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At the start of the Post War period leading up to the Cold War of the late 1950s early 60’s, Britains Royal Naval Fleet Air Arm found themselves playing a key role in the detection and on ongoing surveillance of Soviet fleet activities.
Having relied solely on its ageing fleet of Douglas Skyraiders and short range marine helicopter fleets to perform a rudimentary Airborne Early Warning deterrent role, the Fairey Gannet was the first truly dedicated turboprop Fleet Air Arm aircraft designed specifically for the dual role of anti-submarine warfare and first strike capabilities.
As modifications to weaponry and avionics increased over its operational life, the Fairey Gannet also conducted electronic countermeasure operations, as well as becoming the Fleet’s primary onboard delivery aircraft ferrying personnel, mail, supplies and high-priority cargo such as replacement parts from shore bases to the carriers at sea.
At times described as one of the ugliest and ungainly aircraft ever designed, the Fairey Gannet proved to be extremely successful, becoming a versatile, all-weather observation post with the ability to detect and attack enemy submarines over a wide operational range.
Part of its success was its powerful Armstrong Siddely turboprop, twin Mamba engines mounted side by side and coupled to a common gearbox driving two coaxial contra-rotating propellers.
With a crew compliment of 3 including the pilot, navigator and observer the Gannet had an operational range in excess of 662 miles, enabling the aircraft to stay in the air for up to 6 hours whilst carrying weapon loads of up to 2,000 lb of bombs, torpedoes, depth charges and rockets.
Performing much the same role as its equivalent US counterpart, the Grumman S-2 Tracker, the Gannet was later modified by replacing its bomb bay and retractable Radom with a permanently placed guppy radome.
Another unique feature was its unusual wing folding ability, with each wing folding into a Z shape on either side enabling it to be stored onboard in greater numbers than conventional single-fold carrier aircraft wing.
Also purchased by the Royal Australian Navy, the Gannet operated from the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne as well as its Nowra shore base HMAS Albatross, performing important fleet protection duties during the Korean War conflict.
Other Gannets were operated by the German and Indonesian Navies with the aircraft continuing in service up until the mid 1960s.
All Fairey Gannet Instruments listed below come complete with detailed Scale Model, Mango Wood Stand & Plaque plus Printed Fact Sheet featuring photo of instrument in aircraft cockpit.
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