The Fairey Ferret was a 1930s British general-purpose biplane designed and built by the Fairey Aviation Company.[1] It performed well in trials but was not ordered into production.[1]

Ferret Mk.III
Role Two-seat general-purpose biplane
National origin United Kingdom
Manufacturer Fairey Aviation Company
First flight June 1925
Number built 3

Development edit

The Ferret was designed to meet a Fleet Air Arm requirement defined by specification 37/22[2] for a reconnaissance aircraft; it was the company's first all-metal design.[1] With a lack of interest from the FAA the company proposed the design to meet a Royal Air Force requirement for a general-purpose biplane.[1]

The company built three prototypes, two were three-seaters (to meet the naval requirement) and the third was a two-seater.[1] The two-seater Ferret III was also fitted with a new Fairey-designed high-speed gun mounting in the rear cockpit.[1] The first prototype first flew in June 1925 powered by a 400 hp (298 kW) Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar IV radial engine.[1] The other two aircraft had a nine-inch extension to the wingspan and both were fitted with a 425 hp (317 kW) Bristol Jupiter radial engine.[1]

The aircraft performed well during trials at RAF Martlesham Heath but was not ordered into production.[1]

Variants edit

Fairey Ferret I
Ferret Mk I
Three-seat prototype powered by a 400hp (298kW) Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar IVl radial engine, one built.[1]
Ferret Mk II
Three-seat prototype powered by a 425hp (317kW) Bristol Jupiter radial engine, one built.[1]
Ferret Mk III
Two-seat prototype powered by a 425hp (317kW) Bristol Jupiter radial engine, one built.[1]

Specifications (Ferret III) edit

Data from [1]

General characteristics

  • Crew: two
  • Length: 29 ft 6 in (8.99 m)
  • Wingspan: 40 ft 7 in (12.37 m)
  • Height: 10 ft 3 in (3.12 m)
  • Wing area: 380 sq ft (35.30 m2)
  • Empty weight: 2,583 lb (1,172 kg)
  • Gross weight: 4,765 lb (2,161 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Bristol Jupiter VI 9-cylinder radial engine , 425 hp (317 kW)


  • Maximum speed: 135 mph (217 km/h, 117 kn) at 5,000 ft (1,524 m)
  • Service ceiling: 15,500 ft (4,725 m)
  • Rate of climb: 920 ft/min (4.67 m/s) initial [2]


  • 1 × fixed forward-firing 0.303in (7.7mm) Vickers machine-gun (on starboard side of fuselage)
  • 1 × 0.303in (7.7mm) Lewis machine-gun in rear cockpit
  • Up to 500lb (227kg) bombs fitted under wings

See also edit

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

Related lists

References edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Orbis 1985, pp. 1695-1696
  2. ^ a b Taylor 1974, pp. 129–133

Bibliography edit

  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982-1985). Orbis Publishing.
  • Taylor, H.A. (1974). Fairey Aircraft since 1915. London: Putnam Publishing. ISBN 0-370-00065-X.