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The Fairey Fawn was designed by F Duncanson of Fairey Aviation as a replacement for the Airco DH.9A in the light day-bomber role, to meet the requirements of Specification 5/21 for an aircraft for reconnaissance and army cooperation duties. It was a development of the Fairey Pintail floatplane, powered by a Napier Lion engine.
The first of three prototypes flew on 8 March 1923. The second and third prototypes were fitted with lengthened fuselages to improve stability, and this was adapted for the production version. The Fawn was fitted with fuel tanks above the top wing in order to meet Air Ministry safety requirements. These tanks posed a hazard to the pilots if the aircraft overturned on landing.
A revised specification 20/23 was issued which added the bomber role. Two prototypes and 48 production Fawn Mk II aircraft were ordered against the new specification in August 1923 to re-equip the home based DH.9A squadrons of the RAF, although the first two production aircraft were completed as short fuselage Fawn Mk Is. The remainder of this order were full production long fuselage Fawn Mk IIs. The Fawn Mk III was fitted with a more powerful 468 hp (350 kW) Lion V engine, while the Fawn Mk IV was fitted with a supercharged Lion VI engine.
The Fawn entered service with 12 Squadron in March 1924, equipping two further regular squadrons, 11 Squadron and 100 Squadron. Despite the fact that the Fawn was originally intended to replace all the home-based DH.9A squadrons, four more squadrons continued to be equipped with the DH.9A for several more years before being replaced by other types.
The Fawn was not a popular aircraft in RAF service, having little better performance than the aircraft it replaced, and having a poor view for the pilot owing to the bulky Lion engine.
The Fawn was replaced in these three regular squadrons in 1926, being replaced by the Hawker Horsley and the Fairey Fox. The aircraft freed up were used two equip two Special Reserve and Auxiliary Air Force squadrons, these remaining in service until 1929.
- Fawn Mk I
- Short fuselage - 450 hp (340 kW) Lion II engine. Two built
- Fawn Mk II
- Long Fuselage - 450 hp (340 kW) Lion II engine. Main production type - 48 built.
- Fawn Mk III
- 468 hp (349 kW) Lion V engine. 15 built.
- Fawn Mk IV
- 520 hp (390 kW) supercharged Lion VI engine. 12 built.
- Royal Air Force
- No. 11 Squadron RAF – April 1924–May 1927
- No. 12 Squadron RAF – May 1924–December 1926
- No. 100 Squadron RAF – May 1924–December 1926
- No 503 (County of Lincoln) Squadron RAF Special Reserve – October 1926–June 1929
- No 602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron RAF Auxiliary Air Force – September 1927–October 1929
Specifications (Fawn Mk III)
Data from The British Bomber since 1914 
- Crew: Two
- Length: 32 ft 1 in (9.78 m)
- Wingspan: 49 ft 11 in (15.22 m)
- Height: 11 ft 11 in (3.63 m)
- Wing area: 550 ft² (51.1 m²)
- Empty weight: 3,481 lb (1,582 kg)
- Loaded weight: 5,834 lb (2,652 kg)
- Powerplant: 1 × Napier Lion V 12 cylinder, water cooled broad arrow engines, 468 hp (349 kW)
- Maximum speed: 114 mph (99 kn, 184 km/h)
- Range: 650 mi (565 nmi, 1,047 km)
- Service ceiling: 13,850 ft (4,220 m)
- Wing loading: 10.6 lb/ft² (51.9 kg/m²)
- Power/mass: 0.08 hp/lb (0.132 kW/kg)
- Climb to 5,000 ft (1,520 m): 6 min 30 sec
- 1 × fixed, forward-firing .303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers machine gun
- 1 or 2 × .303 in (7.7 mm) Lewis Gun on Scarff ring in rear cockpit
- Up to 460 lb (209 kg) bombs underwing.
- Related development
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Related lists
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Fairey Fawn.|
- Mason 1994, p. 148.
- Taylor 1988, pp. 108–109.
- Thetford 1957, p. 202.
- Mason 1994, pp. 149–150.
- Mason 1994, p. 149.
- Thetford Aeroplane Monthly February 1993, p. 10.
- Mason 1994, p. 150.
- Jarrett, Philip. "By Day and By Night – Part 8: Fairey Fawn Development History". Aeroplane Monthly (January 1993): pp. 6–11. ISSN 0143-7240.
- Mason, Francis K (1994). The British Bomber since 1914. London: Putnam Aeronautical Books. ISBN 0-85177-861-5.
- Taylor, H. A (1988). Fairey Aircraft since 1915. London: Putnam. ISBN 0-370-00065-X.
- Thetford, Owen (1957). Aircraft of the Royal Air Force 1918-57 (1st ed.). London: Putnam.
- Thetford, Owen. "By Day and By Night – Part 9: Fairey Fawn Service History". Aeroplane Monthly (February 2003): pp. 6–10. ISSN 0143-7240.