|Sopwith Baby in use with the Royal Norwegian Navy Air Service|
|Role||Single-seat scout and bomber biplane seaplane|
|Manufacturer||Sopwith Aviation Company|
|First flight||September 1915|
|Primary users||Royal Naval Air Service
Aviazione della Regia Marina
|Number built||386[note 1]|
|Developed from||Sopwith Schneider|
|Variants||Fairey Hamble Baby|
Development and design
The Baby (also known as the Admiralty 8200 Type) was a development of the two-seat Sopwith Schneider. Although the Schneider had won the Schneider trophy in 1914, the RNAS did not place a formal order until January 1915. Sopwith's initial production version of the Baby differed little from the Schneider Trophy winner.
The Baby utilized a wooden structure with fabric covering. A Lewis Gun was fitted, either above the fuselage firing through the propeller arc without the benefit of synchronization, or over the top wing, firing above it. To meet the more demanding conditions of 1916–18, Further modifications were made on aircraft built by Blackburn Aircraft at Leeds, United Kingdom. A modified variant of the Baby, the Fairey Hamble Baby was built by Fairey and Parnall.
The Royal Naval Air Service ordered 286 Sopwith Babies of which 100 were built by Sopwith at Kingston and 186 by Blackburn Aircraft at Leeds with others for export. License manufacture was also undertaken in Italy by SA Aeronautica Gio Ansaldo of Turin, who built 100 examples for the Italian Aviazione della Regia Marina.
The Baby was used as a shipborne reconnaissance and bomber aircraft operating from seaplane carriers and cruisers, as well as naval trawlers and minelayers. Many Babies were attached to RNAS coastal air stations located in England and Scotland and RNAS stations in Egypt, Greece and Italy.
Babies saw service with the United States, France, Chile, Greece and Norway. In Norway additional Babies were built as replacements, with some seeing service until 1930. Two of the 10 Sopwith Baby floatplanes that were acquired by the Royal Norwegian Navy Air Service were brought to Svalbard in the summer of 1928 to participate in the search for the lost Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen, but were not used for the search.
The original components of two Babies built by Sopwith, Nos. 8214 and 8215, have been utilized to complete a composite aircraft for display at the Fleet Air Arm Museum at RNAS Yeovilton, Somerset. The exhibit has been marked with the serial N-2078, which was a Blackburn-built aircraft, and has been named Jabberwock.
- Kingdom of Italy
- Aviazione della Regia Marina 102 examples from 1917-1923 (including 2 trials aircraft from the UK)
- Dutch Naval Aviation Service 1 example from 1916-1919 This was a Royal Naval Air Service aircraft that force landed forty miles from the Netherlands Coast, brought ashore by a Dutch trawler and interned.
- Royal Naval Air Service
- Royal Air Force
Data from Holmes, 2005. p 44.
- Crew: one
- Length: 23 ft 0 in (7.01 m)
- Wingspan: 25 ft 8 in (7.82 m)
- Height: 10 ft 0 in (3.05 m)
- Wing area: 240 ft² (22.30 m²)
- Empty weight: 1,226 lb (557 kg)
- Loaded weight: 1,715 lb (779 kg)
- Powerplant: 1 × Clerget rotary engine, driving a two blade wooden propeller, 110 hp (82 kW)
- Maximum speed: 87 knots (100 mph, 162 km/h) at sea level
- Service ceiling: 10,000 ft (3,050 m)
- Rate of climb: 285 ft/min (1.45 m/s)
- Endurance: 2.25 hrs
- 1 × Lewis gun
- 2 × 65 lb (28 kg) bombs
- 100 by Sopwith, 186 by Blackburn and 100 by Ansaldo
- Holmes, 2005. p 44.
- Lamberton, 1960. p 58.
- Woodman 1989, p. 173
- Alegi, 2001, pp.3-4
- Thetford, 1878, p. 291
- Ellis, 1977, p. 48
- World Air Forces - Australia accessdate: March 2014
- Huertas Air International February 1984, pp. 73–74.
- World Air Forces - France accessdate: March 2014
- World Air Forces - Greece accessdate: March 2014
- Alegi, 2001, pp.2-4 & 8
- World Air Forces - Japan accessdate: March 2014
- World Air Forces - Netherlands accessdate: March 2014
- World Air Forces - Norway accessdate: March 2014
- Alegi, Gregory (2001). Ansaldo Baby. Windsock Mini Datafile 15. Hertfordshire, UK: Albatros Publications. ISBN 978-1902207308.
- Bruce, J.M. (1996). Sopwith Baby. Windsock Datafile 60. Hertfordshire, UK: Albatros Publications. ISBN 978-0948414794.
- Ellis, Ken (1977). British Museum Aircraft. Liverpool: Merseyside Aviation Society. ISBN 0-902420-15-1.
- Holmes, Tony (2005). Jane's Vintage Aircraft Recognition Guide. London: Harper Collins. p. 44. ISBN 0-00-719292-4.
- Huertas, Salvador Mafé (February 1984). "The Chilean Air Force...an air arm with a problem". Air International. Vol. 26 (No. 2): pp. 69–74, 91, 98–101. ISSN 0306-5634.
- Lamberton, W.M. (1960). Fighter Aircraft of the 1914–1918 War. Herts, UK: Harleyford Publications.
- Thetford, Owen (1978). British Naval Aircraft since 1912. Putnam and Company Limited. ISBN 0-370-30021-1.
- Woodman, Harry (1989). Early Aircraft Armament. London: Arms and Armour. ISBN 0-85368-990-3.
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