Fairey Swordfish

Fairey Swordfish torpedo carrier biplane of the Royal Navy.
History, development, service, specifications, pictures and 3D model.

Fairey Swordfish Mk II

No combat aircraft of World War II left a greater legacy of willing work. These paint-flaking Swordfish Mk IIs, built by Blackburn, were on duty in 1944.

Fairey Swordfish
Type: Torpedo carrier of the Royal Navy.


One of the great combat aircraft of history, the well-loved Fairey Swordfish looked archaic even when new, yet outlasted the aircraft intended to replace it and served valiantly and successfully from countless carriers and rough airstrips from start to finish of WW2.

Designed to Specification S.38/34, it derived from an earlier prototype which got into an uncontrollable spin. Designated TSR.II the revised aircraft had a longer, spin-proof body, necessitating sweeping back the upper wing slightly. All-metal, with fabric covering, prewar Fairey Swordfish were often twin-float seaplanes, these usually serving in the three-seat spotter role. Most however, equipped the Fleet Air Arm’s 13 land plane torpedo squadrons and during World War II a further 13 were formed.

Stories of this amazingly willing aircraft are legion. One aircraft made twelve minelaying sorties in 24 hours. Another torpedoed an enemy ship in a round trip taking ten hours. A handful based in Malta sank an average of 50,000 tons of enemy vessels (most very heavily armed with flak) every month in 1941-1943.

The highlight of the Swordfish’s career was the attack on the Italian naval base of Taranto, on 10-11 November 1940, when two Swordfish were lost in exchange for the destruction or damaging of three battleships, a cruiser, two destroyers and other warships.

A torpedo of a Fairey Swordfish hit the stern and seriously damaged the steering gear of the battleship Bismarck in May, 1941. Both rudders were jammed, and she was sunken later by Battleships HMS King George V and HMS Rodney.

The Fairey Swordfish Mk II had metal-skinned lower wings for rocket­-firing, the Mk III had radar and the Mk IV an enclosed cockpit.
From 1940 all production and development was handled by Blackburn, which built 1,699 of the 2,391 delivered.

Users: Great Britain (Royal Navy).

Pictures Fairey Swordfish

Specifications Fairey Swordfish Mk II


Fairey Swordfish Mk II Specification
TypeTorpedo carrier
Power plantone 750 hp Bristol Pegasus IIIM3 nine-cylinder radial engine
Wing span45 ft 6 in
Length overall35 ft 8 in
Height overall12 ft 4 in
Weight empty 4,700 lb
Weight loaded 7,510 lb
Maximum speed138 mph
Initial climb 1,220 ft/min
Service ceiling 19,250 ft
Range 546 miles (with full ordnance)


Fairey Swordfish Mk II Specification
Fixed guns one 0.303in Vickers
Rear cockpit one manually aimed 0.303in Browning or Vickers K machine-gun
External load crutch for 18in torpedo (1,610 lb) or 1,500 lb mine or 1,500 lb bombs. Underwing racks for eight 60 lb rockets.

Service statistics:

Fairey Swordfish Mk II data
First flight (TSR.II)17 April 1934
Production delivery (Mk I)December 1935
Service delivery (Mk I)February 1936
Final delivery (Mk IV)June 1944
Total production figure Total: 2,391

Animated 3D model Fairey Swordfish

Call of War

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