Blackburn Shark 


The Blackburn Shark was a pre-war carrier-borne torpedo-bomber and reconaissance biplane, which also operated at coastal stations and as a seaplane. The Shark prototype was first flown on 24 August, 1933 at Brough followed by Naval aviation tests on November 26, 1933 at the Aircraft and Armament Experimental Establishment at Martlesham Heath. The following year deck landing trails on the HMS Courageous proved successful and won an order from the Fleet Air Arm in August 1934, to contract no 334315/34 and specification 13/35, and in January 1937 under contract no 510994/35 to specification 19/36.

The prototype was fitted with twin floats and was test flown at Brough in April 1935 and successful sea trials took place at Felixstowe. More contracts followed, and during the three years of production 238 Sharks were delivered to the Fleet Air Arm.

The Shark served with the Fleet Air Arm, Royal Canadian Air Force, Portuguese Navy, and the British Air Observers' School, and was already becoming obsolete in 1937, and the following year replacement by the Fairey Swordfish began.

At the beginning of WWII 165 were still on charge with the FAA in second-line units such as 2AACU Gosport,  755 squadron at Worthy Down and 758 squadron. The Shark was finally retired with K8931 in July 1944 and P348 in March 1945.

        M.1/30A : prototype
        Shark I : first production version
        Shark II : 760-hp Tiger VI
        Shark III : 800-hp Bristol Pegasus III
        Shark IIA : floatplane version

         Fleet Air Arm history
        Total FAA 1939-1945              165 (223 in total)
        First delivered to RN:               1935
        First squadron 1939-1945:         758, 775 sqdn
        Operational squadron:               None
        Last served with RN                 1945
Ordered 223 of which on charge 9.39 were 165.

Ordered 6.35 under contract no 334315/34 to spec 13/35. And 1.37 under contract no 510994/35 to spec 19/36

First FAA :    18.8.39 to 2 AACU Gosport
To first sqdn:  5.39 to 755 sqdn Worthy Down
                    Many in 775 and 758 sqdns 1939-1945
End use:        7.44 K8931, 755 sqdn P348 3.45

Aircraft Type:
Blackburn Shark 
Primary Role:
Torpedo-bomber and reconaissance biplane - carrier borne and seaplane versions.
First Flight: 
Prototype was first flown on 24 August,1933
Date operating with FAA squadrons:
One 760-hp Armstrong Siddeley Tiger VI engine
 Wing Span: Length: Height: Wing Area: 
Length 35.30 ft 
Wing span 46.00 ft 
Wing area 489 sq ft
Empty Weight: Max.Weight:
Empty Weight: 4039 lb (1832kg) Max.Weight: 8050lb (3651kg)



Speed: 150 mph (241 km/h)
Ceiling 16000 ft (4875m)
Range 625 miles (1006km)
Two machine guns 7.7mm or bombs of 907kg
Battle honours:
Additional references and notes:

Battle Honours

The only recorded RCAF Shark action during World War II occurred on 27 October 1942, when one attacked a submarine off the West Coast of Canada with no known results.

Surviving aircraft and relics
No information - believed extinct

Associations and reunions
No information
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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