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The Royal Navy's First Operational Jet Fighter



Richard A. Franks


Dalrymple & Verdun Publishing


S u m m a r y

Title and Author Attacker
The Royal Navy's First Operational Jet Fighter
by Richard A. Franks
Dalrymple & Verdun Publishing, 2007
ISBN: 1-905414-05-6
Media: Soft, glossy, laminated colour covers; 21.5cm x 28cm portrait format, printed in black and white on 80 good quality pages. Eight pages of colour artwork by Richard J Caruana plus over 80 black and white and colour photographs.
Price: GBP£14.95 plus post and packing
Review Type: First Read
Advantages: Welcome exposition on a pivotal, but often neglected, aircraft; excellent selection of photographs, many never published before; colour profiles by Richard J Caruana.
Recommendation: Recommended


Reviewed by Steve Naylor

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Following on from 'meatier' subjects such as the Javelin and Sea Vixen, the latest book in this series from Dalrymple & Verdun Publishing, covers the doughty Supermarine Attacker. Now somewhat overlooked in the lexicon of British and naval aircraft, it nevertheless provided valuable experience in the design and operation of jet aircraft from carriers, to both manufacturer and Royal Navy alike.

At just under A4 in size, the book is presented in the now familiar style; soft glossy covers with distinctive 'Pop Art' style cover artwork and two-columns-per-page text printed on semi-gloss/satin pages. As seems to be becoming the norm in this series, the real joy of this book are the supporting photographs. Illustrating the Attacker are some 80, mostly black and white, photographs derived from many sources, including private individuals and a significant proportion from the Fleet Air Arm Museum. Good photographs of the Attacker have, until now, been somewhat thin on the ground, but these excellent, mostly unpublished, views show the Attacker in development and squadron service to great advantage.

Apart from the photographs, the story of the Attacker is further enhanced by the inclusion of both a cutaway and technical illustrations from the manuals. There are also 8 pages containing 24 colour side profiles and 4-view illustrations by Richard J Caruana, covering the prototypes and aircraft in squadron service (grouped by variant). As a bonus, one of these profiles is of a Seafang FR.32, used in conjunction with the deck landing trials. One additional feature of the book this time round, is the inclusion of a set of 1:72 scale plans of the Attacker printed across two pages. Whilst a particularly welcome new feature for the modeller, if continued with, this does now highlight a slight shortcoming in the earlier volumes in this series.

Following the 'Foreword' and a brief description putting the Attacker into context, the story of the aircraft is covered by the book in five chapters and four appendices. Chapter one outlines the migration from the piston engine to the jet generally, then focussing on the Attacker's evolution. Once established, the remaining chapters describe: the prototype and into production ('Birth of the Attacker'); the Attacker's introduction to the Fleet Air Arm and further development ('Into Service'); other operators of the aircraft, particularly after it was withdrawn from front-line use ('RNVR, Second-Line and Foreign Service') and finally; an overview of the technical aspects of the aircraft, including those cutaway and technical line drawings ('F.1 Technical Description and Armament').

The four appendices cover: 'Technical Data' on the F.1/F.2/Royal Pakistan Air Force Attackers; 'Attacker Squadrons', including those used in Government research and testing, by the Royal Pakistan Air Force (the only foreign operator) and by the Fleet Requirements Unit; 'Colours and Markings', including the colour profile and 4-view illustrations as well as the scale plans and finally; 'Production', a full list of airframes, with notes on each serial's squadron allocation(s), and eventual disposition, etc. Concluding the book, there are Glossary & Bibliography and Index pages.





'Interim', is the 'moniker' or name most often applied to the Supermarine Attacker. Nobody was pretending that this design was the answer to the Royal Navy's jet fighter aspirations, outperformed as it was already by contemporaries such as the Meteor, and soon to be replaced by the Sea Hawk.

Looking like an ungainly fledgling on the ground, it performed well enough in the air but was distinctly hampered, especially for carrier operations, by an already outdated wing design and that 'tail-sitter' undercarriage.

‘Attacker – The Royal Navy's First Operational Jet Fighter’ may not be on everyone's book list, but for fans of the Fleet Air Arm it is an essential read and resource, placing this often maligned and neglected aircraft in its proper context.


Thanks to Dalrymple & Verdun Publishing for the review sample

Copies should be available to order from most good book retailers, but can also be ordered direct from:

Dalrymple & Verdun Publishing
33 Adelaide Street




Review Copyright © 2007 by Steve Naylor
This Page Created on 09 April, 2007
Last updated 24 December, 2007

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