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Supermarine Type 322 ”Dumbo”

The Supermarine Type 322 was a prototype British carrier borne torpedo, dive bomber and reconnaissance aircraft of the Second World War.

A single engine monoplane, it was unsuccessful, with only two examples being built.

The Fairey Barracuda, built to the same specification, would fill this role.

The Type 322 was designed by Supermarine to meet a 1937 requirement (Specification S.24/37) for a replacement for the British Royal Navy’s Fairey Albacore biplane even though the Albacore was yet to fly, with orders placed both with Supermarine, and with Fairey Aviation for what became the Barracuda.

Supermarine’s design was a high wing monoplane, originally intended to be powered by the Rolls-Royce Exe engine.

Unusually it featured a variable incidence wing.

Variable incidence allowed the fuselage to be kept at the optimum angle for good visibility whilst maintaining lift, particularly useful for a carrier borne aircraft and with tailwheel undercarriage.

The incidence could be varied from 2 degrees when the flap setting was neutral, to 16 degrees when the flaps were lowered to 60 degrees.

The lift coefficient with the wing at this setting was 3.9, giving a stalling speed of 57 knots.

Since it was intended for carrier use, the wing also folded, a remarkable technical achievement in view of the small increase in structural weight involved.

The undercarriage was a fixed tailwheel type to save complexity.

It would have been very challenging to retract the landing gear into the wings.

It was primarily of wooden construction, in common with the Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle bomber since, when it was being built, there was a danger of light alloy being in short supply.

The Exe was cancelled in 1938, and the Rolls-Royce Merlin was substituted in the design.






40 ft (12 m)


50 ft (15 m)


14 ft 2 in (4.32 m)

Wing area

284 sq ft (26.4 m2)

Aspect ratio


Empty weight

9,175 lb (4,162 kg)

Gross weight

12,000 lb (5,443 kg)


1 × Rolls-Royce Merlin 30,

V-12 liquid-cooled piston engine,

1,300 hp (970 kW)


Maximum speed

279 mph (449 km/h, 242 kn) at 4,000 ft (1,200 m)

Cruise speed

250 mph (400 km/h, 220 kn) at 2,000 ft (610 m)

Stall speed

58 mph (93 km/h, 50 kn)


825 mi (1,328 km, 717 nmi)

Wing loading

42.2 lb/sq ft (206 kg/m2)


7.5 lb/hp (4.56 kg/kW)



1 × .303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine gun in wing,

1 × .303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers K machine gun


1 x Browning in rear cockpit


1 × 18 in (457 mm) torpedo (1,500 lb)


6 × 250 lb (113 kg) bombs.

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