The Fairey "Albacore" was a single-engine biplane designed as a torpedo-spotter reconnaissance aircraft to specification S.41/36. It was a all-metal monocoque fuselaged biplane, with wings braced with wire and covered with fabric. It also had an heated enclosed cabin and was nicknamed the "Applecore" and regarded pleasant to fly.
Two protypes were constructed, the first prototype L7074 first flew on 12 December 1938. Fairey subsequently built 803 Albacore, and it was planned to be a successor to the Fairey Swordfish. The Albacore was first delivered to the Royal Navy on 15 March 1940. By 1942 there were 15 Fleet Air Arm squadrons equipped with the Albacore, several of them shore-based in North Africa. The main use of the Albacore was in coastal operations, the aircraft usually operating singly at night.
The Albacore was retired before the Swordfish, and started to be replaced from 1942 by the Fairey Barracuda and Grumman Avenger. With it no longer being used in operational squadrons, the Albacore was put to other uses. Of the last 400 built, some were used to equip second line sqiuadrons especially in the Middle East to Aden and Khormaksar, and Hal Far in Malta, South Africa at Wingfield, East Africa including Tanga, and RNARY Nairobi, as well as Coimbatore, and Trinidad. They were by this time used also for specialist services. For example, X8967 was used in the East Africa Anti Locust flight (ME) from 8 June 1945 at Nairobi, and Juba. Many of these last 400 were subsequently equipped to the RAF 1944-1946.
The Albacore was also used by the other services. The Albacore being equipped to the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN), the first to the RCN being in May 1943 (eg X8947, X8952 etc ). It also was equipped to the RAF and RCAF, first being L7080 to 415 squadron, for use in coastal operations, the Albacore breing equipped to 415 squadron till June 1944 (eg X8940). The Albacore also saw service with 36 squadron from January 1942 (eg T9135) and 119 squadron from July 1944 (eg T9150 and X8940). It was the last operational biplane to be used by the RCAF with 6 aircraft (1943-1949).
All items (2)