Blackburn B-54

Blackburn B-54

The Blackburn B-54 and B-88 were prototype carrier-borne Anti-submarine warfare aircraft of the immediate post World War II-era developed for the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm (FAA). They shared a conventional monoplane design with a mid-mounted inverted-gull wing and tricycle undercarriage. The pilot and observer sat in tandem under a long canopy atop the fuselage. The B-54 had a piston engine and the B-88 a gas turbine driving a large contra-rotating propeller. The radar scanner was mounted in a retractable dome in the rear fuselage, behind a long internal weapons bay. The program was cancelled in favour of the Fairey Gannet aircraft.


The B-54, or Y.A.5, was designed to meet Specification "G.R.17/45" for an advanced carrier-borne anti-submarine aircraft by Blackburn Aircraft. Rivals Fairey designed their Fairey 17 to the same specification, which would eventually evolve into the winning design, the Fairey Gannet. The original Y.A.5 was designed to take the new Napier Double Naiad turboprop engine, consisting of two single Naiads driving a contra-rotating propeller through a common gearbox. This engine was ultimately cancelled, so the Y.A.5 flew as the Y.A.7 with a Rolls Royce Griffon 56 piston engine driving a contra-rotating propeller. This aircraft made its maiden flight on 20 September 1949 ahead of the compteting Fairey design. In 1950 the Admiralty added the requirement for a radar and radar operator to the specification. The Y.A.7 was further refined into the Y.A.8, first flying on 3 May 1950, with aerodynamic refinements to improve handling and the third crew position. The Y.A.8 design was used as the basis for the B-88 Y.B.1 which first flew on 19 July 1950. The B-88 had an Armstrong Siddeley Double Mamba engine similar in design to the original Naiad that was to be fitted to the Y.A.5. Development of this design was protracted and the FAA lost interest in favour of the promising Fairey Gannet, which had already flown with the Double Mamba and carried out landing trials, and which was to enter operational service fulfilling the original specification.


The B-54 / B-88 shared a common airframe. It was a large, single-propeller conventional monoplane with a mid-mounted, inverted-gull wing and a mid-mounted horizontal tail-plane with considerable dihedral. Unlike the Fairey Gannet, it had a simple wing folding mechanism that split once at the angle of the gull-wing. The deep fuselage accommodated the engine(s), a large weapons bay and the crew of two were seated high up in tandem under a single canopy (the third crewman in the Gannet was specified after the cancellation of the Blackburn design). The undercarriage was a conventional tricycle type and a radar scanner was carried in the rear fuselage in a retractable dome, much like in the Fairey Gannet.


After the cancellation of the Napier Naiad programme, the prototype was fitted with the readily available Rolls-Royce Griffon 56 engine, delivering 2,000 hp to a 13 ft, six-blade (two three bladed propellors) contra rotating propeller mechanism. In the B-88, an engine plant based on the Armstrong Siddeley Mamba gas turbine; the Double Mamba - also known as the "Twin Mamba" - driving an eight-blade counter-rotating propeller through a common gearbox. The ASMD.1 engine used on the B-88 was rated at 2,950 hp.


*Blackburn B-54 YA.5, intended to take Napier Naiad engine, converted to YA.7
*Blackburn B-54 YA.7, YA.5 airframe with Rolls-Royce Griffon 56 engine
*Blackburn B-54 YA.8, YA.7 with aerodynamic adjustments
*Blackburn B-88 YB.1, YA.8 with Armstrong Siddeley Double-Mamba engine

pecifications (B-88)

aircraft specifications

plane or copter?=plane
jet or prop?=prop

ref=Fact|date=April 2008

payload main=
payload alt=
length main= 43 ft 4 in
length alt=13 m
span main=44 ft 10 in
span alt=13.46 m
span sweep=
height main=17 ft 1 in
height alt=5.11 m
area main=
area alt=
empty weight main=
empty weight alt=
loaded weight main=13,195 lb
loaded weight alt= 5,938 kg
useful load main=
useful load alt=
max takeoff weight main=
max takeoff weight alt=
more general=

engine (jet)=
type of jet=
number of jets=
thrust main=
thrust alt=
thrust original=
afterburning thrust main=
afterburning thrust alt=
engine (prop)=Armstrong Siddeley Double Mamba ASMD.1
type of prop=turboprop
number of props=1
power main= 2,950 shp
power alt=2,213 kW
power original=

max speed main= 321 mph
max speed alt= 515 km/h
cruise speed main=
cruise speed alt=
stall speed main=
stall speed alt=
never exceed speed main=
never exceed speed alt=
range main=
range alt=
ceiling main=
ceiling alt=
climb rate main=
climb rate alt=
loading main=
loading alt=
power/mass main=
power/mass alt=
more performance=

armament=bombs or depth charges in internal weapons bay





ee also


similar aircraft=
*Breguet Alizé
*Fairey Gannet
*S-2 Tracker
*Short Seamew

* List of patrol aircraft

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