Skua file photo [11205]


CountryUnited Kingdom
ManufacturerBlackburn Aircraft Limited
Primary RoleDive Bomber
Maiden Flight9 February 1937


ww2dbaseThe Skua aircraft design was developed to meet British Air Ministry specification O.27/34 which sought after the first monoplane design for the Fleet Air Arm. The all-metal monoplanes entered service in Nov 1938. They served a dual role of dive bombers and fighters, although their performance was lacking in the latter role, given their top speed was nearly 100 kilometers per hour slower than their German contemporaries and they were bulkier than the typical fighters. Their heavy armament made them formidable dive bombers, however; they were each equipped with four fixed forward machine guns (fired by the pilot) and one flexible rear machine gun (fired by the gunner) in addition to a single 113-kilogram or 227-kilogram bomb under the fuselage and up to four 18-kilogram or eight 9-kilogram bombs under wings. After the European War began, three Skua aircraft of 803 Naval Air Squadron of HMS Ark Royal were collectively credited with the first confirmed British kill against Germany, which was a Do 18 flying boat, on 26 Sep. On 10 Apr 1940, Lieutenant Commander William Lucy led 16 Skua aircraft of 800 Naval Air Squadron and 803 Naval Air Squadron in an attack on the German cruiser Königsberg in Bergen harbor in Norway and sank the warship; this was the first victory by aircraft against a warship. On 13 Jun 1940, 15 Skua aircraft from the same two squadrons were dispatched to attack German battlecruiser Scharnhorst at Trondheim, Norway; 8 of them were shot down, including the aircraft of both squadron commanders. In May and Jun 1940, some of the aircraft that protected the air space above Dunkirk, France during the Allied evacuation were Skua aircraft. By 1941, it was clear that they were extremely vulnerable to modern fighters (particularly the German Bf 109 fighters), thus they were withdrawn from front line service. They remained in active service in the rear as target tugs and trainer aircraft. They were retired from service entirely in Mar 1945.

ww2dbaseDuring the design's production life, 192 units were built.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Oct 2010

Skua Timeline

9 Feb 1937 The first flight of the Blackburn Type B-24 Skua prototype aircraft was made at Brough, Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom. A Dive bomber it became the British Fleet Air Arm’s first monoplane.
26 Sep 1939 Three Skua aircraft of 803 Naval Air Squadron of HMS Ark Royal were collectively credited with the first confirmed British kill (a Do 18 flying boat) against Germany.


MachineryOne Bristol Perseus XII radial engine rated at 905hp
Armament4x7.7mm forward Browning machine guns, 1x7.7mm rear flexible Lewis or Vickers K machine gun, 1x113kg or 1x227kg bomb under fuselage, 4x18kg or 8x9kg bombs under wings
Span14.10 m
Length10.80 m
Height4.30 m
Wing Area29.00 m²
Weight, Empty2,490 kg
Weight, Loaded3,730 kg
Speed, Maximum360 km/h
Service Ceiling6,150 m
Range, Normal1,300 km


Prototype Skua Mk I aircraft in flight, 1937-1938British Skua aircraft approaching a carrier for landing, date unknownBritish Skua aircraft in flight, date unknown, photo 1 of 2British Skua aircraft in flight, date unknown, photo 2 of 2
See all 10 photographs of Skua Dive Bomber

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» Carrier Aircraft Specifications

Skua Dive Bomber Photo Gallery
Prototype Skua Mk I aircraft in flight, 1937-1938
See all 10 photographs of Skua Dive Bomber

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