The first monoplane torpedo bomber of the Fleet Air Arm, the Fairey Barracuda was designed in Britain as a three seat torpedo/bomber/reconnaissance aircraft, which began entering service in late 1943.
When first flown on December 7, 1940, the first prototype Barracuda a cantilever shoulder-wing monoplane of all-metal construction, the foldable wings incorporating Fairey-Youngman trailing-edge flaps that gave the aircraft a much improved performance capability over its predecessors, the Fairey Swordfish and Albacore. The fuselage accompanied a crew of three in tandem cockpits, enclosed by a long `greenhouse` canopy; and housed the main units of the tail wheel landing gear when retracted.
The main production Barracuda Mark II, of which 1,688 were built, incorporated a more powerful Rolls Royce Merlin 32 engine. The Royal Navy’s 827 Squadron received the first operational Barracudas on 10 January 1943. The Barracudas were involved in the conspicuous action against the German battleship Tirpitz on 3 April 1944. A total of 852 Barracuda Mark III’s, equipped with ASV radar, were manufactured and flew anti-submarine patrols from small escort carriers in European operations, using rocket assisted take-off gear from the short decks.
Specifications, Barracuda Mark II:
Three seat, carrier based, torpedo and dive bomber
Engines: One 1640 hp Rolls Royce Merlin 32,12-cylinder V piston engine
Weight, takeoff (kg): 6,396
Wing Span (meter): 14.99
Length (meter): 12.12
Speed (km/h): 367
Ceiling (meter): 5,060
Range (km): 1,100
Armament: Two 7.7 mm (0.303) Browning machine guns in rear cockpit plus one 735 kg (1,620 lb) torpedo, or up to 726 kg (1,600 lb) of bombs, or six 113 kg (250 lb) depth charges, or 744 kg (1,640 lb) of mines.
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