Blackburn Krait Mk-I
The Blackburn B.44 was a British single-engined fighter aircraft designed by Blackburn Aircraft in 1942. It was notable as a rare example of a flying boat fighter, featuring Blackburn's unique retractable hull, and designed to meet the requirements of Air Ministry Specification N.2/42.
After Japan's initial successes in the Pacific during World War II, the need for a fighter aircraft capable of operating from austere island sites with minimal infrastructure was regarded as a high priority.
N.2/42 called for a retractable-hull flying-boat fighter, and Blackburn decided to utilise as much of the structure of the Blackburn Firebrand as possible. The fuselage of the aircraft was split in two with the lower float-like half extending and retracting hydraulically.
The B-44 was powered by the Napier "Sabre" engine outputting 2,240 horsepower engine which was in the nose of the upper fuselage half, and armament was to have been carried in the wings. The first prototype of the B-44 flew in August 1943 and after a short test phase the first production aircraft was delivered to the Fleet Air Arm in March 1944.
The B-44 was named Krait after a venomous sea snake.
The Krait Mk-I was deployed to the far east and stationed at numerous small Islands to defend them after being liberated from the Japanese. There were only a few recorded instances in which the Kraits encountered Japanese fighter aircraft and although the Krait ware quite fast, it was too heavy and was easily out manoeuvred by the nimble Japanese fighters.
The Kraits did however manage to shoot down a number of Japanese bombers from the end of 1943 onwards. As the Japanese withdrew more and more from the Pacific the usefulness of the Krait diminished and the type was withdrawn from service in early 1945.
In all 452 Kraits were produced.
Model by Unicraft in 1/72