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Although it lacked speed and charictaristics of its land based opponents, the Fairey Fulmar was truely an excellent aircraft, however it is neglected by most simply because it seems to have played a very insignificant role in the Second World War. It was the first of several British twin seat Naval fighters, the reasons for the crew of two was that it was thought to be inadequate for a single pilot to guide his aircraft back to his carrier in foul weather. A Navigator was imperative, although no other nation of the globe ever seconded this layout. The Fulmar was first flown on Jan. 13, 1937.
Interestingly, the Fulmar used eight .303-calibre machine guns as armament, being the first RN fighter to use such powerful weaponry. The fighter was first introduced to wartime service in 1940 in the Mediterranean Sea against Italian aircraft that opposed the Malta-bound convoys. Fortunately, the very low speed of the Fulmar did not much matter in the Mediterranean, where its main enemies were Italian aircraft which usually had very poor performance themselves! In 1941, during the siege of Crete, a Fulmar became one of the very first aircraft to be catapulted from a merchant ship. However, after 1943, the Fulmar was replaced by the Fairey Firefly and many of the surplus aircraft were shipped to Russia, where they were used as convoy escorts.
Type: Two Seat Carrier based fighter/bomber
Engine: One Rolls Royce Merlin inline 12-cylinder 1300hp
Performance: Max Speed 266mph; climb to 5000 feet, 4.4 minutes
Armament: Eight .303-calibre machine guns with 550 rounds per gun
Weights: Normal Loaded 9,670lbs