Introduction: Even before the end of the Second World War, the British already began to plan their next moves after war, in an effort to stay on top and remain at the cutting edge of technology. This allowed the aviation industry to flourish in the Postwar years, despite the terrible financial state of the country. This period gave birth to numerous greats, such as the Canberra, the V-Bombers and the Hunter. Yet in this same period, there wee also many types that were built, but never got further than the prototype stage, and are now, unfortunately, a mere footnote in history, forgotten by most. Today’s suggestion is about such an aircraft.
Description: In 1945, the Royal Navy issued a specification for a new carrier-based ASW platform, under the name GR.27/45. The requirement called for an aircraft with positions for a pilot and an observer and a weapons bay for depth charges and a search radar, and was based off of experience and technological advances gained fighting U-Boats in the Second World War. They type was to be able to operate off of both existing, and future carriers and replace older types procured during the War. Blackburn and Fairey were ordered to build prototypes of their designs. Blackburn’s, the B.54/YA.5 featured a Napier Double Naiad turboprop. When this engine was cancelled, it was substituted for a Rolls-Royce Griffon 56, fitted with contra-rotating propellers and redesignated the YA.7. The aircraft featured a high-lift flap system developed from that drew upon experience from the Firecrest. The aircraft featured a portly looking appearance, that contained a weapons bay and retractable radar. The aircraft took to the air on the 20th of September of 1949, and carried out deck landing trials on HMS Illustrious on the 8th of February 1950. The requirement was soon changed to accommodate three crew members. The designation for the new design was YA.8. This featured a lengthened fuselage and introduced necessary changes in the wing planform. YA.8 also featured a revised tail, which was fitted on YA.7 as well. Soon, the Griffon would be replaced with an Armstrong Siddeley Double Mamba, and would require a new designation; B.88.
Specification and Armament:
|B.54 (YA.7)||B.54 (YA.8)|
|Powerplant:||1x Rolls-Royce Griffon 56 rated at 2,000 hp||1x Rolls-Royce Griffon 56 rated at 2,000 hp|
|Capacity:||Two (Pilot, Observer)||Three (Pilot, 2x Observers)|
|Armament:||Mines, Depth Charges, Torpedoes||Mines, Depth Charges, Torpedoes|
|Maximum Speed:||251 mph||251 mph|
Conclusion: A little-known aircraft, that I believe will receive a bit more attention if it is added to the game. The aircraft would certainly be interesting to play.
https://www.baesystems.com/en/heritage/blackburn-b-54-and-b-88 (Images, Information and Performance)
https://www.secretprojects.co.uk/threads/blackburn b-54.37088/ (Images and Information)
Reddit - Dive into anything (Images)
WT Live // Images by SirSchebling (Images)
“X-Planes of Europe II: Military Prototype Aircraft from the Golden Age 1945-1974” by Tony Buttler