A single-engine biplane torpedo bomber of mixed construction. The TSR II was first flown on April 17, 1934, and mass production began in June of 1936, and in July the plane entered the service of the FAA.
The Swordfish Mk.I was fitted with an in-line air-cooled Bristol Pegasus Mk.IIIM3 engine and was equipped with one synchronous fuselage-mounted 7.7mm Vickers Mk.II (class E) machine gun and one 7.7mm Lewis machine gun on a moving Fairey turret in the rear cabin. In its undercarriage the plane could carry one Mk.XII torpedo (731 kg) or one sea mine (680 kg). Later planes could carry unguided rockets.
The aft section of the plane carried a hook for carrier landings. The crew was either two or three men, as the navigator's place could be filled with an additional fuel tank when necessary.
The Swordfish Mk.I was already obsolete by the beginning of World War II. The pilots nicknamed the plane the “Stringbag”, but it was the FAA's only torpedo bomber. Because of this, it played a large role in the war, launching both from aircraft carriers and from airstrips. The plane had high horizontal maneuverability and ease of control, which made it a good choice for night and bad-weather operations.
In June of 1940 the Swordfish began to be used widely as a torpedo bomber in the Mediterranean. The squadron based on the island of Malta terrorized the Italian convoys to North Africa. A great victory was won in November of 1940 over the Italian base of Taranto, where a squadron of Swordfish sunk a battleship and damaged two more. In May of 1941, the Swordfish Mk.I helped sink the German battleship, the Bismarck.
Production of the torpedo bomber ceased in August of 1944, and as the war ended, the plane was removed from active military service in May of 1945. A total of 2,392 Swordfish were produced, 992 of which were from the Mk.I series.