The Blackburn B.47 Basilisk

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The Blackburn B.47

In 1944 the Air Ministry issued Specification N.11/44, for a long range naval fighter using initially a large piston engine  The specification also called for an airframe design that would be able to take a turboprop engine when a suitable unit was available. There was a parallel specification for the Royal Air Force, F.13/44, for which Hawker and Blackburn submitted designs.  Hawker submitted their competing W.3427; a development of the Tempest. Blackburn their B.47, a new design which featured a pusher prop and twin booms.  The RAF however cancelled the Operational Requirement when in 1945 it was decided that all future fighter aircraft would be jet powered.

Whereas Hawker abandoned the W.3427, Blackburn persisted with their B.47.  Westland submitted their W.34 to the Royal Navy under N.11.44.  Blackburn submitted their B.47 as well.  While the W.34 was fairly conventional, albeit it with the engine originally mounted amidships, the B.47 was quite radical with it's pusher propeller aircraft and twin-booms.  The W.34 quickly changed during the design to a normal front mounted engine.  It was initially powered by the Rolls-Royce Eagle 22 a 24-cylinder H-block piston engine unrelated to the First World War-era engine of the same name, which developed 3,200hp.  The B.47 was initially designed for the Napier Sabre E.122 or Mk.VIII, liquid cooled, H-block engine which developed 3,500hp.  In both cases, the development of jet engines meant that these massive piston engines were abandoned by their manufacturers.  The W.34 moved onto the Rolls-Royce Clyde, a Turboprop engine.  As we know, the Clyde in turn was cancelled and the W.34 ended up with the Armstrong-Siddely Python Turboprop engine.  The B.47 faced similar problems.  After the cancellation of the Sabre VIII, Blackburns turned to another promising Napier product, the Nomad diesel turbo-compound engine, only to see that cancelled as well.  In turn, another Napier product, which was in the early stages of development, the Eland Turboprop was selected.  By now, the W.34 had flown in prototype form on 12 December 1946, with the Eagle powerplant.  The B.47 had also flown in prototype with the Sabre VIII powering it approximately a month later.  In both cases, the change of powerplant necessitated considerable redesign.

The Admiralty, intrigued by the possibilities of the Blackburn B.47, ordered a prototype both as what would be known today as a "technology demonstrator" and as a backup against the failure of the W.34.  Both aircraft were bestowed with the names of mythical beasts.  The Westland the Wyvern, the Blackburn, the Basilisk, another type of mythical Dragon of legend.  Blackburn had many technical problems to be ironed out.  Perhaps the largest was that of the location of the arrestor hook.  Obviously the pusher airscrew prevented it being in the normal tail most position.  It also could not be attached to the tailbooms in case of breakage, leading to asymetric loads on the airframe and the arrester cable.  So, instead, they placed it much further forward, just behind the cockpit and it was considerably longer as well, to ensure clearance of the airscrew.  The undercarriage was also of considerable length and strength.  After it's initial flights with the Sabre, the Nomad was, as already related selected to replace it and the first prototype was taken in hand by the workshop to fit the new engine.  However, the Nomad's cancellation prevented that.  It languished for almost two years in the workshops until a replacement for the Nomad was found.  In the meantime, the Wyvern had been selected to fulfil the FAA role, having flown successfully with the Python.  Blackburn as a consolation received permission to offer the aircraft on the export market.  After a sales drive, it found favour amongst several emerging British client states and allies.  It was found easy to fly and in it's strike form carried a heavy air-to-ground armament.  Flying nearly as fast as a jet but with considerably more economy, the Basilisk found favour with several air forces. The Basilisk S.1 was selected by Iraq as well as Chile, Peru and Japan to equip their air forces.  India nearly bought it as well but in the end opted for an all jet air force as well.

In Iraqi hands it was instrumental in defeating several of the attempted coups which tried to overthrow the Monarchy of King Faisal II.  On each occassion, the loyal intervention of the Royal Iraqi Air Force (RIAF) ensured that the rebels were crushed.  Known as the "shok'et mer'i de'velle" (Forked Tailed Devil) it's rapid approach and mass rocket attacks were devastating.  Armed with a combination of bombs, rockets and cannon, the Basilisk was famous throughout the Middel-East as the "beast that would turn you to stone if you gazed upon it."   It's history in Southern America was similar, where it quelled several rebellions and in one case, actually secured a revolution when it's pilots went over to the rebels, rather than fight for the repressive government.

The Model

The model is a combination of an Eastern Express Sea Vixen and an Academy F-3h Banshee with Heritage Aviation's 1/48 Seafire contra-props.   Loads of PSR and plasticard to make the wings match.  The undercarriage is scratchbuilt using spare wheels, brass and copper tubing and wire.  I must say, the Eastern Express Sea Vixen is a horrible kit. Of what I used (wing roots, tailbooms), little actually lined up very well.  Oh and the markings are from the Premier "Baghdad Fury" kit.

Captain Canada:
Awesome ! Got an odd shape...but a very interesting shape !


Taken a Moonbat and made it more aggressive :wub:. Great job, love it.

MIND boggling!  :thumbsup: :bow:

That EE Sea Vixen kit has its roots in the very old Frog one IIRC. The Frog moulded ones weren't too bad but as they got more and more Novo-ised the moulds deteriorated as some parts were warped out of the box and others so buried in flash that you couldn't see where they ended and the flash began!

how does the thought process start for an idea like this start ?   :unsure:

how does a sea vixen, a banshee and some props end up like this ?

ANSWER sheer brilliance

 :cheers:    :bow:


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