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Blackburn B-25 Roc

The Blackburn Roc (company designation B-25) was a naval fighter aircraft designed and produced by the British aviation company Blackburn Aircraft.

It took its name from the mythical bird of the tales of the Arabian Nights, the Roc.

It was operated by the Fleet Air Arm (FAA) and was active during the Second World War.

The Roc was designed to Air Ministry Specification O.30/35 and was derived from the Blackburn Skua dive-bomber/fighter and developed in parallel to it.

Unlike the Skua, the Roc had its armament in a turret.

A large proportion of the work was subcontracted to another aircraft manufacturer, Boulton Paul, which had also designed their own turret fighter, the Boulton Paul Defiant.

On 23 December 1938, the prototype Roc performed its maiden flight.

Testing soon revealed it to have a relatively low maximum speed of only 223 mph (194 kn; 359 km/h).

The float plane version of the Roc was even slower, leading to the cancellation of plans to equip float plane squadrons with the type.

Cancellation of the project was discussed but this move was dismissed largely due to the wider impact on aircraft production.

During April 1939, the conventional version of the Roc was brought into FAA service.

The type was present during the Allied campaign in Norway, as well as Operation Dynamo and Operation Aerial, the evacuations of Allied forces from Dunkirk and other French ports.

The Roc quickly came to be viewed as inferior to existing aircraft, such as the Skua and the type had only a limited career in front-line service.

The Roc’s sole confirmed aerial victory occurred on 28 May 1940, when a patrolling Roc of 806 Naval Air Squadron, flown by pilot Midshipman A. G. Day, shot down a Junkers Ju 88 bomber from below.

Towards the end of 1940, the Roc was largely relegated to air sea rescue and target-towing duties.

Only sporadic engagements occurred after this point, with no substantial accomplishments occurring.

The Roc was withdrawn during 1943.


136 Blackburn B-25 Roc aircraft built, all by Boulton Paul at Wolverhampton.

Small numbers operated in seaplane configuration.





35 ft 7 in (10.85 m)


46 ft 0 in (14.02 m)


12 ft 1 in (3.68 m)

Wing area

310 sq ft (29 m2)

Empty weight

6,121 lb (2,776 kg)

Gross weight

7,950 lb (3,606 kg)


1 × Bristol Perseus XII 9-cylinder air cooled sleeve valve radial piston engine,

890 hp (660 kW)


3 bladed variable pitch propeller


Maximum speed

194 kn (223 mph, 359 km/h) at 10,000 ft (3,000 m)

Cruise speed

117 kn (135 mph, 217 km/h)


700 nmi (810 mi, 1,300 km) with 70 imp gal (320 l; 84 US gal) long range tank

Service ceiling

18,000 ft (5,500 m)

Rate of climb

1,500 ft/min (7.6 m/s)



4 × 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns in power operated dorsal turret


8 × 30 lb (14 kg) bombs.



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