Martin-Baker M.B.3


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Martin-Baker M.B.3

During 1939, Martin-Baker Aircraft designed a new fighter around which was drawn up Specification F.18/39. As with its predecessor the precepts of structural simplicity and sturdiness dominated the design. The fuselage still made use of a patented system of steel tubes, but the skin was stressed light alloy and the wing had a more conventional torsion box structure., Three prototypes were ordered and, designated M.B.3, the first of these was flown on 31 August 1942 with a 2020hp Napier Sabre II 24-cylinder horizontal-H type engine. Armament comprised six 20mm cannon. Only limited handling and performance data had been obtained when, on 12 September 1942, the M.B.3 was destroyed in an accident. Extensive redesign was introduced prior to the completion of the second prototype, which emerged as the M.B.5.

Martin-Baker M.B.3A three-view drawing (1280 x 930)

  Take-off weight5215 kg11497 lb
  Wingspan10.67 m35 ft 0 in
  Length10.77 m35 ft 4 in
  Height4.74 m16 ft 7 in
  Wing area24.40 m2262.64 sq ft
  Max. speed668 km/h415 mph

Klaatu83, e-mail, 04.01.2013 22:54

This airplane was only flown a few times, but early handling assessments were reputedly excellent. Unfortunately, the prototype crashed not due to any fault with the airplane itself, but because it's Napier Sabre engine failed just after take-off. The crash killed the test pilot, who happened to be a Valentine Baker, a partner in the Martin-Baker firm. It was a doubly unfortunate loss, not only because of the death of Baker, but because it ended the development of the MB-3, which may well have become one of the very best fighters of World War II.


Paul C. Aranha, e-mail, 14.03.2012 21:22

I enjoyed your write-ups on the three M-B aircraft. Thanks!
The MB-1 first flew at Northolt in April 1935.
The MB-2 at Harwell on August 3, 1938.
The MB-3 at Wing on August 31, 1942.
The MB-5 at Harwell on May 23, 1944.
You did not mention the role played by the late Francis Francis, in the development of this company.


Terrence I. Murphy, e-mail, 11.02.2012 00:10

The prototype crashed killing the pilot. The program was cancelled.


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