Short SB.6 Seamew

The Short SB.6 Seamew was a British aircraft designed in 1951 by David Keith-Lucas of Shorts as a lightweight anti-submarineplatform to replace the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm (FAA)'s Grumman Avenger AS 4 with the Reserve branch of the service. It first flew on 23 August 1953, but, due to poor performance coupled with shifting defence doctrine, it never reached service and only 24 production aircraft had flown before the project was cancelled. It has been described as a "camel amongst race-horses".

An order was placed in February 1955 for 60 aircraft (split evenly between the FAA and RAF), with Seamew XA213 successfully completing carrier trials on HMS Bulwark in July and December 1955. Naval service flight trials with two Seamews were carried out with 700 Naval Air Squadron in November 1956, which included catapult trials and around 200 takeoffs and landings on HMS Warrior.

The RAF lost interest after four Mk 2s were built[8] with three of them converted to AS1 standard; the fourth (XE175) was flown by S/L W. "Wally" J. Runciman for a series of sales tours in 1956 to Italy (March), Yugoslavia (April) and West Germany (May).

Meanwhile, the FAA decided that the RNVR Avengers would be replaced by Seamews, but only four had been taken on charge by the time the RNVR squadrons were disbanded in March 1957 in keeping with the 1957 Defence White Paper, before any Seamews were allocated to them. Seven aircraft eventually delivered to the FAA were scrapped at RNAS Lossiemouth, and the other 11, complete and awaiting delivery, were scrapped at Sydenham. The last surviving Seamew, XE180 which had been purchased by Shorts on 31 August 1959 for ground instruction at its Apprentice Training School, was scrapped in 1967.[12]

The Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust has preserved a Seamew engine, which is found at its Coventry branch.

Model Scale 1:48

 

Seamew