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Blackburn B.48 Firecrest

The Blackburn B.48 Firecrest, given the SBAC designation YA.1, was a single-engine naval strike fighter built by Blackburn Aircraft for service with the British Fleet Air Arm during the Second World War.

It was a development of the troubled Firebrand, designed to Air Ministry Specification S.28/43, for an improved aircraft more suited to carrier operations.

Three prototypes were ordered with the company designation of B-48 and the informal name of “Firecrest”, but only two of them actually flew.

The development of the aircraft was prolonged by significant design changes and slow deliveries of components, but the determination by the Ministry of Supply in 1946 that the airframe did not meet the requirements for a strike fighter doomed the aircraft.

Construction of two of the prototypes was continued to gain flight-test data and the third was allocated to strength testing.

The two flying aircraft were sold back to Blackburn in 1950 for disposal and the other aircraft survived until 1952.



One of two prototypes ordered on 1 January 1944 to Specification S.28/43.

The airframe was sold by the Controller of Supplies (Air) to Blackburn on 17 April 1950.


The second of two prototypes ordered on 1 January 1944, it was used for structural testing before being disposed of in 1952.


A third aircraft was ordered on 18 April 1945, and it was used for research into power-boosted ailerons during February 1948.

The airframe was sold to Blackburn on 17 October 1949.

Three further prototypes were ordered on 1 May 1945 against Specification S.10/45 and powered by Napier E.212 engine, but the order was cancelled, and the aircraft were not built.





39 ft 3.5 in (11.976 m)


44 ft 11.5 in (13.703 m)


18 ft (5.5 m) folded


14 ft 6 in (4.42 m)

Wing area

361.5 sq ft (33.58 m2)


Root NACA 43017 mod.

Tip of centre section NACA 66,2-(25)17.


NACA 64,2-(35)15

Empty weight

10,513 lb (4,769 kg)

Gross weight

15,280 lb (6,931 kg)

Max take-off weight

16,800 lb (7,620 kg)

Fuel capacity

236 imp gal (283 US gal; 1,070 l) total internal fuel in one fuselage and two wing tanks, with provision for 2× 45 imp gal (54 US gal; 200 l) drop tanks under the wings and/or 1× 10 imp gal (12 US gal; 45 l) drop tank on the centreline


1 × Bristol Centaurus 59 18-cylinder air-cooled sleeve-valve radial piston engine, 2,825 hp (2,107 kW) with Water/Methanol injection for take-off

2,580 hp (1,920 kW) at rated altitude of 4,000 ft (1,200 m) in MS supercharger gear

2,315 hp (1,726 kW) at rated altitude of 16,750 ft (5,110 m) in HS supercharger gear

Propellers: 5-bladed Rotol constant-speed propeller, 9 ft 0 in (2.74 m) diameter with cooling fan on spinner back-plate


Maximum speed

380 mph (610 km/h, 330 kn) at 19,000 ft (5,800 m)

Cruise speed

213 mph (343 km/h, 185 kn) at 15,000 ft (4,600 m)


900 mi (1,400 km, 780 nmi) at cruise

Service ceiling

30,350 ft (9,250 m) service ceiling

Rate of climb

2,100 ft/min (11 m/s) initial r.o.c.

Take-off runs

430 ft (130 m) in 25 kn (46 km/h; 29 mph) wind

Landing run

130 yd (120 m) in 5 mph (4.3 kn; 8.0 km/h) wind



Provision for 2 × 0.5 in (12.70 mm) M2 Browning machine guns under or in wing (not fitted to prototypes)


8 × RP-3 rocket projectiles on underwing rails


1 × 2,097 lb (951 kg) torpedo, 


2 × 250 lb (110 kg) bombs, one under each wing, in lieu of torpedo

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