Jump to content

Recommended Posts

FAA Skyrays

It is little-known history* that in the late 1950s, their Lordships of the Admiralty recognised that the Supermarine Scimitar was an unmitigated failure. As an American observer noted at the time, only the British could build a jet fighter with 22,000lbs thrust, that still remained stubbornly subsonic.

Not only was its performance rather disappointing (British understatement?), the Scimitar was extremely unreliable. At one point it required 1000 maintenance hours per flying hour, and over 50% of the Scimitar fleet was lost in accidents. Its best contribution to the Fleet, was as a Ground Instructional Airframe (which is where the author first saw one, at RNAS Arbroath in the late 1960s).

In an act of some desperation, therefore, in 1958 the Admiralty cancelled the remaining 50% of Scimitar production, and instead discreetly obtained 40 F4D-1 Skyrays from US Navy stocks.

Capt Eric (“Winkle”) Brown was highly influential in this decision. A navy test pilot with the world record for carrier take-offs and landings (2,407 and 2,271 respectively), and an objectively strong advocate of American naval ac designs, his advice on procuring the Skyray was decisive. (Besides, he was a Scotsman. From the right side of the country)(ie the East Coast - did I mention that I'm from Arbroath?).

Modified to carry the British Firestreak IR missile, and also to perform the light strike/attack role, the F4D-1 thus entered RN service as the Skyray F1.

These ac proved to be particularly useful on the smaller British carriers, Victorious, Centaur and Hermes. For example, in Hermes, the Skyray allowed 892 Sqn to deploy a full 12-ac sqn, instead of the originally-mooted 8-ac Sea Vixen "sqn-lite". This had the serendipitious additional social advantage of eliminating all the Sea Vixen coal-hole observers from the Wardroom.

Later in their career, 20 RN Skyrays were modified to FAW2 standard. This entailed replacing the original AN/APQ-50A radar with a lightweight version of the Lightning's AI23 "Airpass" radar, installing compatibility for both the Red Top all-aspect IR missile and the US Bullpup AGM, and replacing the original 4 x Colt 20mm cannon with a harder-hitting package of 4 x ADEN 30mm cannon (albeit with halved ammunition loads).

Deployed in HMS Victorious in 1965 during the Malaysian Confrontation, one of these Skyray FAW2’s shared with an RAF Javelin in the double kill of 2 Indonesian C-130B’s, caught in the act of attempting to infiltrate Indonesion paratroopers into Borneo.

The RN’s Skyrays were finally retired with the decommissioning of HMS Eagle in 1972. Their last service was to familiarise a generation of FAA pilots with USN ac types, in preparation for the introduction of the superlative F-4K Phantom (another Winkle Brown protogé).


*Alternative history. The reader is encouraged to decipher what is fact, and what is fiction above. For it is not all the latter..  :)



Installation: the usual, simply download and unzip the "Objects" folder, and drop it into your SF2 mod directory of preference. Always always always backup your original stuff before trying out new mods like this.

Credits: this mod is based on the SF2 Skyray 1.1 mod, which I think is the work of Julhelm and NeverEnough. Regret not sure to whom credit is due for the Firestreak, Red Top and Bullpup missiles, and the SNEB Can, so if I missed you out, sorry, but I tip my hat to you!

Legal Stuff: all the usual disclaimers, ie use at own risk, always always always backup your original stuff before trying out new mods like this (bears repeating). Plus this mod is consistent with both Queen's Regulations for the Royal Navy, and the Official Secrets Act.

Cheers, Tally-Ho etc

Mike D


  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  


Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..