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Blackburn Skua

The Blackburn B-24 Skua was a carrier-based low-wing, two-seater, single-radial engine aircraft by the British aviation company Blackburn Aircraft.

It was the first carrier-borne all-metal cantilever monoplane fighter, as well as the first dive bomber in Fleet Air Arm (FAA) service.

The aircraft took its name from the sea bird.

The Skua was designed during the mid-1930s to Specification O.27/34, it was a radical design for the era, combining the functions of a dive bomber and fighter.

Its enclosed cockpit and monoplane configuration were obvious shifts from preceding FAA aircraft such as the Hawker Nimrod and Hawker Osprey biplanes.

On 9 February 1937, the first prototype performed its maiden flight; it was ordered straight off the drawing board to accelerate its development.

In November 1938, the Skua was introduced to FAA service; 33 aircraft were operational by the outbreak of the Second World War.

During the early half of the conflict, the Skua was involved in the sinking of the German cruiser Königsberg, the first big warship sunk in war by air attack.

It was present during the Battles of Narvik, suffering many losses and during the Dunkirk evacuation.

While capable in aerial combat against older types and bombers, it was outclassed by modern fighters such as the Bf 109.

In 1941, the Skua was relegated from frontline operations but continued to be operated in secondary roles, typically training and target tug duties, as late as March 1945.


Skua Mk.I 

Powered by the Bristol Mercury, it had distinctive fairings to the engine cowling over the tappet valves of the Mercury.

The first prototype, K5178, had a much shorter nose while K5179, the second prototype, had a lengthened nose to improve longitudinal stability.

Skua Mk.II

Production aircraft powered by the sleeve valve Bristol Perseus.

Long nose as per K5179 but with a shorter, smooth cowling.

Two seat fighter and dive bomber for the Royal Navy





35 ft 7 in (10.85 m)


46 ft 2 in (14.07 m)


12 ft 6 in (3.81 m)

Wing area

319 sq ft (29.6 m2)



NACA 2416


NACA 2409

Empty weight

5,496 lb (2,493 kg)

Gross weight

8,228 lb (3,732 kg)


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

890 hp (660 kW)


3-bladed variable-pitch propeller


Maximum speed

225 mph (362 km/h, 196 kn) at 6,500 ft (1,981 m)

Cruise speed

187 mph (301 km/h, 162 kn)


760 mi (1,220 km, 660 nmi)

Service ceiling

20,200 ft (6,200 m)

Rate of climb

1,580 ft/min (8.0 m/s)



4 × 0.303 in (7.7 mm) forward firing Browning machine guns with 600 rounds per gun

1 × 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Lewis


Vickers K machine gun on flexible mount in rear cockpit


1 × 500 lb (230 kg) semi-armour piercing bomb under fuselage


8 × 30 lb (14 kg) practice bombs under wings.


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