Fairey Firefly F.1

The Fairey Firefly F.1 was a two-seat day fighter that entered Fleet Air Arm service early in 1944, and served as a long range fighter, reconnaissance and strike aircraft. Development of the Firefly began in 1939-40, and the first prototype made its maiden flight in December 1941. The following year was spent refining the design, and the first production aircraft made its maiden flight on 5 January 1943, but it was not considered to be ready for service. In June the thirteenth aircraft was briefly believed to be acceptable, but further rests revealed problems with the controls that were only solved after extended leading-edge elevators and metal skinned ailerons and elevators were installed. Only in October 1943 was Firefly Z1888 considered to be ready for service.

Fairey Firefly on HMS Indefatigable, January 1945
Fairey Firefly on
HMS Indefatigable,
January 1945

Early production aircraft were very similar to the prototype, although with a mass-balanced rudder instead of a horn-balanced rudder, and smaller Fairey Youngman flaps. During the production run the pilot's cockpit canopy and windscreen were both raised to improve visibility. From the 470th Mk.I (including NF.I and FR.I production) the Griffon IIB engine was replaced with a more powerful Griffon XII. A total of 459 Firefly F.1s were produced.

The Firefly F.1 was armed with four 20mm cannon, and could carry two 1,000lb bombs. During the production run the capability to carry eight three-inch rocket projectiles was added. The Firefly F.1 was joined on the production line by the FR.1 and the NF.1, both of which carried a radar set.

Engine: Griffon IIB or XII
Power: 1,720hp or 1,815hp at take-off; 1,495hp or 1,645hp at altitude
Crew: 2
Wing span: 44ft 6in
Length: 37ft 7in
Height: 13ft 7in
Empty Weight: 9,750lb
Loaded Weight: 14,020lb
Max Speed: 316mph at 14,000ft
Service Ceiling: 28,000ft
Range: 775 miles
Armament: Four 20mm Hispano cannon
Bomb-load: Eight 60lb rockets or two 1,000lb bombs

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (31 January 2010), Fairey Firefly F.1 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_fairey_firefly_F1.html

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