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Blackburn Skua

// The Blackburn B-24 Skua was a carrier-based low-wing, two-seater, single-radial engine aircraft operated by the British Fleet Air Arm which combined the functions of a dive bomber and fighter.

Crew 2
Weight 2.490kg (empty)
3.730kg (full)
Length 10,8m
Height 4,3m
Wingspan 14,1m
Wing area 29m²
Engine 1 radial Bristol Perseus XII engine with 905hp
Speed 360km/h (maximum)
Range 1.304km
4 7,7mm Browing machine guns
1 Lewis or Vickers K machine gun on the rear cockpit
1 bomb of 227kg OR
1 bomb of 113 kg plus 4 bombs of 18 kg OR
8 bombs of 9 kg

Developed after an Air Ministry specification, the Blackburn Skua was a low-wing monoplane constructed of metal with enclosed cockpit and retractable landing gear. His performance as fighter aircraft was compromised by its weak engine, which resulted in a low speed. Reached 362km/h but when compared with other airplanes of the era, such as the Messerschmitt Bf 109 that reached 467km/h, it was a slow aircraft. Was developed in the 30s and was used in the first periods of the Second World War.
The skuas have the credit of the first confirmed death from an British aircraft: a bomber Dornier Do 18 was shot down over the North Sea on September 26, 1939 by three Skuas of the 803rd Naval Air Squadron that took off from the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal. During the invasion of Norway the German cruiser Königsberg was sunk by 16 Skuas commanded by William Lucy. This was the first large ship to be sunk by dive bombers but when Skuas of 800 and 803 squadrons were sent in an attempt to bomb the German battleship Scharnhorst on 13 July 1940, of the 15 aircraft sent, 8 were felled.
Despite doing well against bombers in Norway and in the Mediterranean, the Skua suffered heavy casualties when confronted by modern fighters and was withdrawn from frontline service in 1941. The aircraft was largely replaced by the Fairey Fulmar which had more weapons and was about 80km/h faster.

Blog of Bruno Ribeiro Oliveira.

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