Blackburn Skua

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In 1934, the British Air Ministry launched the specification O-27/34, which defined the specifications for a dive bomber, with the ability to perform hunting missions.
The device was to be a monoplane of metal construction capable of operating from aircraft carriers for the Royal Navy.

Blackburn took the contract and introduced a two-seater tandem, single-engine monoplane with retractable gear. To meet the space constraints on board aircraft carriers, it was equipped with a folding wing.
Designated B-24 Skua, the unit was the first monoplane with retractable undercarriage of the Fleet Air Arm.

Two prototypes were ordered in 1935 and the first flight took place February 9, 1937.
These devices were equipped with Bristol Mercury engine XII, he was replaced by a Bristol Perseus XII on one hundred to ninety Series aircraft, designated Skua Mk-II.

If this new concept was an innovation for the Fleet Air Arm, the Blackburn Skua remained below that would become his main adversary, the Messerschmitt Bf-109, with a differential of 105 km / h between the two devices.
Even before he started his career, the Skua was no longer able to fulfill his chaser function effectively. This point weigh heavily on his involvement in the first months of World War II.

In what was his dive bomber function, the Skua was a powerful device for its time, with four 7.7 mm machine guns, a point of ventral carrying a bomb to 230 kg with a release fork which allowed to release the machine from the circle of the propeller during the dive. The offensive armament was supplemented by four under-wing hardpoints for bombs or eight 20kg 9kg.
The Blackburn Skua was also endowed with wide dive brake, which also served as flaps for landing.

The Blackburn Skua entered service at the end of 1938 in the 800 Squadron.
When the declaration of war, two squadrons, the 801 and 803, were fully staffed in Skua Mk-II. In total, until their withdrawal from service twenty-four other units of the Fleet Air Arm received Blackburn Skua.

Specifications : 

Length 10.85 m
Wing span 14,07 m
Wing area 28,98 m²
Height 3.81 m
Drive 1 × 9-cylinder star motor Bristol Perseus XII with 903 hp
Maximum speed 362 km / h at 1,980 m altitude
Range 1.223 km
Crew two men
Height Ceilling 6,160 m
Empty weight 2.490 kg
Loaded weight 3,732 kg
Armament with 5 × 7.7-mm machine guns, a 227-kg bomb

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