Barracuda file photo [3059]


CountryUnited Kingdom
ManufacturerFairey Aviation
Primary RoleDive Bomber
Maiden Flight7 December 1940


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.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Mar 2007

Barracuda Timeline

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.


MachineryOne Rolls-Royce Merlin 32 liquid-cooled V12 engine rated at 1,640hp
Armament2x7.7mm Vickers K machine guns, 735kg bomb/torpedo carrying capacity
Span14.99 m
Length12.12 m
Height4.60 m
Wing Area37.62 m²
Weight, Empty4,445 kg
Weight, Loaded5,715 kg
Weight, Maximum6,385 kg
Speed, Maximum340 km/h
Speed, Cruising315 km/h
Service Ceiling6,585 m
Range, Normal1,165 km


Barracuda in flight, carrying a 46cm torpedo, circa early 1941-1943Barracuda preparing for flight, date unknownArmourers loading a 1,600-lb bomb onto a Barracuda aircraft aboard HMS Formidable, 1940sCorsair fighters and Barracuda torpedo bombers aboard HMS Formidable, in the Atlantic Ocean off Norway, Jul 1944
See all 7 photographs of Barracuda Dive Bomber

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Rosie says:
24 Sep 2013 09:12:00 AM

Actually no, it wasnt a gas leak it was a pressurised fluid system with a directly plumbed full pressure pressure gauge which had the nasty habit of shearing its connector spraying the pilot, cockpit controls and anything within range with nasty flammable hydraulic fluid, which by all accounts smelt quite nice but killed several pilots.
2. Commenter identity confirmed Alan Chanter says:
9 Apr 2014 12:54:02 AM

The Barracuda was introduced into the Pacific theatre of war in April 1944 by No.810 and 847 Squadrons of the Fleet Air Arm embarked in HMS Illustrious. These are known to have supported US Navy dive bombers engaged in attacks on Japanese installations in Sumatra.
3. Anonymous says:
13 Apr 2015 02:54:39 AM

There's a typo in line seven, word six. Should read "powerful."
4. Commenter identity confirmed C. Peter Chen says:
14 Apr 2015 06:55:26 PM

Thank you, the typographical error has been corrected.
5. david hulkower says:
17 Mar 2016 08:32:46 PM

how many aircraft in a fleet arm squadron late war
6. S A Warner says:
28 Jun 2017 08:31:40 AM

Sub Lt A C Warner died on 1 1 1945 when barracuda crashed when on simulated carrier landing training.
Further info. appreciated.
7. ken jones says:
21 Jul 2017 06:12:19 AM

I am interested in any information about a Barracuda crashing at Ringway in the 40s killing a test pilot who worked for Fairey Aviation.
8. Anonymous says:
5 Jun 2019 08:08:45 PM

829 sqn 12 planes lee on solent 43
two planes crashed owl fearn one dec 43 the other jan 44
11 planes on victorious 3rd april 44
thats 13 planes

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Barracuda Dive Bomber Photo Gallery
Barracuda in flight, carrying a 46cm torpedo, circa early 1941-1943
See all 7 photographs of Barracuda Dive Bomber

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