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Martin-Baker MB-5

Only one built.

The British Martin-Baker MB 5 was the ultimate development of a series of prototype fighter aircraft built during the Second World War.

The MB 5 never entered production, despite what test pilots described as excellent performance.

Martin-Baker Aircraft began the MB 5 as the second Martin-Baker MB 3 prototype, designed to Air Ministry Specification F.18/39 for an agile, sturdy Royal Air Force fighter, able to fly faster than 400 mph.

After the first MB 3 crashed in 1942, killing Val Baker, the second prototype was delayed.

A modified MB 3 with a Rolls-Royce Griffon engine, rather than the Napier Sabre of the MB 3, was planned as the MB 4, but a full redesign was chosen instead.

The redesigned aircraft, designated MB 5, used wings similar to the MB 3, but had an entirely new steel-tube fuselage.

Power came from a Rolls-Royce Griffon 83 liquid-cooled V-12 engine, producing 2,340 hp (1,745 kW) and driving two three-bladed contra-rotating propellers. 

Armament was four 20 mm Hispano cannon, mounted in the wings outboard of the widely spaced retractable undercarriage.

A key feature of the design was ease of manufacture and maintenance: much of the structure was box-like, favouring straight lines and simple conformation. 

It was built under the same contract that covered the building of the MB 3.





37 ft 9 in (11.51 m)


35 ft (11 m)


12 ft 6 in (3.81 m) including propeller

Wing area

263 sq ft (24.4 m2)

Aspect ratio



RAF 34

Empty weight

9,233 lb (4,188 kg)

Gross weight

11,500 lb (5,216 kg)

Max take-off weight

12,090 lb (5,484 kg)

Fuel capacity

200 imp gal (240 US gal; 910 l) fuel;

14 imp gal (17 US gal; 64 l) oil


1 × Rolls-Royce Griffon 83,

V-12 liquid-cooled piston engine,

2,035 hp (1,517 kW)


6-bladed De Havilland constant-speed contra-rotating propeller


Maximum speed

460 mph (740 km/h, 400 kn) at 20,000 ft (6,100 m)


1,100 mi (1,800 km, 960 nmi)

Service ceiling

40,000 ft (12,000 m)

Rate of climb

3,800 ft/min (19.3 m/s)

Wing loading

45.9 lb/sq ft (224 kg/m2)


6.3 lb/hp (3.82 kg/kW)



4 × 20 mm Hispano Mk.II cannon



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