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Barracuda, British Carrier Torpedo Bomber


Photograph of Fairey Barracuda

Wikipedia Commons

Specifications:

Fairey Barracuda II

Crew

2 or 3
Dimensions 49'2" by 40'3" by 15'1"
14.99m by 12.27m by 4.60m

Maximum speed      

228 mph at 1750 feet
367 km/h at 533m
Cruise speed 172 mph
277 km/h

Rate of climb

16 feet per second
4.9 m/s

Service ceiling

16,600 feet
5060 m

Powerplant

1 1640 hp (1223 kW) Merlin 32 driving a 4-blade Rotol airscrew.

Armament

2 0.303 Vickers K machine guns in the rear cockpit

External stores

One torpedo or 2000 lbs (900 kg) bombs, mines, or depth charges
Fuel 342 gallons
1295 liters

Range

1150 miles (1850 km) in reconnaissance role
686 miles (1104 km) with torpedo
Production 23 Mk.I
1635 Mk.II
912 Mk.III
30 Mk.V
Variants

The Mk.I had a less powerful Merlin 30 engine.

The Mk.III had ASV radar.

There was no Mk.IV and the Mk.V was not ready before the war ended.


The Fairey Barracuda was a carrier dive and torpedo bomber whose design dated from 1937. Its development was delayed by the failure of the Rolls-Royce Exe engine program and then by the priority given to the Fulmar. The prototype finally flew on 7 December 1940. The elevated tailplane was adopted to solve a problem with the turbulence from the dive brakes under the wings. The original Merlin 30 was replaced with a more powerful Merlin 32. Deliveries of production aircraft began in January 1943.

The aircraft was considerably more capable than the Albacore it replaced. The first British monoplane carrier torpedo bomber, it was rather maneuverable but badly underpowered. A force of 42 Barracudas scored 15 bomb hits on Tirpitz for the loss of two aircraft.


References

Gunston (1988)

Wilson (1998)


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