Swordfish bombers receive £500,000 cash injection to keep them flying
From Royal Navy:
Half a million pounds will be spent keeping the Fleet Air Arm’s most iconic aircraft in the skies – wowing the crowds and serving as a living memorial to naval aviators
The Fly Navy Heritage Trust expects to receive £500,000 from fines imposed on the banks for the LIBOR scandal so it can carry out repairs and build up a surplus of spare parts for a pair of World War 2 Swordfish.
The trust raises money to keep the vintage torpedo bombers airborne – as well as other legends of naval aviation in the Royal Navy Historic Flight, the Fleet Air Arm’s equivalent of the RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.
They are priceless national treasures and this grant will make a real difference enabling us to provide a vital third Pegasus engine and all the spares needed to keep both aircraft flying for many years into the future.Rear Admiral Terry Loughran
The flight, based at RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset, maintains the Swordfish, plus Sea Hawk and Sea Vixen jets from the 50s and 60s, and a Sea Fury fighter from the late 40s, currently undergoing repairs after a crash landing at Culdrose last summer.
The two Swordfish – an original Mk1, W5856, and a later Mk2, LS326 – are the only airworthy models left of nearly 2,400 aircraft built between 1936 and 1944.
Though obsolete when war broke out in 1939, the three-man bomber went on to knock out the Italian Fleet at Taranto, crippled the Bismarck so the big guns of the Home Fleet could finish off Hitler’s flagship, and performed sterling service as trainers and on anti-submarine patrols up to the end of the conflict.
Last year the restored Swordfish made half a dozen appearances at air shows around the UK. Weather conditions and availability allowing, they also carry out fly-pasts at important RN memorial events, such as Battle of the Atlantic commemorations.
“The Swordfish sits at the heart of the nation’s Naval aviation heritage and is the embodiment of the ethos, innovation and inspiration of naval flying,” said Rear Admiral Terry Loughran, chairman of the Fly Navy Heritage Trust.
“They are priceless national treasures and this grant will make a real difference enabling us to provide a vital third Pegasus engine and all the spares needed to keep both aircraft flying for many years into the future.
“Keeping the Swordfish flying is not only a living memorial to the service and sacrifice of the 6,750 naval personnel who have given their lives in Naval aviation, it is also a dynamic and exciting way to bring history to life, educating and informing modern audiences of the important part played by the Royal Naval Air Service and Fleet Air Arm in the history of our nation.”
The LIBOR cash injection is part of a £35m fund for military charities and good causes, with £3m of hand-outs to the RN announced by Chancellor George Osborne at the end of January.