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Fairey Seafox

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Title: Fairey Seafox  
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Subject: Napier Rapier, York-class cruiser, Leander-class cruiser (1931), Fairey Aviation Company, Arethusa-class cruiser (1934)
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Fairey Seafox

Role ship-borne reconnaissance seaplane
National origin United Kingdom
Manufacturer Fairey Aviation
First flight 27 May 1936
Introduction 23 April 1937
Primary user Royal Navy (Fleet Air Arm)
Number built 66

The Fairey Seafox was a 1930s British reconnaissance floatplane designed and built by Fairey for the Fleet Air Arm. It was designed to be catapulted from the deck of a light cruiser and served in the Second World War. Of the 66 built, two were finished as landplanes.


  • Design and development 1
  • Operational history 2
  • Operators 3
  • Specification 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
    • Notes 6.1
    • Bibliography 6.2
  • External links 7

Design and development

The Fairey Seafox was built to satisfy 700 Naval Air Squadron of the Fleet Air Arm.

The fuselage was of all-metal monocoque construction, the wings being covered with metal on the leading edge, otherwise fabric. It was powered by a 16-cylinder 395 hp (295 kW) air-cooled Napier Rapier H engine. It cruised at 106 mph (171 km/h), had a range of 440 mi (710 km).

Although the Seafox handled well, it was criticized for being underpowered, engine cooling was poor and landing speeds were higher than desired.

Operational history

In 1939, a Seafox played a part in the attack on the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee, by spotting for the naval gunners. This led to the ship's destruction after the Battle of the River Plate.

Seafoxes remained in service until 1943, they operated during the early part of the war, from the cruisers HMS Emerald, Neptune, Orion, Ajax, Arethusa and Penelope and the armed merchant cruisers HMS Pretoria Castle, Asturias and Alcantara.


 United Kingdom


Data from Fairey Aircraft since 1915 [3]

General characteristics
  • Crew: two
  • Length: 33 ft 5 in (10.19 m)
  • Wingspan: 40 ft 0 in (12.20 m)
  • Height: 12 ft 2 in (3.71 m)
  • Wing area: 434 ft² (40.3 m²)
  • Empty weight: 3,805 lb (1,730 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 5,420 lb (2,464 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Napier Rapier VI piston, 395 hp (295 kW)


  • 1 x 7.7mm machine gun

See also

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists



  1. ^ Taylor 1974, p.285.
  2. ^ Taylor 1974, p.287.
  3. ^ Taylor 1974, p.288.


  • "For Light Reconnaissance" (PDF). Flight, 9 December 1937. pp. 570–574.
  • Mondey, David. The Hamlyn Concise Guide to British Aircraft of World War II. London; New York: Aerospace Publishing Ltd., 1982. P.87. ISBN 0-600-34951-9, ISBN 0-600-34967-5.
  • Taylor, H.A. Fairey Aircraft since 1915. London: Putnam, 1974. ISBN 0-370-00065-X.

External links

  • British Aircraft of World War II
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