Fulmar, British Carrier Fighter

Photograph of Fairey Fulmar

Wikipedia Commons

Fairey Fulmar II


Crew 2
Dimensions 46'5" by 40'3" by 10'8"
14.15m by 12.27m by 3.25m
Weight 7015-10,200 lbs
3182-4627 kg
Maximum speed       272 mph
438 km/h
Ceiling 27,200 feet
8290 meters
Power plant 1300 hp (969 kW) Rolls-Royce Merlin 30 vee-12 liquid-cooled engine driving a three bladed propeller
Armament Eight 0.303 or four 0.50 Browning fixed machine guns in outer wings.
External stores       Two 250 lb (113kg) bombs
Range 780 miles
1260 km
Production A total of 250 Mk I and 350 Mk II from 10/5/40 to 2/43.
Variants The Fulmar I was equipped with a 1080 hp (805 kW) Merlin VIII engine.

The Fulmar was Britain's most advanced carrier fighter at the start of the Pacific War. It was a very large aircraft, and in spite of having a second seat for a navigator there was no rear-firing gun. The Fulmar had good range and was surprisingly maneuverable for a two-seat fighter, and did well enough in the Mediterranean against the Italian and second-line German fighters it usually encountered. However, it was no match for a Zero. This, and the low aircraft capacity of British carriers, prevented Britain from participating in any significant carrier battles.

The design was based on a prewar light bomber, the P.4/34, and the prototype was cobbled together in 1938. The production design first flew in May 1940 and immediately went into production. The tropicalized Fulmar II began to be delivered in February 1943.

By 1945 the Fulmar had been replaced in front line service by the Seafire, and was relegated to night fighter and training duty. Its easy handling made it particularly suitable for practicing deck landings.


Gunston (1988)

Wilson (1998)

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