The Fairey P.4/34
was a competitor for an order for a light bomber
to serve with the Royal Air Force
. Although not produced in that form, it formed the basis for the Fairey Fulmar
long range carrier based fighter for the Fleet Air Arm
the Air Ministry
issued Specification P.4/34
which called for a light bomber that could also be deployed in a close-support role. Fairey
all supplied proposed designs; authorisation was given for the construction of Hawker and Fairey's designs. The P.4/34
design was a low wing all metal monoplane, powered by a Rolls-Royce Merlin
engine, with a crew of two accommodated in tandem under a long glazed canopy. Its layout was similar to the Fairey's earlier Battle
bomber, but the P.4/34 was smaller and had a wide track, inwards-retracting undercarriage. The aircraft was stressed for dive bombing, as required by the specification, and carried its load of two 250 lb bombs underwing (the competing Hawker aircraft had an internal bomb bay).
Two Fairey P.4/34s were ordered, with the first (serial K5099) flying on 13 January 1937. The Hawker prototype followed on 10 March 1937. The Hawker was deemed superior, however the demand for a light bomber had changed and it would enter service as a target tug. The Royal Danish Navy purchased a license to build the P.4/34 and a production line set up at the Danish Naval Workshops (Orlogsvaerftet) in Copenhagen. However, none of the 12 aircraft ordered was completed by the time of the German Invasion of Denmark in 1940.
The P.4/34 would serve as the basis for a two seat long range carrier based fighter for the Fleet Air Arm to meet the requirements of Specification O.8/38. The second prototype P.4/34 (serial K7555) was therefore modified (with amonst other things a reduced span wing and lowered tailplane as an aerodynamic prototype for the Fairey Fulmar. It was later used to test retractable Fairey-Youngman flaps to be used on the Fairey Firefly fighter, while the first prototype was used for tests of the effects of flying into barrage balloon cables.
- Mason, Francis K. The British Bomber since 1914. London: Putnam Aeronautical Books, 1994. ISBN 0-85177-861-5.
- Taylor, H.A. Fairey Aircraft since 1915. London: Putnam, 1974. ISBN 0-370-00065-x.