Fairey Fox IV No.16

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Fairey Fox IV No.16




In 1923, Charles Richard Fairey, founder and chief designer of Fairey Aviation, was disappointed with his Fawn bomber due to its slower performance and lack of greater bombload capacity. He conceived the idea of a private venture bomber that could demonstrate superior performance and handling. Fairey acquired an example of the Curtiss CR, a low frontal area, liquid-cooled engine, and a license for production. He began designing a bomber around this engine, which led to the creation of the Fairey Fox. The Fox was a single-bay biplane with highly staggered wings and a composite wood and metal structure. The Curtiss D-12 engine was installed in a closely cowled tractor installation, with one radiator mounted on the underside of the upper wing and a second retractable radiator. The pilot and gunner sat close together in two tandem cockpits, with the gunner armed with a Lewis gun and the pilot with a single synchronised Vickers machine gun. Up to 460 lb (210 kg) of bombs could be carried under the wings.

The prototype Fox flew at RAF Hendon on 3 January 1925, piloted by Norman Macmillan, demonstrating good performance and handling. However, there was resistance to the new bomber within the Air Ministry due to its design, features, and American engine. Air Chief Marshal Hugh Trenchard ordered a squadron of Foxes, bypassing official channels, with an initial order for 18 Foxes following.

In 1926, the Air Ministry created Specification 12/26 for a new light-bomber for the Royal Air Force, emphasizing high performance. Fairey was initially unaware of the new specification, but Lobelle’s team designed the Fox IIM, a metal-structured aircraft powered by a Rolls-Royce F.XIB. The Fox IIM flew on 25 October 1929, winning an initial order for 12 Fox II reconnaissance aircraft in England.

The Fox III was a Designation used for British built, Kestrel powered by a 270 kW Armstrong Siddeley Serval engine. And the Fox IV is powered by a ispano-Suiza 12Ybrs Piston Engine.

In 1934, the Fairey Fox IV aircraft was showcased in Shanghai, Guangzhou, and other locations to promote its capabilities. Following this, the Guangxi Air Force acquired an unarmed aircraft which was later transformed into a combat/reconnaissance aircraft designated as No. 16. Additionally, the Guangdong Air Force purchased a Type IIIF aircraft, originally British and registered as G-ABYY. On July 18, 1936, in response to the civil war, Huang Guangrui, the commander of the Guangdong Air Force, led a group of 74 aircraft from his units and aviation schools to Nanchang via Shaoguan to support the Nanjing government. Unfortunately, during takeoff with three individuals on board, the aircraft became overloaded, stalled, and crashed in the Dongshan area of Guangzhou. Tragically, the three occupants, Liu Guoquan, Hu Cunxin, and Zhang Ruihu, lost their lives as they were unable to be rescued in time. The fate of the other aircraft remains unknown.

The Fairey Fox IV No.16 is comparable to the Fox III VIR in terms of flight performance but also received a modification in Chinese service for two machine guns and bombs.

Note; Chinese Sources indicate that it was a Fairey Fox III, however, with it being powered by the ispano-Suiza 12Ybrs Piston Engine, it is a Fairey Fox IV.

Technical Data


Crew - 2 Pilots + 1 Crew

Length - 9.5 m

Height - 3.17 m

Wingspan - 11.58 m

Empty Weight - 1,327 kg

Gross Weight - 1,867 kg

Powerplant - 1 x Hispano-Suiza 12Ybrs Piston Engine (640 kW)

Max Speed - 351 km/h

Service Ceiling - 6,500 m

Range - 1,020 km


2 x 7.62mm Machine Guns (Unknown Type)

100 kg of bombs




(Book) Encyclopedia of Chinese Aircraft, Vol 1. - Page 20

Fairey Fox - Wikipedia

List of aircraft used in China before 1937 - Wikipedia

World Air Forces China Natl./Taiwan Air Force