Blackburn B-54 / B-88

 

1st Flight 1949

The Blackburn B-54 and B-88 were prototype carrier-borne anti-submarine warfare aircraft of the immediate post-Second World War era developed for the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm.

They shared a conventional monoplane design with a mid-mounted inverted-gull wing and tricycle undercarriage.

The pilot and observer sat in tandem under a long canopy atop the fuselage.

The B-54 had a piston engine while the B-88 had a gas turbine driving large contra-rotating propellers.

The radar scanner was mounted in a retractable radome in the rear fuselage, behind a long internal weapons bay.

The program was cancelled in favour of the Fairey Gannet aircraft.

Variants

Blackburn B-54/YA.5 – intended to take Napier Naiad engine, converted to YA.7 before completion.

Blackburn B-54/YA.7 – YA.5 airframe with Rolls-Royce Griffon 56 engine, one prototype WB781, first flown 20 September 1949.

Blackburn B-54/YA.8 – Three-seat version with a Griffon 56 engine (later changed to Griffon 57), one prototype WB788 first flown 3 May 1950.

Blackburn B-88 YB.1 – YA.8 with Armstrong Siddeley Double-Mamba engine, one prototype WB797 first flown 19 July 1950.

Specifications

B-88

Crew: 3

Length: 42 ft 8 in (13.00 m)

Wingspan: 44 ft 2 in (13.46 m)

Height: 16 ft 9 in (5.11 m)

Gross weight: 13,091 lb (5,938 kg)

Powerplant: 1 × Armstrong Siddeley ASMD.1 Double Mamba coupled turboprop engine, 2,950 shp (2,200 kW)

Propellers: 8-bladed contra-rotating constant speed, fully-feathering propeller

Performance

Maximum speed: 320 mph (510 km/h, 280 kn)

Armament

bombs or depth charges in internal weapons bay.

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