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Thursday, February 22nd 2007, 4:22pm

The Royal South African Airforce

Organisation and command structure:

There currently are few sources available about the RSAFs organisation and structure. Basic information reveals there are seven Commands:


These commands include all infrastructure necessary for flight operations and maintenance.

Flying units are deployed to Air Fleets which represent the highest command level. Air Fleets known at the end of 1934 are:

Air Fleet 1 (South Africa West)
Air Fleet 2 (South Africa East)
Air Fleet 3 (Indian Ocean)
Air Fleet 4 (Grand Uruguay South)
Air Fleet 5 (Grand Uruguay North)
Air Fleet 6 (Atlantic Ocean)
Air Fleet 7 (Cameroon)

Below the level of Air Fleets organisations breaks down into Groups (100+ planes) which are made of several Wings (36-40 planes). A Wing is made of three Squadrons of 9 planes each plus a Staff Flight of 3 planes. A Flight of three planes is the smallest unit above single plane level. Commanding officers are ranked Flight Lieutenant, Squadron Leader, Wing Commander and Group Commander respectively.


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Thursday, February 22nd 2007, 4:33pm

Naval Planes

AeroDynamics RBW-9B "Dragonfly" (alias Heinkel He 59)

The Dragonfly is designed as a long range recce plane to controll shipping and fishing in the Empires own and adjacent waters. With her crew of four (Pilot, Navigator/Bombardier and two Engineer/Gunner) she can remain on patrol for eight hours. During such long flights her armament is generally limited to four 125kg bombs under her wings and her three machineguns. If used as a strike aircraft against hostile shipping her bombload can be increased to a total of 600kg or a torpedo under her fuselage. The increased bombload comes at a cost of some range but enables the RBW-9B to deal out lethal blows. In a second role the large floatplane is used for rescue mission for which it remains unarmed. In 1928 an order of 40 planes for four squadrons and four trainers was placed.

A RBW-9B at her base

This Dragonfly is used for unarmed rescue mission

Line drawings of the AD RBW-9B

First Flight: 28.6.1927
Type: Long range reconnaissance plane and bomber
Power: 2x 650PS 12-cyl.-engine (inline)
Crew: 4
Vmax: 235km/h
Vcruise: 170km/h
Range: 1200km or up to 8h on patrol
Weapons: 600kg bombs or 1 torpedo, 3 7,62mm MG

AeroDynamics RBW-12C "Albatross" (alias Blohm & Voss Ha 139)

AeroDynamics´ RBW-12C is designed as a heavy long range reconnaissance plane and bomber. The first prototype AD Type 12A took of for its maiden flight in September 1932 after design work began 14 month earlier. Build to specification RB32/4 which asked for a planes to patrol the Indian and Atlantic Ocean, attack enemy shipping if need be and rescue sailors or splashed pilots ADs designers originally based the design on ADs Type 10 passenger plane. However, calculations during the design phase proved the planes fuselage and wings too weak for naval service. So major modifications were necessary finally resulting in a completely new aircraft. Trials lasted until December 1933 and resulted in minor modifications as the planes control forces were quite high. Nevertheless the Coastal Command ordered a first batch of 36 planes in October ´33. The first of these planes will be delivered in March 1934.

A Albatross during trials

First Flight: 28.9.1932
Type: Long range reconnaissance plane and bomber
Power: 4x 750PS 12-cyl.-engine (inline)
Crew: 7
Vmax: 360km/h
Vcruise: 300km/h
Range: 4000km or up to 12h on patrol
Weapons: 1600kg bombs or 2 torpedos, 6 7,62mm MG

AeroDynamics RBW-14A "Osprey" (alias HA140)

The RBW-14 was designed to specification RB33/27 as a medium range reconnaissance plane and bomber to replace the aging "Dragonfly". Using their experience with floatplanes AD designers provided a modern design with clean lines that marks a clear step forward from the old RBW-9. A nose turret allows good cover forward and two single MGs cover the rear sectors. Her crew is made up of pilot, radio operator/navigator and two gunners. Trials lasted throughout the year 1934 and suffered a minor drawback when the second prototype was damaged during a rough landing. Finally in winter 1934/35 most problems with the new plane had been solved and in face of the South American war the plane was ordered by the Coastal Command. Mass production is prepared in the AD main plant in Saldanha and starting in June four planes will be build per month until a second assembly line will be readied in autumn and double the output.

The AD RBW-14 during trials

Photo of the second prototype after one of her floats got damaged

Line drawing of the AD RWB-14

First Flight: 27.2.1934
Type: Medium range reconnaissance plane and bomber
Power: 2x 880PS 9-cyl.-engine (radial)
Crew: 4
Vmax: 340km/h
Vcruise: 285km/h
Range: 2000km or up to 8h on patrol
Weapons: 800kg bombs or 1 torpedos, 4 7,62mm MG

Doorman “Commodore” Type III (alias Canadian Vickers Vancouver)

Twin-engined flying-boat originally designed by Dr. August Doorman as a forest fire-suppression aircraft for South America. The resulting equal-span biplane had a metal hull while the remainder of the aircraft was of conventional wood and fabric construction. A single Type I with two 200PS Lynx 19 radial engines flew in April 1925, followed by five improved Type II “Commodores” delivered to the RSAF Coastal Command in 1926. Three of these were powered by 225PS Lynx 21b engines but later re-engined with 340PS Super Lynx to Type III standards and the other two with American 300PS Wright Whirlwinds for comparison. The planes armament comprised single 7,62mm machine guns in each of two open cockpits in nose and amidships plus external racks for up to four 125kg bombs. The Super Lynx variants proofed quite successful and an order of 20 Type IIIs was placed. The “Commodores” served primarily with No. 4 Squadron in Montevideo and No. 6 Squadron in Buenos Aires until 1934 when all surviving planes joined the Seaplane and Bomber Reconnaissance Training School on its formation at Porto Alegre.

A brand new „Commodore“ awaiting first flight

First Flight: 14.04.1925
Type: Forest fire-suppression aircraft and reconnaissance plane
Power: 2x 340PS 7-cyl.-engine (radial)
Crew: 5
Vmax: 157km/h
Vcruise: 135km/h
Range: 1000km or up to 6h on patrol
Weapons: 500kg bombs, 2 7,62mm MG

TMD “Cloud II” (alias Saro Cutty Sark)

In 1928 Dr. August Doormans small aircraft factory and design bureau was bought by Thomson-Martinez, flying boat manufacturers based at Buenos Aires. Dr. Doorman became partner and the company renamed in TMD (Thomson-Martinez-Doorman) in 1929. The new company's first design was the “Cloud”. It is a shoulder-winged twin-engined four-seat amphibian monoplane with an all-metal hull and plywood covered wings. The above-wing pylon-mounted engines could easily be changed, and a variety of different engines were used to power the “Clouds”. The RSAF Costal Command decided to buy twelve “Clouds” in 1930 for No. 8 Squadron in Mar del Plata for use as reconnaissance and patrol planes. Therefore the civil design was altered to allow the installation of a single 7,62mm machine gun on a ring above the cockpit and racks to carry up to 250kg bombs. These militarized planes became known as “Cloud IIs”.

A Cloud II during maintenance, note the open port engine cover.

First Flight: 23.08.1929
Type: Forest fire-suppression aircraft and reconnaissance plane
Power: 2x 150PS 5-cyl.-engine (radial)
Crew: 4
Vmax: 185km/h
Vcruise: 154km/h
Range: 1000km or up to 6h on patrol
Weapons: 250kg bombs, 1 7,62mm MG

Marwijk Model 9D "Whale" (alias Saro London)

Marwijk Model 9 was designed in response to the Air Ministry Specification 31/21 issued for a "General Purpose Open Sea Patrol Flying Boat" and was based on Marwijks experience with earlier flying boats, especially the Model 7. The first prototype, named Model 9A, flew in 1931 fitted with two 825PS radial engines, mounted on the upper wing to keep them clear of spray while taking off and landing. The first deliveries of production aircraft (Model 9B) began in March 1933 with 890PS Pegasus VII engines, and from the eleventh aircraft onwards the 915PS Pegasus X engine was fitted instead and the aircraft's designation changed to 9C. Earlier “Whales” were retrofitted with the Pegasus X and were given the 9C designation. In October 1934 Marwijk used five “Whales” equipped with external fuel tanks to demonstrate long-distance reconnaissance flights from South Africa to India or across the Atlantic Ocean. In this configuration they had a range of nearly 3400km and the RSAF was quite willing to place another order of what was now the Model 9D.

A “Whale” during a patrol flight. Note the external fuel tank on her back.

First Flight: 12.11.1931
Type: Long-range reconnaissance and patrol plane
Power: 2x 915PS 9-cyl.-engine (radial)
Crew: 4
Vmax: 253km/h
Vcruise: 190km/h
Range: 3200km or up to 12h on patrol
Weapons: 900kg bombs, mines or depth charges, 1 15mm MG, 3 7,62mm MG


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Thursday, February 22nd 2007, 4:39pm

Transports and Civil Planes

AeroDynamics Type 13 "Skyliner" (alias Blohm & Voss BV 142)

The AD Type 13 "Skyliner" comes as a modified AD Type 12 "Albatross". A standard landing gear replaces the military versions floats and radial engines which are more common among civil aircrafts replace the 12-cycl.-engines. Due to its origin - a military aircraft - her fuselage is too narrow to install a 2-2 seat installation so only 20 passerngers will find a place. On the other hand the very modern design with its powerful engines allows a good range and speed.

Skyliner preparing for take off

First Flight: 2.5.1933
Type: Long range passenger plane
Power: 4x 880PS 9-cyl.-engine (radial)
Crew: 6
Vmax: 400km/h
Vcruise: 340 km/h
Range: 3200km
Passenger: 20


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Friday, February 23rd 2007, 5:48pm


Martin-Zand RB-5D "Longbow" (alias HS124)

Based on the experience with the inlane engines used for the "Crocodile" variant of the RB-5 and focused on the Air Ministry´s request for a heavy escort/strike aircraft the Martin-Zand Company proposed to convert their twin-engine recce plane accordingly. The result, the RB-5D "Longbow", features a modified fuselage including a new cockpit. While an easy to fly aircraft she lost the contest against the DeBroek FD-2 which proofed to be superior in the intended role and no orders were placed. So after only 5 prototypes were build it seemed the RB-5Ds career would be over before it even started. However, Martin-Zand decided to build a small series of 20 planes for export purpose but no customer could be found before the war in South America broke out and all efforts to find foreign buyers came to a halt. The planes were packed in crates and send to the war zone to build up two full squadrons. TWo more were assembled from spare parts and also found their way to the front.

First Flight: 27.02.1934
Type: Heavy fighter escort and strike aircraft
Power: 2x 960PS 12-cyl.-engine (inline)
Crew: 3
Vmax: 532km/h
Vcruise: 350 km/h
Range: 1750km
Weapons: 2 20mm cannons, 4 7,62mm MG and up to 400kg bombs


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Friday, March 9th 2007, 4:56pm

Reconnaissance Planes

Martin-Zand RB-5B "Flying Window" (alias Henschel Hs 124)

In 1930 the Air Ministry´s experts forsaw the need for a modern land based long range reconnaissance plane for use in medium altitudes, capable of carrying several cameras and observers over a distance of at least 2000km. Written down in specification 32/13 several aircraft companies were asked to make their proposals. Martin-Zand, an english-dutch company in Bloemfontein which was founded in 1924 by bussiness man Thomas Martin and engineer Cornelis Zand, introduced their Design 252 (The Designs number referred to the specification - 2 engines, 5 crew, 2000km range.) which was seen as best suited of all competitors. The new planes short maiden flight on the 22.9.1932 took place without much press but when the prototype plane crashed during its second flight - gladly without any losses of life - several reporter had been there. As a result a discussion started if the new plane was really a sound design. Only when the second prototype was ready to fly and completed a successful test programm all voices asking the Air Ministry to shut down the program became silent. Finally orders were given to complete 60 planes of which the first will enter service in late ´33.

A Martin-Zand RB-5B "Flying Window" on a airfield near Bloemfontein

Line-drawings of the RB-5B and C variants

First Flight: 22.9.1932
Type: Long range reconnaissance plane
Power: 2x 800PS 9-cyl.-engine (radial)
Crew: 5
Vmax: 415km/h
Vcruise: 340 km/h
Range: 2200km
Weapons: 4 cameras, 800kg bombs, 2 7,62mm MG

Martin-Zand RB-5C "Crocodile" (alias Henschel Hs 124)

Early in 1932 Martin-Zand proposed a modification to their Design 252. The Air Ministry was looking for a trainer for their bomber crews and so the 252 was re-designed to fit this role. A nose turret was added for gunnery training and her cockpit modified to that of a bomber. Also allowing night flight training the new variant of the "Flying Window" seemed to offer everything one could expect from a multi-role trainer. However, the Air Ministry requested the plane to be equiped with inline engines according to the latest specification for a heavy bomber (AM specification B32/6 which lead to the Devestator bomber) which resulted in a modification of the planes wings. Now capable of carrying LMF750/760s (clockwise and counter-clockwise) of 750PS each the plane was presented in October 1933 to some Air Ministry high ranks when they visited Martin-Zands plant at Bloemfontein because of the "problems" with the RB-5B. Their response to the plane was positive and 12 airframes were soon ordered.

Prototype of the Crocodile waiting for a flight

First Flight: 13.10.1932
Type: Trainer / Medium range reconnaissance plane
Power: 2x 750PS 12-cyl.-engine (inline)
Crew: 3+3
Vmax: 400km/h
Vcruise: 330 km/h
Range: 1750km
Weapons: 1000kg bombs, 4 7,62mm MG


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Sunday, September 2nd 2007, 1:17pm

Carrier-borne Planes

de Graaf DB-1A "Cutlass" (alias Aichi D1A1)

Prior to the introduction of the Cutlass the Royal South African Navy had used foreign designs to test carrier doctrines on their first carrier RSAN Wim Kraash. However, with the Navy´s first purpose-build carrier nearing completion the Navy Air Arm asked for their own design for a carrier-borne strike aircraft, using all the experience they had gained by testing planes of various origin. The de Graaf Company, a small manufactor of civilian single and double deaters known to be very robust, was ordered to delivers such design based on their experience. As a result de Graaf presented the DB-1A, her designation reflecting her intended role as dive bomber. The prototype was promising and after 5 month of trials with a series of 6 pre-production planes an order for 56 DB-1As was placed. De Graaf handed over the first batch of 12 Cutlass´ early enough to form the Navy Air Arms first strike squadron when RSAN Hammer completed her trials in November 1927. Orders later increased to over 120 planes as more squadrons received their Cutlass´ and loss due to accidents had to be compensated.

Most likely an early pre-production planes as her cowling differs from later mass-production planes.

A flight from RSAN Forge during SAINT Exercises 1932

First Flight: 27.8.1926
Type: Dive Bomber
Power: 1x 570PS 9-cyl.-engine (radial)
Crew: 2
Vmax: 309km/h
Vcruise: 250km/h
Range: 930km
Weapons: 250kg bombs, 3 7,62mm MG

de Graaf DB-1C "Cutlass" (alias Aichi D1A1)

The C variant features a more powerful engine for increased performance, a 15mm MG replacing her forward armament and and a more modern radio set. Several old DB-1A have been modified to C standards.

First Flight: 14.9.1928
Type: Dive Bomber
Power: 1x 650PS 9-cyl.-engine (radial)
Crew: 2
Vmax: 332km/h
Vcruise: 260km/h
Range: 950km
Weapons: 250kg bombs, 1 15mm MG, 1 7,62mm MG

Snider Type 24 "Shark" (alias Vought Vindicator)

The Shark was inteded to replace the aging Cutlass which had been outclassed by more modern foreign designs in the early 30s. The rapid development and introduction of more and more advanced technologies lead to specification 31/33 asking for a
metal-build monoplane to replace the DB-1A as standard dive bomber. Snider offered their Type 24 which, on paper, seem to perfectly match all requirements. The Air Ministry soon placed an order for 10 prototypes and work at the Snider plant in Kimberley began. Everybody was expecting a stunning success but the plane turned out the opposite. During first flight Major Berkin nearly crashed and also during following flights the handly of the new aircrafts proofed difficult at beast. Modifications to her tail and rudders showed some effect and trial continued. Driven by COnfidence in their enginner and a soon to come order by the Government Sniders management decided to begin production for parts in preparation of mass-production in autumn 1932. However, trials with the now so-called Shark remained difficult and her pilots discribed her as a "real beast to fly" and critizised the cockpits position making it impossible to see any markings on a carriers deck. The Air Ministry then decided to stop the failed project. Snider, having spend all their money into proparations for mass-produciton, placed a last offer hoping to avoid insolvency. Using parts already produced about 40 planes could be ssembled and were bought by the Navy as some kind of stop-gap until a more successful successor to the Cutlass could be aquired.

The first Type 24 prior to her maiden flight

Showing her profile...

Line drawing of the Shark

First Flight: 4.11.1931
Type: Dive Bomber
Power: 1x 825PS 9-cyl.-engine (radial)
Crew: 2
Vmax: 404km/h
Vcruise: 280km/h
Range: 1000km
Weapons: 450kg bombs, 2 7,62mm MG

de Graaf DB-7A "Stinger" (alias Hawker Henley)

Following the disaster with the Snider Type 24 the Royal South African Navy was still in the severe need for a new dive bomber to operate from their carriers. A new specification was handed out to several designers. Hartig and de Graaf were ordered to build a prototype and both planes were compared. The de Graaf design won the contest due to the experience the company already had with carrier-borne aircrafts and - then labelled "Stinger" - 90 planes were ordered for immediate delivery. The Hornet is an ordinary plane with an emphasis on robust design. The prototype used a LMF1200 VII inline engine with 960PS but for mass production the slightly more powerful LMF1200 IX which provides 1050PS will be used. Heavily armed with a 500kg bomb, two machine guns of 7,62mm calibre in her wings and a single rear-firing 7,62mm MG the plane reached a top speed of 438km/h during trials but manoeuvrability was limited. The first run of these new bombers will be available for duty in summer 1935.

First Flight: 10.3.1934
Type: Dive Bomber
Power: 1x 1050PS 12-cyl.-engine (inline)
Crew: 2
Vmax: 438km/h
Vcruise: 310km/h
Range: 1200km
Weapons: 500kg bombs, 3 7,62mm MG

Foller Fo 137 Mk I "Vulture" (alias Blom & Voss Ha 137)

The Fo 137 Vulture was designed as the RSANs new carrier borne fighter plane. A heavy and solid undercarriage was deemed necessary for the plane to survive heavy shocks during flight operations from a carrier. A powerful radial engine was chosen because designers expected such an engine to be more reliable than an inline engine. Resulting from these to features was a rather high aerodynamic resistance which impaired the planes performance negatively. However, the plane was still an improvement over the elderly and fragil biplanes then still in use with the navy and thus it was decided to order a first batch of 80 Fo 137s.

First Flight: 25.09.1930
Type: Fighter
Power: 1x 800PS 9-cyl.-engine (radial)
Crew: 1
Vmax: 470km/h
Vcruise: 340km/h
Range: 600km
Weapons: 4 7,62mm MG

Foller Fo 137 Mk II "Vulture II" (alias Blom & Voss Ha 137)

Due to the high drag of both the fixed landing gear and the large radial engine performance of the Mk I was not entirely satisfying. So designers at Foller re-worked the plane. Besides some aerodynamic fine tuning the most outstanding difference was the now used inline engine which not only produce less drag but also increased the pilot´s line of sight forward. The Mk II was superior to the older version in general and the original order was replaced by an order of 100 VUlture IIs.

First Flight: 7.11.1931
Type: Fighter
Power: 1x 770PS 12-cyl.-engine (inline)
Crew: 1
Vmax: 485km/h
Vcruise: 360km/h
Range: 650km
Weapons: 4 7,62mm MG

DeBroek FC-5A "Mercury" (alias Gloster F5/34)

When it became obvious the Vultures performance would fall behind modern land-based fighter planes due to her fixed landing gear a new aircraft was projected. Designed for the brand new 14-cyl. "Hurricane I" engine she also features an undercarriage retracting backwards and partially exposed - apparently this is to give cushioning in the case of a wheels up landing. Planned as a carrier-borne aircraft the FC-5 has excellent range. Her maiden flight was a success but during trials reliability of her new engine proofed a problem. Several times the first and second prototype were nearly lost when the lower cyclinders of the second row overheated. Modifications to the cowling and the oil cooler were necessary that nearly stalled the whole project and caused some delay. Flight characteristics are good and start of production is now planned for April 1935 should all problems with the Hurricane engine be solved.

First Flight: 6.8.1934
Type: Fighter
Power: 1x 1120PS 14-cyl.-engine (radial)
Crew: 1
Vmax: 570km/h
Vcruise: 490km/h
Range: 1400km
Weapons: 2 15mm MG, 4 7,62mm MG

Foller Fo 122 MK III "Kingklip" (alias Yokosuka B4Y1)

The Kingklip, named after an African eel, is a three-seat single engine bi-plane carrier attack airplane employed by the Royal South African Navy on their flattops since 1930. In 1927 the RSAN issued a requirement for a new carrier-borne attack aircraft. Foller, de Graaf and Snider responded to this requirement and each built prototype aircraft. However, none of these aircraft were deemed satisfactory, and the RSAN thus issued a new requirement in 1929 for a more capable aircraft to replace the obsolescent foreign designs then in service. The Fo 122 was designed by Tom Wilms to meet the new requirements. The design produced was a bi-plane with fixed landing gear and an all-metal structure covered with either metal or fabric. The Fo
122 was the RSANs first home-build carrier torpedo bomber. She has a crew of three. The pilot sits in an open cockpit while the navigator and the radio operator/gunner are located in an enclosed rear cockpit.

First Flight: 14.9.1930
Type: Torpedo bomber and reconnaissance plane
Power: 1x 800PS 9-cyl.-engine (radial)
Crew: 3
Vmax: 265km/h
Vcruise: 195km/h
Range: 1580km
Weapons: 800kg torpedo or 500kg bomb, 2 7,62mm MG

DeBroek TB-9A "Petrel" (alias Saab 17A)

The first sketches for the RSANs new torpedo bomber were brought to paper in 1933 but calculated characteristics were not satisfying. So the plane went through several design stages on the drawing boards before DeBroek finally started to build a prototype plane in 1934. Originally designed for a 9-cyl-radial she was altered once more when the 14-cyl. "Hurricane I" engine became available. The half-build prototype had to be scrapped and a new one build which finally had its 30 minutes first flight in March 1935. The plane is a remarkable step ahead compared to the old “Kingklip” she will replace. She features a modern metal-build fuselage and folding mono wings which fold just outside the retractable landing gear. The latter is similar to that of the “Mercury” fighter and allows some cushioning in case of a wheels up landing. The plane can be armed with a standard 800kg torpedo below her fuselage or up to 500kg of bombs inside a bomb bay. Two forward firing machine guns and a third one for the rear gunner add to the “Petrels” armament. Current flight tests have revealed some problems with stalling but due to the situation in South America the RSAN ordered a first batch of 50 planes nevertheless. The first of these planes are expected to be delivered in autumn.

Early Petrel in flight, August 1935

First Flight: 18.3.1935
Type: Torpedo bomber and reconnaissance plane
Power: 1x 1120PS 14-cyl.-engine (radial)
Crew: 3
Vmax: 427km/h
Vcruise: 365km/h
Range: 1720km
Weapons: 800kg torpedo or 500kg bomb, 3 7,62mm MG


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Sunday, September 16th 2007, 1:12am

Ground Attack Planes and Dive Bomber

Walter WA-98E "Bulldog" (alias Fiesler Fi 98)

The Bulldog was designed to meet the RSAFs requirements for a light and agile plane that could complement the existing bomber force. Usually bombers attack in horizontal flight by dropping bombs into a large area. Small or single targets were rarely hit by these attacks and so a new weapon was needed to bomb those targets "imune" to standard bomber tactics. Soon it became evident such plane would also have the potential to directly support ground forces similar to artillery spotter and attack planes during the Great War. Well protected against light infantry fire by some steel plates below the engine, tank and pilot and armed with two machine guns and light bombs the new plane added a new tactical element. Against two other competitors Walter´s design proofed best suited and orders were placed to equipe five wings with the new plane.

First Flight: 14.06.1929
Type: Ground Attack Plane/Dive Bomber
Power: 1x 650PS 9-cyl.-engine (radial)
Crew: 1
Vmax: 338km/h
Vcruise: 265km/h
Range: 570km
Weapons: 250kg bombs, 2 7,62mm MG

JFM DB-4B "Mosquito" (alias Heinkel He 118)

While a success in general the WA-98E has its shortcomings, most notably her low speed and range but also her general obsolete layout. Using modern technologies like a retractable landing gear, closed cockpit and mono wing the Mosquito is superior to the Bulldog. Only in regarding agility the older bi-plane can score. With four fixed and forward firing machine guns and twice the bomb load of the older Bulldog the new DB-4B packs a much heavier punch. Jong Airframe Manufacturing is expected to deliver first front-line planes in early 1935.

First Flight: 30.03.1933
Type: Ground Attack Plane/Dive Bomber
Power: 1x 920PS 12-cyl.-engine (inline)
Crew: 2
Vmax: 467km/h
Vcruise: 385km/h
Range: 1200km
Weapons: 500kg bombs, 5 7,62mm MG


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Sunday, March 9th 2008, 3:33pm

Planes on RSAN units

Marwijk Model 4C "Strider" (alias Canadian Vickers Vedette)

Originally designed as forestry protection plane for South America the small pusher biplane became one of the first on-board planes in use with the Royal South African Navy. Several variants using different engines were build but the most common version is presented here, the 4C using a BMG Lynx radial of 200PS. The plane, designed for rivers, did not fair too well under high sea conditions and was replaced by the WB VI Seagull which was purposely designed for on-board use with RSAN units.

An early Strider on a river in Grand Uruguay

Export version during flight

First Flight: 04.11.1923
Type: Sea borne reconnaissance plane
Power: 1x 200PS 7-cyl.-engine (radial)
Crew: 2
Vmax: 153km/h
Vcruise: 135km/h
Range: 500km
Weapons: 1 7,62mm MG

Wilson-Brown WB VI "Seagull" (alias Fairey Seafox)

The Seagull was the first floatplane ordered by the RSAN especially for the use on board their warships. At the beginning, when airborne elements and catapults were introduced to naval warfare, the RSAN adopted aicrafts then available generally. However, those planes all lacked in some regards and so the Navy requested their own design. The specification asked for a small, light-weight floatplane with a crew of 2 and a range no less than 600km which could be launched from the ships catapults. As a result the RSAN got the Wilson-Brown WB VI which entered service in 1928 after trials on RSAN Iringa were successful.

A Seagull approaching a stand after a flight

First Flight: 25.6.1927
Type: Sea borne reconnaissance plane
Power: 1x 380PS 8-cyl.-engine (inline)
Crew: 2
Vmax: 210km/h
Vcruise: 170km/h
Range: 700km
Weapons: 2 7,62mm MG

Wilson-Brown WB IX "Sea Dart" (alias Focke-Wulf FW 62)

Wilson-Browns WB IX was developed when continual use of the WB VI proofed the small Seagull to be too fragile for ongoing use with the navy and more powerful catapults allowed heavier planes to be launched from ships. So design work began in 1929 and in late 1930 the new planes maiden flight took place. Featured with an engine more than twice the power of the older Seagull the new Sea Dart was faster, could climb higher and carry a heavier armament. She entered service after half a year of tests and trials and soon became the standard ship-born floatplane of the Royal South African Navy. A total of 76 Sea Darts were ordered.

A Sea Dart during engine test at Wilson-Browns facility

First Flight: 16.12.1930
Type: Sea borne reconnaissance plane
Power: 1x 800PS 9-cyl.-engine (radial)
Crew: 2
Vmax: 280km/h
Vcruise: 220km/h
Range: 750km
Weapons: 100kg bombs, 3 7,62mm MG