Fairey Firefly NF.II

The Fairey Firefly NF.II was the first attempt to produce a night-fighter version of the aircraft, preceding the more successful NF.I. The NF.II used the British Airborne Interception Mk.X radar, a heavy piece of kit that needed two radomes, one on each wing, to carry the transmitter and receiver, and a heavy generator in the rear fuselage to provide the required power. The generator altered the centre of gravity of the aircraft, and so a new 18in fuselage section had to be added between the pilot's cockpit and the engine firewall.

Fairey Firefly on HMS Ocean, 1946
Fairey Firefly on
HMS Ocean, 1946

The first Firefly NF.II went for trials at Boscombe Down in March 1943, when a number of serious problems were encountered. The 18in extension to the fuselage had a negative impact on visibility, making the NF.II unsuited for carrier landings. The aircraft was also not as stable as required. The radar was also causing problems, with the signals from the two scanners being difficult to tie together.

An order for 328 NF.IIs had been placed before the first aircraft had flown. In June 1944, after 37 had been built, the contract was cancelled, and production moved onto the Firefly NF.I, which used the lighter American ASH (AN/APS-4) radar set. Most of the existing NF.IIs were converted back to Mk.I standard, although some were kept for radar trials.

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

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