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STRANGE MILITARY AIRCRAFT - FAIREY GANNET AEW.3 ROYAL NAVY AIRBORNE RADAR PLANE

HISTORY

The Gannet was originally designed as an anti-submarine aircraft. In this role the maiden flight of the Gannet was on the 19th of September 1949. It entered service with 703X flight in April 1953. The Gannet was the first aircraft to use a double Mamba turbine engine in a single engine configuration, each unit powering a set of contra-rotating propellers. It was also the first turbopropeller aircraft to land on an aircraft carrier. This event occurred on the 19th of June 1950 when a Gannet landed on the carrier HMS Illustrious. The Gannets entry into service was delayed because of some major teething problems with both the airframe and the systems integration. In March 1956 an uprated double Mamba engine was test flown and later fitted to all service aircraft. With the development of the dipping sonar in the US, the Fleet Air Arm need for a fixed wing ASW aircraft was in doubt. The Gannet in its ASW role was discontinued and the Gannet AS4 was paid off in July 1960.

Earlier trials had shown the effectiveness of airborne early warning aircraft. As a consequence the Gannet was modified to carry the APS 20F radar used in the trials. In this form, the Gannet AEW 3 first flew in August 1958 and entered service in March 1960. Gannet AEW 3's were deployed on carriers until December 1978 when the last unit, 849 squadron was disbanded.




Role

The Gannet in its first form was shipborne ASW and strike aircraft. In this role it carried an array of weapons in the internal bomb bay as well as a variety of external stores. A retractable radome housed a Ferranti ASV radar used for the detection of ships and surfaced submarines. The Gannet AEW 3 has power assisted folding wings to allow better storage on aircraft carriers.
 

STRANGE MILITARY AIRCRAFT - FAIREY GANNET AEW.3 ROYAL NAVY AIRBORNE RADAR PLANE






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