British single-engine carrier-borne biplane torpedo bomber Fairey Albacore.
The Fairey Albacore, nicknamed “Applecore” in Britain, was intended to replace the obsolete Fairey Swordfish torpedo bomber, which had been in service since 1936. In fact, however, both types of aircraft were used in parallel and the Albacore was taken out of service even before the Swordfish, to be replaced by the Fairey Barracuda. The Albacore prototypes were based on Air Ministry specification S. 41/36 for a three-seat torpedo bomber/observation and reconnaissance aircraft for the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm (FAA). The first two prototypes took off on 12 December 1938 and series production began in 1939, with 98 aircraft initially built. The first Albacores were equipped with the Bristol Taurus II engine, later ones received the more powerful Taurus XII.
In March 1940, the No. 826 Squadron FAA was established specifically for the deployment of the first Albacores. The first carrier-based units entered service in 1941. Eventually there were 15 FAA squadrons equipped with Albacores. These fought in the Mediterranean, the Battle of Cape Matapan, the Battle of El Alamein in 1942, the Sicily landings and the Salerno landings in 1943, among others. Between September 1941 and the end of June 1943, No. 828 Squadron FAA operated from Hal-Far in Malta during heavy attacks in the Axis siege of Malta, mainly against Italian ships and coastal targets in Sicily. In 1943 the Albacores were exchanged for Fairey Barracudas. The last British Albacore squadron, No. 841 Squadron FAA was disbanded towards the end of 1943. The Royal Canadian Air Force took over the aircraft and used them during the Normandy invasion.
Total production: 800
- A. Harrison: Fairey Swordfish and Albacore, Crowood Aviation series
- A. Harrison: Fairey Albacore, Warpaint Series No. 52
- A. Taylor: Fairey Aircraft since 1915
- Fairey: Company Profile 1915-1960, Aeroplane Company Profile