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Naval Aircraft

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New naval aircraft

The Navy designed British carrier aircraft with a specific purpose in mind, resulting in a different design to many other navies. The Royal Air Force encouraged the idea that naval aircraft should attack targets at sea, rather than land, therefore retaining its prominence in the forces. In the Admiralty this meant the aircraft characteristics such as take-off and landing speed became more important than maximising flying performance. The Fleet Air Arm’s role was to find the enemy battle fleet, to damage it enough to slow it down and therefore allow the fleet to attack.

Planes would then also help in reconnaissance and spotting as part of a large fleet gun battle. This would include them being used to stop reconnaissance by the enemy fleet’s aircraft. The interwar aircraft reflected the Admiralty and Air Ministry’s mindset. The Fleet Air Arm did carry out these roles during the Second World War but their role would grow far beyond any interwar planners could have foreseen.

Supermarine aircraft shown on the 1929 Schneider Cup Trophy programme (FAAM)
Supermarine aircraft shown on the 1929 Schneider Cup Trophy programme (FAAM)

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The 1920s

The Schneider Trophy

The 1930s

Aircraft Carrier development

Naval Aircraft




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