bomber Biplane Aircraft


United Kingdom | 1940



"Intended to succeed the famous Fairey Swordfish biplane torpedo bomber, the Fairey Albacore failed in this respect but managed a fairly useful service life during World War 2 nonetheless."



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 05/15/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
As effective and well-liked as the Fairey Swordfish torpedo bomber was for the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm (FAA), its origins lay in 1930s thinking for the design retained a biplane wing arrangement, open-air cockpits for its three crew, and a fixed wheeled undercarriage. Its prototype first flew in 1934 and service introduction was in 1936 after which followed a healthy production run of 2,391 aircraft. To satisfy Air Ministry Specification S.41/36, Fairey Aviation moved on offering the FAA a more modern form of the Swordfish which became the Fairey "Albacore". It was a sound enough aircraft but never managed the popularity or production levels of the Swordfish as only 800 (798) were built before the line was retired - ahead of the Swordfish no less.

The Albacore was affectionately known as the "Applecore" by her crews.

A Bristol Taurus engine was selected to offer more power than the Bristol Pegasus featured in the Swordfish. One of the key physical changes to the design was a wholly-enclosed cockpit for the crew which benefited the design on two fronts - aerodynamic efficiency and crew operating conditions. A biplane wing arrangement was retained as was a fixed wheeled undercarriage, though the main legs were faired over rather nicely for additional aerodynamic gains. The aircraft would operate through a crew of three as standard and carry up to 2,000 pounds of ordnance in the way of conventional drop bombs or - more importantly - a single torpedo weighing 1,670 pounds.

The Bristol Taurus II model was a 14-cylinder radial piston engine outputting at 1,065 horsepower. Coupled with the revised airframe, maximum speed was 160 miles per hour with a cruising speed near 140 miles per hour. Range was out to 930 miles and service ceiling reached 20,700 feet. The aircraft could reach 6,000 feet in about eight minutes. Comparatively, the Swordfish managed a speed up to 143 miles per hour with a torpedo load and ranged out to 522 miles. Service ceiling was 16,500 feet and rate-of-climb 870 feet per minute.

Standard armament on the Albacore was 1 x 7.7mm machine gun in a fixed, forward-firing mounting in the starboard wing element. 1 or 2 x 7.7mm Vickers K machine guns could be set in the rear cockpit to protect the aircraft's more vulnerable rear quarters from intercepting enemy fighters. The rear armament was optional and not featured in some active Albacores.

First flight for an Albacore prototype came on December 12th, 1938 - less than a year from the British declaration of war on Germany (this still to come in September of 1939). A second prototype followed but this had its wheeled undercarriage replaced with floats for the floatplane torpedo bomber role. In the end, the wheeled version won out and the design formally entered service with the FAA during 1940.

The Albacore's baptism of fire came on a sortie against Boulogne in September of 1940. In March of 1941, Albacores were used effectively in heavily damaging the Italian warship Vittorio Veneto and were later pressed into service over-land as light bombers against Axis targets in North Africa. Its performance limited these particular endeavors to night actions to help lessen the risk of interception by enemy fighters. Beyond involvement in setting the stage for the 2nd Battle of Alamein (October-November 1942), the Albacore was featured from British carrier decks throughout the Mediterranean (including the Sicily/Italian landings), in the Arctic, over Atlantic waters, and off the Indian coast - essentially wherever British carriers were needed the Albacore was fielded in force. During the June 1944 Allied invasion of Normandy along the French northern coast, Albacores played a supporting role under the flag of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). In fact, final actions involving Albacores were by the Canadians as the British retired their stock during 1944.

In the end, the Albacore made up the primary aircraft of no fewer than forty-five FAA squadrons. The Royal Air Force (RAF) also featured it in two of its own squadrons (Nos. 36 and 119) and the Canadians managed the Albacore through just one squadron during the war, this being No. 415.

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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 Albacore Mk.I Naval Torpedo Bomber Biplane Aircraft.
1 x Bristol Taurus II 14-cylinder radial piston engine developing 1,065 horsepower.
Propulsion
162 mph
260 kph | 140 kts
Max Speed
20,702 ft
6,310 m | 4 miles
Service Ceiling
932 miles
1,500 km | 810 nm
Operational Range
750 ft/min
229 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 Albacore Mk.I Naval Torpedo Bomber Biplane Aircraft.
3
(MANNED)
Crew
39.8 ft
12.14 m
O/A Length
50.0 ft
(15.25 m)
O/A Width
15.2 ft
(4.62 m)
O/A Height
7,275 lb
(3,300 kg)
Empty Weight
12,632 lb
(5,730 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 Albacore Naval Torpedo Bomber Biplane Aircraft .
STANDARD:
1 x 7.7mm machine gun in starboard wing (fixed, forward-firing).
1 OR 2 x 7.7mm Vickers K heavy machine in trainable mounting at rear cockpit.

OPTIONAL:
Up to 2,000lb of conventional drop stores OR 1 x 1,670lb torpedo.
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the Fairey Albacore family line.
Albacore - Base Series Name
Albacore Mk.I - Primary production model; 798 examples completed.
Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Fairey Albacore. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 798 Units

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

[ Canada; United Kingdom ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 200mph
Lo: 100mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (162mph).

Graph Average of 150 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
798
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 Albacore
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.
GROUND ATTACK
MARITIME / NAVY
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 Albacore Naval Torpedo Bomber Biplane Aircraft appears in the following collections:
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