Blackburn T1 Swift no markings
A Blackburn T1 Swift Mk II with no serial number or markings.
The Blackburn T1 Swift was a private venture torpedo bomber developed by the Blackburn Aeroplane and Motor Company primarily for export sales (whilst having regard to the desire of the Air Ministry to replace the Sopwith Cuckoo). The prototype, designed by Major Frank Arnold Bumpus, was shown in near-complete form at the Olympia Aero Show in July 1920.
The Blackburn T1 Swift was a large conventional single seat two-bay tractor biplane with divided undercarriage legs to accommodate a torpedo. It was also provided with folding wings for stowage aboard ship. The longerons sloped down ahead of the pilot’s cockpit to improve the forward view for deck-landing, this becoming something of a Blackburn design trademark.
On a rather fraught first flight in September 1920, the first prototype was found to be seriously tail-heavy and barely controllable. It was safely landed however, after a wide and flat circuit at low level. The balance of the aircraft was quickly restored by applying a few degrees of sweep to the outboard wing panels.
The prototype was sent for trials at Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment (A&AEE) at Martlesham Heath on 21st December 1920, carrying an RAF serial (N139). At Martlesham, it was tested with the Mk VIII and the Mk IX 15-inch torpedo and these trials resulted in the adoption of a revised rudder geometry. After further minor modifications, it proceeded to conduct deck landing trials on HMS Argus in May 1921.
Blackburn T1 Swift for Spanish Navy 1923
A T1 Swift Mk II for the Spanish Navy carrying a torpedo.
Blackburn then sought export orders for the type, obtaining sales for two aircraft to the US Navy (A-6056 and A-6057) which were to be known the Blackburn Swift F. Later, a further two Blackburn Swift II aircraft were purchased by the Imperial Japanese Navy, as well as a further three (M-NTBA, M-NTBB and M-NTBC) which were sold the Spanish Navy. The export aircraft featured a sloping, front radiator and a further revision to the tail surfaces.
Such was the promise of the design that it was adopted (following minor modifications such as a 35-inch reduction in wingspan) as the standard Fleet Air Arm torpedo aircraft, subsequently renamed the Blackburn T2 Dart.


Blackburn T1 Swift II M-NTBB prob torpedo
A demonstration torpedo drop by Spanish Swift MkII M-NTBB in August 1923.


Variants & Number Built

One aircraft, serial number N139
Blackburn T1 Swift F
Two aircraft (A-6056 and A-6057) for the US Navy
Blackburn T1 Swift II
Five aircraft (identical to Swift F): two for Japan and three for Spain
Total built
Eight aircraft


Specification (Swift II)

One 450 hp Napier Lion IB
48 ft 6 in
Maximum Weight
6,300 lb
Capacity & Armament
Single pilot; one Mk VIII or Mk IX 15-inch torpedo
Maximum Speed
106 mph
350 miles



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