|Primary Role||Dive Bomber|
|Maiden Flight||7 December 1940|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseBarracuda attack aircraft were the first British aircraft of this type to be constructed entirely of metal, replacing the wood-and-canvas Albacore biplanes that the British Fleet Air Arm employed. They entered service on 10 Jan 1943 and were found with British fleets in both the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean by 1944, participating various missions such as attacking surface vessels and conducting anti-submarine patrols. Although they were originally designed as torpedo bombers, they were more effective as dive bombers due to the fact that the engine lacked the power to properly handle the weight of a torpedo during flight. Additionally, the powerful Youngman flaps doubled as excellent air brakes, the usage of which was an integral part of dives. Barracuda aircraft played a critical part in the disabling of battleship Tirpitz on 3 Apr 1944, which was accomplished by dive bombing. Pilots also enjoyed the excellent range of vision provided by the wide cockpit canopy, though some complaints were reported of the aircraft's slow rate of climb. Later on in the war, a problem was discovered where leaking hydraulic fluid was producing ether fumes into the cockpits and disabling the pilots. After some fatal crashes, the decision was made to equip Barracuda aircraft with oxygen masks and require their use.
ww2dbaseBarracuda aircraft were gradually replaced by US-built TBF Avenger aircraft during and after the war; the last few remained in service with the Fleet Air Arm until mid-1950s.
Last Major Revision: Mar 2007
|7 Dec 1940||The Fairey Barracuda dive bomber took its first flight.|
|10 Jan 1943||The Fairey Barracuda torpedo and dive bomber began its operational service with the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm with the delivery of twelve Barracuda II aircraft to the reformed No. 827 Squadron.|
|Machinery||One Rolls-Royce Merlin 32 liquid-cooled V12 engine rated at 1,640hp|
|Armament||2x7.7mm Vickers K machine guns, 735kg bomb/torpedo carrying capacity|
|Wing Area||37.62 m²|
|Weight, Empty||4,445 kg|
|Weight, Loaded||5,715 kg|
|Weight, Maximum||6,385 kg|
|Speed, Maximum||340 km/h|
|Speed, Cruising||315 km/h|
|Service Ceiling||6,585 m|
|Range, Normal||1,165 km|
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945
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