Torpedo fighters, British edition with an Argentine chaser

Here we see the oddball that was the Westland Wyvern TF Mk I, one of the few “torpedo fighters” in naval history.

BRITISH POST WAR AIRCRAFT (ATP 14814F) Westland Wyvern TF Mk I Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:

Designed to replace the troubled Blackburn Firebrand, which is turn was produced in the tail-end of WWII to replace downright anemic Fairey Swordfish biplanes, Fairey Barracuda and Lend Lease TBM Avenger torpedo bombers with a more Typhoon-ish strike craft, the Wyvern used huge four-bladed contra-rotating propellers driven by a 24-cylinder H-block Rolls-Royce Eagle 22 piston engine to approach a 400 kt airspeed (though later models used either RR Clyde or Armstrong Siddeley Python).

Armed with four 20mm cannons, they could carry 3,000-lbs of bombs or a Mk.15 or Mk.17 airdropped torpedo. The American rival to this was the Skyraider.

Entering service in 1946, just 127 Wyverns were produced and some even saw service in the Suez in 1956 where 830 Squadron of the Fleet Air Arm flew 79 combat sorties from the Audacious-class aircraft carrier HMS Eagle. They were withdrawn in 1958, the days of dropping torpedos against missile-armed warships by strike aircraft seen as a non-starter by that time.

However, this did not stop the Argentines from trying to fit U.S. surplus Mk 13 anti-ship torpedoes to FMA IA-58 Pucara prop COIN aircraft in the Falklands in 1982.

Argentine IA-58 Pucara attack plane with a Mk13 in 1982. Via WWII after WWII

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