Edit Work on the B Firebrand proceeded slowly. An unarmed prototype first flew on 27 February ,  the armed Firebrand F Mk. I second prototype flying on 15 July of that year. A new engine was needed, along with airframe improvements to handle it; along with these modifications it was deemed appropriate to convert the Firebrand into a strike fighter capable of carrying torpedoes , bombs , and rockets as well as engaging in air to air combat. Only nine production F Mk.
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The Blackburn Firebrand was a carried-based strike fighter aircraft developed by Blackburn Aircraft of the United Kingdom. She was a design of G. Petty and went on to live a troubled development before reaching operation status thanks to an engine switch that effectively doomed the Firebrand to mediocrity. Despite the aircraft appearing during the middle years of World War 2 and achieving first flight by February 27th, , the Blackburn Firebrand - in its definitive production form - simply arrived too late in the conflict to ever see combat.
The selected powerplant for the new fighter was to be the impressive Napier Sabre III, a cylinder H-type inline engine. Blackburn responded with its Firebrand proposal and developed the unarmed B prototype. This was followed by the armed F. Mk I prototype that produced 9 working examples. At the same time that the Firebrand was being developed, the Hawker Typhoon was ready to hit the assembly lines and effectively "stole" the available Napier Sabre III engines. As such, Blackburn was forced to re-engine their design and settle on the Bristol Centaurus VII cylinder radial piston powerplant.
This redesign also forced a rethinking in the intended roles of the Firebrand. Along with its fighter duties, the Firebrand was now envisioned to double as a strike platform capable of delivering bombs, rockets and even a torpedo ala the Hawker Typhoon.
The new design was fitted with lengthened wings and appropriate munitions provisions in the form of pylons. The resulting product became the B model - achieving first flight on March 31st, - and entered production as the TF. Mk II. Like the F. Mk I model before it, the TF. Mk II was limited to just 12 production examples.
Mk III model. This "improved" design revealed flaws in low-speed flight thanks to poor rudder control and a tremendous amount of torque output from the new engine. A first flight was achieved on December 21st, and further testing resulted in the deaths of two test pilots along with months of re-evaluation before the Firebrand was even successfully test-landed on a carrier deck. Despite the successful landing, the aircraft was deemed too dangerous for use as a production aircraft.
As such, this particular Firebrand model was dropped from production contention. Model B became the true improved Firebrand as the TF. Mk IV model, first flying on May 17th, Mk IV as well as a revised tail with increased surface areas. Dive brakes were installed on both the upper and lower wing assemblies for improved control. The TF. Mk IV became the first quantitative and somewhat definitive Firebrand in production with examples produced.
At least 40 of these aircraft were later converted to the newer TF. Mk 5 standard. Externally, design of the Firebrand showcased some similarities to the Hawker Tempest with its slim and streamlined fuselage and large propeller spinner.
The cockpit was situated at the middle of the fuselage and featured a two-piece bubble-style canopy affording the pilot with relatively excellent all-around vision. Wings were low-mounted monoplane systems with dihedral and positioned fairly forward along the fuselage sides. The empennage was dominated by a large vertical tail fin with horizontal planes positioned well behind the vertical tail unit.
The undercarriage was of a conventional "tail-dragger" arrangement featuring two main landing gears and a single tail wheel. All three systems were fully retractable.
As with most of the British fighters of the time, cannon armament was the standard firepower for the Firebrand. This consisted of 4 x 20mm Hispano Mk II series cannons mounted in pairs on each wing. For a more direct increase to its lethality, the Firebrand could sport a single 1,lb 18" Mark XVII series torpedo running centerline under the fuselage or 2 x 1,lb bombs under the wings - one to a wing pylon.
The definitive TF. Mk IV Firebrand sported the Bristol Centaurus IX series, cylinder, air-cooled, radial piston engine with a listed output of 2, horsepower powering a four-bladed propeller system. Performance specifications included a top speed of miles per hour with a listed cruise speed of miles per hour. Range was equivalent to 1, miles when fitted with drop tanks. A rate-of-climb of 2, feet-per-minute was possible with a service ceiling of approximately 28, feet. Mk 5 followed the TF.
Mk IV into service with subtle aerodynamic related revisions. Production only lasted through 68 examples. The improved TF. Mk 5A finished up the Firebrand line to which total production amounted to examples, lasting from through The FAA squadrons utilizing the type were the , , , , , , , , , , , and the Naval Air Squadrons. The Blackburn Firebrand was officially operated by the British Royal Navy from through before facing retirement from operational status.
Interesting facts about the Blackburn Firebrand by 22nd December , pm Views Share Tweet Pinterest Google The aircraft for today is the Blackburn Firebrand that made was designed to serve the British Royal navy as their single-engine aircraft for strike missions. The initial plan for the Blackburn Firebrand was to be designed purely as a fighter but following its unimpressive performance and coupled with replacement of the Napier Sabre piston engine compelled the air ministry to allocate this aircraft as a strike fighter. The development of the aircraft was really slow which made it a little too late for seeing considerable action during World War II. There could only be a few hundreds of these Blackburn Firebrands before the aircraft was returned back in
Design[ edit ] The Firebrand required significant effort by Blackburn to produce a useful aircraft and the first discussions on a redesign of the aircraft with a laminar-flow wing took place in September The extent of redesign increased and this led to a new fuselage and other improvements. Petty, started work on this development of the Firebrand which led to Specification S. It was a low-winged, single-seat, all-metal monoplane. Aft of the cockpit the fuselage was an oval-shaped stressed-skin semi-monocoque , but forward it had a circular-section, tubular-steel frame. The canopy was adapted from the Hawker Tempest fighter.
Interesting facts about the Blackburn Firebrand
Development[ edit ] In general, the Fleet Air Arm had required fighters that were capable of navigating long ranges over sea and speed differential over attackers was not critical. Defence of British naval bases was a RAF commitment but provision had not been made for this and so the Admiralty accepted that it would have to take on the duty. For this it needed an interceptor fighter and experience in the Norwegian Campaign of early had also shown a high-performance, carrier-based, single-seat fighter would be an advantage. Blackburn tendered their B design using the Napier Sabre cylinder H-type engine , and this was accepted by June with a proposal to order "off the drawing board" meaning without prototypes. Air Ministry Specification N. The radiators for the neatly cowled Sabre engine were housed in wing-root extensions. The large wing consisted of a two- spar centre section with manually folded outer panels with five degrees of dihedral to allow more compact storage in the hangar decks of aircraft carriers.