Fairey Seafox
The Fairey Seafox was a pre-war maritime floatplane version of the biplane Fairey Fox which first flew on 3 January, 1923.  It was designed to meet specification S.11/32 for a spotting and reconnaissance aircraft for the Fleet Air Arm. Production ended in 1938, and the Seafox served in front-line service as catapult launched floatplanes on crusiers and battleships until 1942, when it was replaced by the Fairey Swordfish, Vought Kingfisher and Supermarine Walrus.

Two prototype Seafoxes were built by Fairey at Hamble under Contract No. 333000/34 to spec S.11/32. They were on charge in September 1939 and had an unusual design that had an open cockpit for the pilot, but an enclosed canopy for the observer. The first flight was on 27 May 1936, and a contract awarded in January 1936 for 49 aircraft, with 15 more being awarded in September 1936. Sea trials were carried out aboard HMS Neptune off Gibraltar.

By the beginning of the War in September 1939, the Fleet Air Arm had on charge the 2 prototypes and 49 Mk I  Seafoxes, the first, K8579, of which reached 754 squadron in October 1939. These were distributed on the following capital ships and to 773 squadron at Bermuda:

Orion (700, 718 squadrons), Pretoria castle (702 squadron), Ajax (718 squadron), Arethusa (713 squadron), Penelope (713 squadron), Asturias (702 squadron), Alcantara (702 squadron), and HMS Emerald (700 squadron).
The aircraft was quickly relegated and a few Seafoxes lingered in a training role until it finally left the service of the Royal Navy in July 1943. The very last Seafox, K8607, saw service in the Royal Navy with 753 squadron at Lee on Solent in July 1945.

A total of 66 Seafox catapult-launched versions had been built, and 311 Foxes built by the end of its production in 1943.

The Seafox and Fox saw service with the Fleet Air Arm, air forces of Belgium, Peru and Switzerland. The Seafox also saw service with the ships in Royal Australian Navy Service (Modified Leander Class) including HMAS Perth, HMAS Sydney and HMAS Hobart, after which they were replaced by the Fairey Swordfish.

        "Fox" I : first production version
        "Fox" IA : upgraded Rolls-Royce"Kestrel" engine, first flight 29 August, 1924
        "Fox" II : "Kestrel" IIS engine, built under license in Belgium by SABCA, 43 built
        "Fox" III : upgraded version, 13 built in Belgium
        "Fox" IIIC : upgraded "Fox" II, 48 built in Belgium
        "Fox" IIIS : trainer, four built in Belgium
        "Fox" IV : equipped with floats instead of wheels, six built for Peru
        "Fox" V : experimental "Fox" II with Hispano Suiza 12Ybrs engine
        "Fox" VI : two-seat reconnaisance aircraft and fighter, 85 built by Avions-Fairey in Belgium, two with closed cockpits built for
                       Switzerland, later used as trainers
        "Fox" VII : upgraded fighter version of "Fox" VI, two built in Belgium
        "Fox" VIII : upgraded "Fox" VI, 12 built in Belgium
        "Seafox" : catapult-launched version, 66 built

Fleet Air Arm Seafox

Fleet Air Arm history
        Fairey Seafox
        Total FAA 1939-1945:      51 (66 in total)
        First delivered to RN:        1937
        First squadron 1939-1945:  Pre-War. With 754 sqdn 10.1939
        Operational squadron:         None
        Last served with RN           7.1945


2 built by Fairey at Hamble under Contract No. 333000/34 to spec S.11/32 and on charge 9.1939

Prdtn Mk I first 49 built under Contract No 471996/35 to spec 40/35 on charge 9.39

First to RN: to Admiralty 2.40  (K8570)
First sqdn: 10.39 754 sqdn (K8579)
Last: 7.45 753 Lee on Solent (K8607)

 RAF Fairey Fox  J9026 pre-war

Aircraft Type:
Fairey Seafox
Mk I
Primary Role:
Spotter reconnaissance/training
First Flight: 
Fox prototype 27 May 1936
Seafox prototype 1939
Date operating with FAA squadrons:
One 395hp Napier Rapier VI inline engine
 Wing Span: Length: Height: Wing Area: 
Height  3.68m
Wing Area 40.32 sq m
Empty Weight: Max.Weight:
Empty Weight 1726kg 
Maximum Take Off Weight 2458kg
Speed 200kph at 1785m;
Cruise 171kmph 
Service Ceiling: 3350m
Range 708km
One rear-firing .303in machine gun 
Provision for light bombs underwing
Battle honours:
Battle of River Plate
Additional references and notes:
Battle Honours and Operational History

Belgian Fairey Fox 0-23 of the 6th Training sqdn

Surviving aircraft and relics

Plan of the Fairey Sea Fox

Associations and reunions
No information
Fairey Seafox in Russian Aircraft Encyclopedia  Historic and technical details
Fairey Fox Mk IVAviones de Combate [in spanish] History in Peru [in Spanish]
Biplane Fighters from the Second World war   Fairey Fox
Fairey Fox in Håkans aviation page  Fairey Fox  Details of the second-generation Fox II which entered Belgian Air Force service early 1932.
Australia - Specifications  Leander Class Light Cruisers Assistance by Mark Stockwell Details of the Australian Leander class Cruisers which used Fairey Seafox
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


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