Blackburn Firebrand

 

1st Flight 1942

The Blackburn Firebrand was a British single-engine strike fighter for the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy designed during World War II by Blackburn Aircraft.

Originally intended to serve as a pure fighter, its unimpressive performance and the allocation of its Napier Sabre piston engine by the Ministry of Aircraft Production for the Hawker Typhoon caused it to be redesigned as a strike fighter to take advantage of its load-carrying capability.

Development was slow and the first production aircraft was not delivered until after the end of the war.

Only a few hundred were built before it was withdrawn from front-line service in 1953.

Variants

Blackburn B-37 – Three prototypes ordered to meet Specification N.11/40, named Firebrand on 11 July 1941. Second prototype re-built as T.F. II prototype.

Firebrand F. I – Production variant of the Blackburn B.37 with an order for 50 aircraft to be built at Brough, most completed as T.F. II and T.F. III variants, first nine completed as F. Is.

Firebrand T.F. II – Improved variant, 12 built from original production branch.

Firebrand T.F. III – Blackburn B-45, a Centarus VII powered-variant, two prototypes to S.8/43 and 27 production aircraft for original production batch.

Firebrand T.F. IV – Blackburn B-46, improved variant with 2,520 bhp Centaurus IX or Centaurus 57, 250 ordered, but only 170 were completed, of which 124 were converted to T.F. 5 standard, some before delivery.

Six were modified and designated as T.F. IV(mod).

Firebrand T.F. 5 – Improved variant, 124 modified from T.F. IV, two conversions to T.F. 5A.

Firebrand T.F. 5A – One prototype modified from a T.F. 5 and six conversions from either T.F. IV or Vs.

Specifications

Crew: 1

Length: 38 ft 9 in (11.81 m)

Wingspan: 51 ft 3.5 in (15.634 m)

Height: 13 ft 3 in (4.04 m)

Wing area: 383 sq ft (35.6 m2)

Empty weight: 11,457 lb (5,197 kg)

Gross weight: 16,700 lb (7,575 kg)

Fuel capacity: 239 imp gal (1,090 l; 287 US gal)

Powerplant: 1 × Bristol Centaurus IX 18-cylinder radial engine, 2,520 hp (1,880 kW)

Propellers: 4-bladed Rotol, 13 ft 3 in (4.04 m) diameter

Performance

Maximum speed: 342 mph (550 km/h, 297 kn)

Cruise speed: 256 mph (412 km/h, 222 kn)

Range: 745 mi (1,199 km, 647 nmi)

Rate of climb: 2,600 ft/min (13 m/s)

Armament

Guns: 4 × 20 mm (0.79 in) Hispano auto cannon

Rockets: 16 × RP-3

Bombs: 1 × 1,850 lb (840 kg) torpedo or 2 × 2,000 lb (910 kg) bombs.

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