Blackburn Baffin

The Blackburn B-5 Baffin torpedo bomber was a development of the Blackburn Ripon, the chief change being that a 545 hp Bristol Pegasus I.MS radial replaced the Ripon's Napier Lion water-cooled inline engine. 

The Baffin was designed by Major F A Bumpus to meet a Fleet Air Arm requirement as a conventional two-seat single-bay biplane of mixed metal and wooden construction with fabric covering. It had swept, staggered, equal-span wings, the lower having an inverse gull to provide clearance for the torpedo while retaining a short undercarriage. Armament comprised one fixed forward-firing 0.303-in (7.7-mm) Vickers machine gun and one free-mounted Lewis gun in rear cockpit, plus one 2,000-lb (908 kg) bomb, or 1,576-lb (716-kg) Mk VIII or Mk IX torpedo, or three 530-lb (241-kg) or six 250-lb (114-kg) bombs. 


Blackburn Baffin
Class Aircraft
Type Bomber
Manufacturer Blackburn Aircraft Limited
Origin United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain)
Country Name Origin Year
United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain) 1932
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
New Zealand 1934 1941 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Blackburn Aircraft Limited 97 View

Two prototypes and 33 production Baffins went to a training flight at Gosport for dummy deck-landing and torpedo practice, with the first Squadron re-equipping with the Baffin No 812 Squadron, in January 1934. The type went to sea with 810 Squadron on HMS Courageous, 811 on HMS Furious, 812 on HMS Glorious and HMS Eagle and 820 Squadron on HMS Courageous. In addition 14 were sent to Malta to serve on carriers in the Mediterranean. The Baffin served barely two years before being replaced by the Blackburn Shark and Fairey Swordfish, with 812 Squadron continuing to fly Baffins until December 1936. All British aircraft appear to have been withdrawn from service before the outbreak of World War II. 

In 1937 New Zealand acquired 29 of the best condition Baffins from the UK to equip Territorial Air Force (reserve) squadrons in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Twenty-four were operational on the outbreak of war, 16 in Wellington and eight in Christchurch. On the outbreak of war these aircraft were utilised as trainers. With the realisation of the threat posed by surface raiders, the RNZAF Baffin was returned to the active list, the survivors being merged in March 1940 as the NZ General Reconnaissance Squadron, renamed 1 GR Squadron in 1941 when half the strength was transferred to 3 GR Squadron. The Baffins were replaced by Lockheed Hudsons before the outbreak of war with Japan; the last Baffins were broken up at Rongotai in 1941.

Two prototypes and 33 production Baffins went to a training flight at Gosport for dummy deck-landing and torpedo practice, with the first Squadron re-equipping with the Baffin No 812 Squadron, in January 1934. The type went to sea with 810 Squadron on HMS Courageous, 811 on Furious, 812 on Glorious and Eagle and 820 Squadron on Courageous. In addition, 14 were sent to Malta to serve on carriers in the Mediterranean. The Baffin served barely two years before being replaced by the Shark and Fairey Swordfish, with 812 Squadron continuing to fly Baffins until December 1936. All British aircraft appear to have been withdrawn from service before the outbreak of the Second World War.

In 1937, New Zealand acquired 29 of the best condition Baffins from the UK to equip Territorial Air Force (reserve) squadrons in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Twenty-four were operational on the outbreak of war, 16 in Wellington and eight in Christchurch. On the outbreak of war, these aircraft were utilised as trainers. With the realisation of the threat posed by surface raiders, the RNZAF Baffin was returned to the active list, the survivors being merged in March 1940 as the NZ General Reconnaissance Squadron, renamed 1 GR Squadron in 1941 when half the strength was transferred to 3 GR Squadron. The Baffins were replaced by Lockheed Hudsons before the outbreak of war with Japan; the last Baffins were broken up at Rongotai in 1941.

Role Torpedo bomber
Manufacturer Blackburn Aircraft
Designer F A Bumpus
First flight 30 September 1932
Introduction 1934
Retired 1941
Primary users Fleet Air Arm
Royal New Zealand Air Force
Number built 97


General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Length: 38 ft 3 in (11.68 m)
  • Wingspan: 44 ft 10 in (13.67 m)
  • Height: 12 ft 10 in (3.91 m)
  • Wing area: 683 ft (63 m)
  • Empty weight: 3,184 lb (1,447 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 7,610 lb (3,459 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 x Bristol Pegasus I.M3 9-cylinder radial engine, 565 hp (421 kW)

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 118 knots (136 mph, 219 km/h)
  • Range: 426 nm (490 mi, 789 km)
  • Service ceiling 15,000 ft (4,570 m)

Armament

  • Guns: One forward firing fixed 0.303 in Vickers gun and one 0.303 in Lewis gun in rear cockpit
  • Bombs: one 1,800 lb 18 in torpedo or 1,600 lb of bombs.

End notes