The Fairy Fox was a light, biplane bomber that was completely outclassed by the time of World War II. Built In the early 1920s out of a British Air Ministry requirement for a light and fast bomber for interdiction operations. The direct result of the solicitation was the Fairey Fox. Centered on the powerful Curtiss D-12 piston engine, which the company manufactured due to a licensing agreement with the American corporation, the Fox was a departure from many of the early airplane designs.
An unprecedented streamlining of the fuselage due to the smooth lines of the new engine gave the Fox a very small drag profile and an increase operational speed. The Fox made its maiden flight on the morning of January 3rd, 1925 and performed better than advertise achieving a top speed of just above 80kph. Quite an accomplishment for any first flight. Not only did the Fox were able to out run many of its contemporaries, but its old fashion wood and fabric airframe gave it a big edge in most air to air engagement of the day.
In August 1926, the famous No. 12 Bomber Squadron based at Northholt became the first, and only, Royal Air Force unit fitted with the new Fox bomber. The Fox was removed from RFA front line service in the summer of 1931, but several units remained in tactical reserve for the next decade.
The design proved to be so easy to develop and adjust, that the Avions Fairey of Belgium picked up the production once again in 1932. By the time of the German invasion in 1940, the Fox manned nine Belgian Air Force squadrons, numbering 170 aircrafts. They fought valiantly in those early days, but they were completely outclassed by the Luftwaffe. Several RAF’s Foxes were used as target tug and tactical reconnaissance platforms up to 1941.
Power Plant: One Fairey 480hp Felix Piston Engine
Total Wing Area: 30.1m/sq.
Maximum Take-off Weight: 1869kg
Top Speed: 251kph
Operational Ceiling: 5185m
Climb Rate: 5795m 39min/45sec
Armament: One forward firing 7.7mm Vickers heavy machine gun. Another 7.7m (removable) in the rear cockpit. Total bomb load of 227kg