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MB 5
Role Fighter
National origin United Kingdom
Manufacturer Martin-Baker
First flight 23 May 1944
Status Experimental
Primary user Royal Air Force (intended)
Number built 1
Developed from Martin-Baker MB 3

The British Martin-Baker MB 5 was the ultimate development of a series of prototype fighter aircraft built during the Second World War. Neither the MB 5 nor its predecessors ever entered production, despite what test pilots described as excellent performance.[1]

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Design and development[edit]

Martin-Baker Aircraft began the MB 5 as the second Martin-Baker MB 3 prototype, designed to lớn Air Ministry Specification F.18/39 for an agile, sturdy Royal Air Force fighter, able to lớn fly faster than thở 400 mph. After the first MB 3 crashed in 1942, killing Val Baker, the second prototype was delayed. A modified MB 3 with a Rolls-Royce Griffon engine, rather than thở the Napier Sabre of the MB 3, was planned as the MB 4, but a full redesign was chosen instead.[2]

The redesigned aircraft, designated MB 5, used wings similar to lớn the MB 3, but had an entirely new steel-tube fuselage. Power came from a Rolls-Royce Griffon 83 liquid-cooled V-12 engine, producing 2,340 hp (1,745 kW) and driving two three-bladed contra-rotating propellers.[3] Armament was four đôi mươi milimet Hispano cannon, mounted in the wings outboard of the widely spaced retractable undercarriage. A key feature of the design was ease of manufacture and maintenance: much of the structure was box-like, favouring straight lines and simple conformation.[4] It was built under the same contract that covered the building of the MB 3.[5]

Flight testing[edit]

The first flight of the MB 5 prototype, serial R2496, took place on 23 May 1944.[6] Performance was considered outstanding by test pilots, and the cockpit layout was praised by the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment (A&AEE). The accessibility of the fuselage for maintenance was excellent, thanks to lớn a system of detachable panels.

"In my opinion this is an outstanding aircraft, particularly when regarded in the light of the fact that it made its maiden flight as early as 23rd May 1944"

Acknowledged as one of the best aerobatic pilots in the UK, S/L Janusz Żurakowski from the A&AEE at RAF Boscombe Down gave a spectacular display at the Farnborough Air Show in June 1946, with the Martin-Baker MB 5, an aircraft he considered superlative and better in many ways than thở the Spitfire.

An MB 5 replica, nearing completion as of 2006.

If serial production had been authorised, the aircraft would have served over Germany during the Second World War. Instead, the RAF directed its attention towards jet-powered fighters. The Rolls-Royce Griffon engine failed when the MB 5 was being demonstrated to lớn Prime Minister Winston Churchill, the Chief of the Air Staff and a host of other VIPs at an important display of British and captured German aircraft at Farnborough.[7] Michael Bowyer states that Martin-Baker may have lacked both facilities and sufficient government tư vấn to lớn engage in large-scale production.[8] The company's slow progress with the machine could have been due to lớn a lack of facilities.[5]

The original MB 5 was reputedly destroyed on a gunnery range.[citation needed] Martin-Baker went on to lớn become one of the world's leading builders of ejection seats.

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Replica construction[edit]

A partial replica was built in Reno, Nevada, USA by John Marlin using wings from a P-51 Mustang.[9][10] By April 2017 the replica had been completed and was for sale. It was built 6 ft shorter than thở the original, and may not be in flyable condition.[citation needed]

Specifications (MB 5, as designed)[edit]

Orthographically projected diagram of the Martin-Baker MB 5

Data from Jane's all the World's Aircraft 1947,[11] Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II[6] and British Aircraft of World War II[12]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 37 ft 9 in (11.51 m)
  • Wingspan: 35 ft (11 m)
  • Height: 12 ft 6 in (3.81 m) including propeller
  • Wing area: 263 sq ft (24.4 m2)
  • Aspect ratio: 4.66
  • Airfoil: RAF 34
  • Empty weight: 9,233 lb (4,188 kg)
  • Gross weight: 11,500 lb (5,216 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 12,090 lb (5,484 kg)
  • Fuel capacity: 200 imp gal (240 US gal; 910 L) fuel; 14 imp gal (17 US gal; 64 L) oil
  • Powerplant: 1 × Rolls-Royce Griffon 83 V-12 liquid-cooled piston engine, 2,035 hp (1,517 kW) [13]
  • Propellers: 6-bladed De Havilland constant-speed contra-rotating propeller[14]


  • Maximum speed: 460 mph (740 km/h, 400 kn) at đôi mươi,000 ft (6,100 m)
  • Range: 1,100 mi (1,800 km, 960 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 40,000 ft (12,000 m)
  • Rate of climb: 3,800 ft/min (19.3 m/s)
  • Wing loading: 45.9 lb/sq ft (224 kg/m2)
  • Power/mass: 6.3 lb/hp (3.82 kg/kW)


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  • Guns: 4 × đôi mươi milimet Hispano Mk.II cannon

See also[edit]

Related development

  • Martin-Baker MB 3

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

  • CAC CA-15
  • Hawker Sea Fury
  • Messerschmitt Me 309
  • North American P-51 Mustang
  • Supermarine Spiteful

Related lists

  • List of aircraft of World War II


  1. ^ a b Brown 1983, pp. 150–153.
  2. ^ Baugher, Joe. "Martin-Baker MB 5." Aircraft of the World, 19 November 1995. Retrieved 9 April 2006.
  3. ^ MB 5 Archived 30 April 2006 at the Wayback Machine Martin-Baker History. Retrieved 9 April 2006.
  4. ^ 'Sir James Martin' Sarah Sharman ISBN 978-1-85260-551-3
  5. ^ a b Buttler 2004, p. 31.
  6. ^ a b Jane 1946, pp. 129–130.
  7. ^ Donald 1997, pp. 150–157.
  8. ^ Bowyer 1984, pp. 124–125.
  9. ^ Marlin, Paul D. "John's First Flying Adventures." John Marlin's MB5 replica website (johnmarlinsmb5replica.mysite.com). Retrieved 5 May 2010.
  10. ^ "Saving the Wild Mustangs – the Story Behind the Vintage Wings Mustang". www.vintagewings.ca. Archived from the original on 10 May năm ngoái.
  11. ^ Bridgman, Leonard, ed. (1947). Jane's all the World's Aircraft 1947. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co. pp. 60c–61c.
  12. ^ "MARTIN-BAKER MB.5". Archived from the original on 13 June 2008. Retrieved 26 November 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  13. ^ for 5 minutes at 550 ft (170 m) in M gear, at 2750 rpm with 25 psi (170 kPa) boost
  14. ^ Hydromatic 11 ft 9 in (3.58 m) SKP 74489/15A front with 11.6 ft (3.54 m) 3-bladed SKP 74490/18A rear
  • Bowyer, Michael J.F. Interceptor Fighters for the Royal Air Force 1935–45. Wellingborough, UK: Patrick Stephens Ltd., 1984. ISBN 978-0-85059-726-4.
  • Buttler, Tony. Secret Projects: British Fighters and Bombers 1935–1950 (British Secret Projects 3). Leicester, UK: Midland Publishing, 2004. ISBN 978-1-85780-179-8.
  • Brown, Captain Eric. Wings of the Weird & Wonderful, Volume 1. London: Airlife, 1983. ISBN 978-0-906393-30-7.
  • Donald, David. "Martin-Baker Fighters." Wings of Fame, Vol. 9, 1997, Aerospace Publishing Ltd., ISSN 1361-2034.
  • Green, William, ed. "Mr. Martin's Memorable M.B.5." Air International Vol. 16, no. 2, February 1979.
  • Green, William. War Planes of the Second World War: Fighters, Volume Two. London, Macdonald & Co. (Publishers) Ltd., 1961.
  • Green, William and Swanborough, Gordon. WW2 Fact Files: RAF Fighters, Part 2. London: Macdonald and Jane's Publishers Ltd., 1979. ISBN 978-0-354-01234-8.
  • Jane, Fred T. "The Martin-Baker F.18/39." Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II. London: Studio, 1946. ISBN 978-1-85170-493-4.
  • Zuk, Bill. Janusz Zurakowski: Legends in the Sky. St. Catharine's, Ontario: Vanwell, 2004. ISBN 978-1-55125-083-0.

External links[edit]

  • MB 5 at martin-baker.com
  • "The Martin-Baker M-B V" a 1945 Flight article on the MB 5