Great Britain's flagGreat Britain's RAF aircraft marking
Toggle Menu

Great Britain's Blackburn Skua dive bomber, fighter-bomber


Blackburn Skua dive bomber:
Great Britain's Blackburn Skua dive bomber
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook

Blackburn Skua dive bomber:
Great Britain's Blackburn Skua dive bomber
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook


The Blackburn Skua was initially designed to be a Royal Navy dive bomber from a specification given in 1934.1,2 It was the Royal Navy's first single purpose dive bomber.3

The Skua was an all metal dive bomber.3


The Skua prototype first flew on February 9, 1937.1,2,3


The initial order for Skuas was for 190.1 154 of these were completed by the start of World War II.1

  • Skua: 1903, 1922
    • Manufacturer: Blackburn Aircraft Ltd.3
    • Production: ? - March 19403


  • Skua Mk I: The prototype and one additional aircraft.1 Used Bristol Mercury IX (840 HP) radial engine.1,2
  • Skua Mk II: Production model.1


The Skua became operational on the HMS Ark Royal in November 1938.3

At the start of World War II the Nos. 800, 801, 803, and 806 Squadrons were equipped with the Skua.1

First German shot down

Lieutenant B. S. McEwen shot down a Dornier Do 18 on September 25, 1939, over the North Sea, to be the first German aircraft shot down by a British aircraft.1,3 He was a member of the No. 803 Squadron from the HMS Ark Royal.1

Norwegian Battles

On April 10, 1940, flying from Hatston to Bergen, Skuas of the Nos. 800 and 803 Squadrons sank the German cruiser Konigsberg.1,2


No. 801 Squadron was used at the defense of Dunkirk.1,2


Skuas from the HMS Ark Royal were used in the attack on the French fleet at Oran harbor in September 1940.1

Withdrawn from service

In August 1941 the Skuas were with drawn from service and were replaced by Fulmars and Sea Hurricanes.1,3 The Skua was then used for towing targets.3


  Blackburn Skua Mk II
Type Carrier dive bomber1,2,4, Carrier fighter1,4, Fighter-bomber3
Crew 21,2,3
Engine (Type) Bristol Perseus XII piston1,2,3,4
Cylinders 92, Radial4, Radial 93
Cooling Air3
HP 8901,3, 9052,4
Propeller blades 32
Span 46' 2"1,2,3,4
14.07 m1,2
Length 35' 7"1,2,3,4
10.84 m1, 10.85 m2
Height 12' 6"1,2,3, 14' 2"4
3.81 m1,2
Wing area 319 ft2 1
29.64 m2 1
Empty 5,496 lb1,2
2,493 kg1,2
Loaded 8,228 lb1,2,3,4
3,732 kg1,2
Speed 225 mph4
Speed @ 6,500' /
1,980 m
225 mph1,3, 229 mph2
362 kph1, 368 kph2
Climb 1,580'/minute1,2
480 m/minute2, 482 m/minute1
Service ceiling 19,100'3, 20,200'1,2
6,155 m1, 6,157 m2
Range 435 miles1, 761 miles3, 800 miles2
700 km1, 1,287 km2
Armament 5: MG3
Wings 4: MG4
4: 7.7 mm MG1
4: 0.303" MG2
Rear cockpit 1: MG4
1: 7.7 mm MG1
1: 0.303" MG2
Bomb 1: 500 lb1,2, 740 lb3
1: 227 kg1,2


  1. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  2. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  3. World War II Airplanes Volume 1, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  4. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site