The Albacore torpedo-bombing biplane was first flown in prototype form on 12 December 1938. During the spring of 1940 the first production aircraft entered FAA service and for the remainder of that year were flown mainly on coastal patrol, spotter-reconnaissance, minelaying and night-bombing duties. In 1941 the Albacores went to sea in HMS Formidable and other carriers and from then were active on convoy protection duties in the Baltic and in anti-submarine and other roles in the Mediterranean and elsewhere.
The Albacore was removed from FAA service in late 1943, having never performed its intended role as a Swordfish replacement. It had a more powerful 794kW Bristol Taurus or 842kW Taurus XII 14-cylinder sleeve-valve air-cooled radial engine in the NACA cowling with leading-edge exhaust collector and trailing-edge controllable gills, enclosed cockpits for the crew of two or three, one forward-firing 7.7mm Browning and two rear-mounted 7.7mm Vickers guns on a Fairey high-speed mounting, and hydraulically operated flaps.
The last Albacores in operational service were those ex-FAA aircraft taken over by the RCAF and used during the Allied advance into Europe from mid-1944. Production totalled 803 aircraft.
Engine; 1 x Bristol Taurus XII, 843kW / 1115 hp
Max take-off weight; 4745 kg / 10461 lb
Empty weight; 3289 kg / 7251 lb
Wingspan; 15.24 m / 50 ft 0 in
Length; 12.14 m / 39 ft 10 in
Height; 4.32 m / 14 ft 2 in
Wing area; 57.88 sq.m / 623.01 sq ft
Wing loading: 16.81 lb/sq.ft / 82.00 kg/sq.m
Max. speed; 259 km/h / 161 mph
Cruise speed; 101 kts / 187 km/h / 116 mph
Ceiling; 6310 m / 20700 ft
Range; 808 nm / 1497 km / 930 miles
Armament; 3 x 7.7mm machine-guns, 1 x 730kg torpedo, 6 x 113kg or 4 x 227kg bombs