Supermarine Type 322: The Dumbo

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Introduction: The Supermarine Type 322 is more or less a forgotten aircraft when it comes to studying British aviation history. This is despite the fact that this aircraft, though not produced in large numbers or partaking in famous raids, was quite advanced for its period, and was used as a test platform for some interesting features.


Background: In July 1937, the Air Ministry received two private proposals from Blackburn and Fairey for a future TSR (torpedo, strike and reconnaissance) aircraft to replace the Swordfish, which was at that time the main strike aircraft of the Royal Navy. Few details are known about these proposals. Fairey’s design had a low wing, whilst Blackburn had a high wing. The Admiralty had very strong opinions about wing position, and were always strongly in favour of high wings, so Fairey’s design was ruled out. Blackburn’s design was thought to on the right track, but its performance was lacking, as it was using data from an outdated requirement, with a top speed of 200mph (322km/h). Its performance was therefore considered “scarcely adequate for an aircraft not likely to be flying until about 1939.” Fairey’s design was also rejected on the ground of it using two engines, which did not go down well with the Ministry. It was then decided to draw up an official specification called S.24/37, which requested a carrier-based torpedo bomber, dive bomber and reconnaissance aircraft, with an all-up-weight of 10,500lb (4,763kg), including a single 1,500lb (680kg) torpedo or three 500lb (227kg) or six 250lb (113kg) bombs. An option for a float undercarriage was also given so that the aircraft could operate in sheltered waters independent of a carrier, but this was later dropped. Six companies were invited to tender: Blackburn, Bristol, Fairey, Hawker, Supermarine and Westland, with Fairey’s design chosen for production, eventually becoming the Barracuda. Despite not winning the order, Supermarine was ordered to produce a small number of aircraft, for reasons stated below.


Description: Supermarine proposed a design they designated Type 322; a high wing monoplane with a fixed undercarriage powered by either a Rolls-Royce Exe or Bristol Taurus. Bombs were recessed underneath the fuselage. An interesting feature of this design was its variable incidence wing, which offered good handling characteristics at low speeds, without having to neglect high speed performance, as well as reducing the landing distance of the aircraft. The aircraft was selected for a final evaluation against Fairey’s design, to which it lost due to being “too experimental”. Despite this, two prototypes were ordered anyways in order to test the variable incidence wing. However, the project was put on the back burner to allow the company to produce Spitfires. The first prototype would fly on the 6th of February 1943, built entirely of wood and powered by a Merlin. The second prototype was much the same, but it would be built with duralumin wings. Despite the use of a fixed undercarriage, the aircraft still managed to fly faster than a Barracuda Mk.II. Test results showed that the variable incidence wing was promising, and Supermarine intended to use it on future designs.



Wing Span: 50ft 0in (15.24m)
Length: 40ft 0in (12.19m)
Wing Area: 319.5 sq ft (29.69 sq m)
All-Up-Weight: 12,000lb (5,443kg) (design figure)
Powerplant: 1x 1,300hp (969kW) Rolls-Royce Merlin 30.
Max. speed/height: 279mph (449km/h) at 4000ft (1,219m)
Armament: 6x 250lb (113kg) bombs or 1x 1500lb (680kg) torpedo
With 2x 0.303in (7.7mm) machine guns.


Conclusion: This aircraft would be a highly interesting aircraft in game, providing a high-speed torpedo bomber and strike aircraft, with very good low-speed handling characteristics. I believe that it would make a fine premium or event vehicle.



“British Secret Projects 4: Bombers 1935 to 1950” by Tony Buttler

Supermarine 322 | Secret Projects Forum

Supermarine Type 322 ''Dumbo'' - Coletti's Combat Aircraft


Supermarine 322 - Destination's Journey


Looks goofy, but still carries a powerful punch! +1


+1 as a premium or event aircraft, Britain lacks severely in its early Naval lines and lacks some pretty iconic aircraft (skua, Fulmars, Barracudas etc.) and this would free up space for more of them to be in the Tech Tree.


Would love to see more aircraft types that have the wings on top of the fuselage. Besides that cool looking plane +1

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need this as well as the barracuda and the albacore

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