|First flight||17 April 1926|
|Primary users||Fleet Air Arm|
Finnish Air Force
The Blackburn T.5 Ripon was a British carrier-based torpedo bomber and reconnaissance biplane which first flew in 1926. It was used by the Fleet Air Arm as a torpedo bomber from 1930 until 1935. Ripons were also sold to Finland, where they continued to be used in action in the Winter War and the Continuation War until 1944.
The Blackburn Ripon was designed to replace the single-seat Dart torpedo bomber. In accordance with Air Ministry Specification 21/23, it was also required to be used for long-range reconnaissance, for which a two-man crew was demanded. The first prototype flew on 17 April 1926 as a landplane, with the second prototype following on 26 August first flying as a seaplane. Initial trials against its competitors, the Handley Page Harrow and the Avro Buffalo, showed that none of the competitors were adequate, so the Ripon was redesigned with an improved engine installation, an enlarged rudder and increased sweepback on the wings. Thus improved, the Ripon was declared the winner and ordered for service.
Four prototypes and 90 production aircraft were manufactured by Blackburn for use by the Fleet Air Arm. The Baffin was a development of the Ripon, which replaced it in service with the Fleet Air Arm, with 68 Ripons converted to Baffins.
The Ripon entered service with the Fleet Air Arm in 1929, six joining No 462 (Fleet Torpedo Bomber) Flight aboard HMS Furious in January of that year. The Ripon was normally used as a carrier-based landplane by the Fleet Air Arm, and although capable of being converted to a seaplane, was rarely fitted with floats. The Ripon continued in service with Torpedo Bomber flights until 1933, when the Fleet Air Arm was reorganised into three larger squadrons, No. 810, No. 811 and No. 812. The last Ripons were retired from service in January 1935 when 811 Naval Air Squadron re-equipped with Blackburn Baffins.
The Blackburn Ripon was also ordered for use by the Finnish Air Force, with one example for Finland being built by Blackburn, before 25 were produced under licence at the Finnish Aircraft Factory. These were powered with a number of different radial engines; the pattern aircraft had a 530 hp (400 kW) Bristol Jupiter VII, the next seven had 480 hp (360 kW) Gnome Rhone Jupiter VI, followed by eight with 535 hp (399 kW) Armstrong Siddeley Panther engines and the final ten with 580 hp (430 kW) Bristol Pegasus engines. The Finnish Air Force used Ripons as reconnaissance aircraft against the Soviet Union in the Winter War and the Continuation War. After losing an aircraft to Soviet fighters in 1939, the Ripon was limited to night missions. The last missions were flown in 1944.
Data from The British Bomber