Fleet Air Arm Roc L3075


The Blackburn Roc, developed from the Skua, was the first Fleet Air Arm aircraft to have a power-driven gun turret. The first aircraft, Roc L3057, flew on 23 December, 1938, following the construction of three prototypes ordered from Blackburn under Contract No 534401/36/C.206 on 28 April, 1937 to specification O.34/35. The first prototype was sent to the Aircraft and Armament Experimental Establishment at Martlesham Heath in March, 1939 for handling and performance trials, and in July 1939 the first production aircraft L3060 was sent to IAD Flight, RAE Farnborough for tests. The Rocs were found to be slow and with poor stability their only good characteristics were they could maintain a steep dive with dive brakes. Subsequently, orders to specification 15/37 for 133 Roc were received by Boulton & Paul.

The Roc was the shipborne equivalent to the Defiant which was also made by Boulton Paul. It suffered not only from a poor tactical concept but also from having a poor performance for a fighter. The Roc could be equipped with floats, but only three ever were. In total 136 Roc were built.

The Roc was destined primarily for the Fleet Air Arm. In addition at least one Roc, Roc L3120 was sent to the RCAF for assessment, to the Roc Flight at Odiham for 110 squadron RCAF on 12 November 1940.

 The Roc entered service with 800 and 803 Squadrons, the first aircraft arriving on 4 April 1939 at Worthy Down (eg L3062, the third production aircraft).  The aircraft operated from shore bases only, alongside Skua squadrons, and its front line career ended in June 1940. The Roc Seaplane saw limited service with 765 squadron, in a training role at Lee-on-Solent during 1940-41, and with 773 squadron in Bermuda during 1941-43.

The final Rocs were used in target towing and training duties, and aircraft started to be withdrawn from service in August 1943 after an undistinguished career.  Their FAA service finally ended in 1944,  the very last aircraft L3191 being paid off from 793 squadron in August 1944.

Fleet Air Arm Roc L3084 of 778 or 771squadron in 1941

Fleet Air Arm history
        Blackburn Roc
        Total FAA 1939-1945:        136
        First delivered to RN:         1939
        First squadron 1939-1945:   803 sqdn 1939
        Operational squadron:         803 sdqn 1939
        Last served with RN           1944
3 prototypes ordered from Blackburn under Contract no 534401/36/C.206 dated 28.4.37 to Spec O.34/35
L3057 First to A&AEE 3.39 for handling and performance

133 ordered from Boulton & Paul under Contract no 534401/36/C.206 dated 28.4.37 to Spec 15/37

First RN:                                 7.39 to IAD flt RAE (L3060 first prodtn aircraft)
First sqdn:                               4.4.39 803 sqdn Worthy Down (L3062 third prodtn aircraft)
Last withdrawn                         5.44 776 sdqn Speke/Woodvale, 793 sdqn 8.44 (L3191)
Aircraft Type:
Blackburn Roc
Primary Role:
Naval fighter/target tug
First Flight: 
Date operating with FAA squadrons:
Blackburn Aircraft Company, Brough for the prototypes.
Boulton & Paul Aircraft, Wolverhampton for the production aircraft
One 905 hp 9 cylinder Bristol Perseus XII radial engine
 Wing Span: Length: Height: Wing Area: 
Wingspan 46 ft (14.02 m) 
Length 35 ft (10.67 m) 
Height 12.4 ft (3.79 m) 
Wingarea 310 sq ft (28.8 sq m)
Empty Weight: Max.Weight:
Weight  empty  5,018 lb (2,276 kg) 
max.  8,800 lb   (3,992 kg)
Speed 196 mph (315 km/h) 
Ceiling 17,720 ft  (5,400 m) 
Range 800 mi (1,287 km)
Four .303in machine guns in Boulton Paul turret ; 110 kg bombs
Second Line: 725, 758, 759, 760, 765, 769, 770, 771, 772, 773, 774, 775, 776, 777, 778, 782, 787, 789, 791, 792, 793, 794
Front Line: 800, 801, 803, 806 
Battle honours:
Additional references and notes:
Battle Honours and Operational History

Fleet Air Arm Roc MkI 806 squadron 1940

Surviving aircraft and relics
No known museums examples - possibly extinct

Associations and reunions
No information
Blackburn Roc  This page is devoted to pictures and images of the Roc 
British Aircraft of the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm ADC Roc in British Aircraft of the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm and the RAF Downloadable ADC pdf file of technical specifications.
Aircraft Profiles by FAUCONBERG AEROGRAPHICS  An A-Z of Aircraft Profiles including BLACKBURN ROC Mk. I, 806 Squadron, Royal Naval Air Service, West Freugh, Wigtownshire, April 1940
 Blackburn Roc   US FAASIG profile 
Blackburn Skua och Roc Blackburn Roc and Skua, technical detailds and history [in Swedish]
Sturtivant, R. & Burrow, M (1995) 'Fleet Air Arm Aircraft 1939 to 1945'  Published by Air Britain (Historians) Ltd, 1995 ISBN: 085130 232 7 
Created 3-4-1999, Modified 3-4-2000


Return to Home Page


This page is published by Fleet Air Arm Archive and is updated regularly.
© 2000-2001 All rights reserved for all information created for or on behalf of the Fleet Air Arm Archive
Contact email: