Fleet Air Arm History
Of all the aircraft operated by the Royal Navy since 1912 when the Naval Wing of the Royal Flying Corps was formed, the Swordfish aircraft is historically the most important. Swordfish aircraft have the distinction of being one of a very small number of aircraft which were in operational front line service at the outbreak of the second world war, and still in front line service after the declaration of peace in Europe. In so doing, the Swordfish has the added distinction of being the last bi-plane to see operational front line service in any of the three Services of the British Armed Forces. The Swordfish's distinguished war record include the 1940 Norwegian Campaign, the wonderfully successful attack on the Italian Fleet at Taranto on 11 November 1940, the major part played by the Swordfish aircraft in the destruction of the pride of the German Fleet the battleship Bismarck in May 1941, in addition to operations in the Mediterranean, North Africa Desert Regions and the English Channel area.
Designed as a powerful two seat carrier-borne naval fighter reconnaissance aircraft, the prototype Firefly first flew on 22 December 1941. The Fairey AS7 was the last variant to be built other than a few pilotless drones. Provision was made for a crew of 3, with 2 radar operators behind the pilot. Fairey Fireflies Mk1 Both 1770 and 1771 Squadrons took part in operations in Norway in 1944 flying from HMS Indefatigable and HMS Implacable respectively, including attacks on the battleship Tirpitz. In 1945, 1770, 1771 and 1772 Firefly Squadrons were in the thick of operations with the British Pacific Fleet. Korean War 1950 - 1953. Several Firefly squadrons saw active service in the Korean War.
Hawker Sea Fury
The Sea Fury was the Fleet Air Arm's last piston engined fighter to serve in front line squadrons. The prototype Sea Fury first flew on 21 February 1945 and carried out deck landing trials in HMS Ocean in October of that year. When the Korean War broke out in 1950, the Sea Fury was the Fleet Air Arm's leading single seat fighter, and it fought with great distinction in that war. The aircraft were mainly used in the ground attack role armed with bombs and rockets, but they also were engaged in air-to-air combat against the much faster MiG 15.
Hawker Sea Hawk
Designed by Hawker's Sir Sydney Cam, the Sea Hawk F1 first entered front line service in 806 Squadron in 1953. Five Naval Air Squadrons equipped with Sea Hawk aircraft flying from the aircraft carriers HMS Albion, HMS Bulwark, and HMS Eagle, were called to give support to the Anglo-French excursion at Suez in November 1956. In the absence of Royal Air Force close support, (the Hunter Mk5 aircraft in Cyprus possessed neither the low level range nor clearance to deliver any weaponry other than gunfire), the Royal Navy provided all the British ground attack effort, and the Sea Hawks (with Sea Venoms providing fighter escort) pressed home many attacks against Egyptian shore targets, often in the face of heavy ground fire.
Access the link below for a more comprehensive guide to historical Fleet Air Arm aircraft.