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List of aircraft of the Royal Canadian Navy


List of aircraft of the Royal Canadian Navy

This is a list of aircraft of the Royal Canadian Navy covering the period up until 1968 when all aircraft operations were transferred to the newly unified Canadian Armed Forces, originally with Maritime Command and since 1975 with Air Command, which has subsequently been renamed as the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Prior to the Second World War the Royal Canadian Navy did not operate aircraft. The Royal Navy Air Service's Royal Navy Canadian Air Service used Curtiss H.12 flying boats to carry out anti-submarine patrols off the Canadian East Coast.

During the Second World War, Canadian personnel manned the carriers HMS Nabob (from 1943 until sunk in 1944) and HMS Puncher (from 1944 until returned to the US in 1946), with their complement of Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm carrier based aircraft.

With the loan of HMCS Warrior in 1946, RCN received its first aircraft, operating Fairey Firefly fighter-bombers and Supermarine Seafire fighters loaned from the Royal Navy. When both aircraft and the ship failed to meet Canadian requirements, HMCS Magnificent was purchased in 1948, along with Hawker Sea Fury fighters and in 1950, Grumman Avenger torpedo bombers. The Navy considered purchasing Grumman Hellcat fighters, but these were rejected in favour of the Sea Fury.

From then until 1968, the RCN operated a variety of fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft. After the Canadian Forces sold off HMCS Bonaventure in 1970, Canadian naval vessels operated only Sea King helicopters. The Trackers were transferred to land bases to perform coastal patrols, while the Sikorsky HO4S plane-guard helicopters were retired, and other types still in service were allocated as per their RCAF equivalents.

Aircraft that remained in service after unification are highlighted in blue.


  • Aircraft 1
  • See also 2
  • Notes 3
  • References 4
  • Bibliography 5
  • External links 6


Name 1968 CF
Place of
Avro Anson Mk.V n/a Canada utility/trainer 1946–1952 2 [1]ex-Royal Canadian Air Force
Beechcraft Expeditor CT-128 US transport/trainer 1952–1960 10 [2]ex-Royal Canadian Air Force
Bell HTL-4 & HTL-6 n/a US utility helicopter 1951–1967 8 [3]
Canadair Silver Star CT-133 Canada trainer 1955–2002 16 [4][5]ex-Royal Canadian Air Force
de Havilland DH.82C Tiger Moth n/a Canada trainer 1948–1957 3 [3]ex-Royal Canadian Air Force
Fairey Albacore n/a UK torpedo bomber 1943–1949 6 [note 1]
Fairey Firefly n/a UK fighter strike-reconnaissance 1946–1953 76 on loan.[6][7][note 2]
Fairey Swordfish n/a UK torpedo bomber 1946–1948 22 [8][note 2]
Grumman Avenger n/a US torpedo bomber/ASW/AEW 1950–1960 125 [9][10][note 3][note 4]
Grumman CS2F Tracker CP-121 US/Canada ASW 1956–1994 99+1? [9][note 5]
Hawker Sea Fury n/a UK fighter 1948–1957 75 [13][14][15][note 6]
McDonnell F2H Banshee n/a US fighter 1955–1962 39 [16][17][note 3]
North American Harvard n/a Canada trainer 1946–1958 36 [note 7][note 8]
Piasecki HUP Retriever n/a US rescue/utility helicopter 1954–1964 3 [18][19][note 3]
Schweizer SGS 2-12 n/a US training glider 1946–1949 1 [20]
Sikorsky CHSS-2 Sea King CH-124 Canada ASW helicopter 1963–current 41 [18]
Sikorsky HO4S n/a US rescue & ASW helicopter 1952–1970 13 [18][21][note 9]
Supermarine Seafire n/a UK fighter 1946–1954 35 on loan.[18][note 2]
Supermarine Walrus n/a UK utility amphibian 1946–1946 4 [24][note 2][note 10]

See also


  1. ^ transferred to RCN but never flown
  2. ^ a b c d ex-Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm
  3. ^ a b c ex-US Navy
  4. ^ Extensively modified for Anti-submarine warfare (ASW) role, number includes Airborne early warning (AEW) variant.
  5. ^ 101 RCN CS2F serial numbers were assigned. 99 Trackers built under licence by de Havilland Canada were assigned RCN serial numbers 1502-1600 and used operationally. At least 1 US-built S2F-1 was obtained as a pattern and test aircraft and assigned RCN number 1500, but it is unclear whether this aircraft was returned to US Navy as BuNo 136519 and a second test aircraft was assembled by DHC as 1501 from Grumman-provided parts, or if 1500/136519 was dismantled by DHC and then assigned number 1501 upon reassembly.[11] 1501 was subsequently used as a stationary instructional airframe at Shearwater until 1972.[12]
  6. ^ 1 FB.10 and 74 FB.11
  7. ^ ex-Royal Canadian Air Force
  8. ^ Built by Noorduyn and Canadian Car & Foundry
  9. ^ 3 built as HO4S-2 and 10 built as HO4S-3; 1 HO4S-2 badly damaged in landing accident and subsequently used as stationary instructional airframe, 2 remaining HO4S-2 aircraft upgraded to HO4S-3 standards in 1955-1956[22][23]
  10. ^ Used by No.1 Naval Air Gunner School/743 Fleet Requirements Unit


  1. ^ Pettipas, 1986, p.9 & 42
  2. ^ Pettipas, 1986, p.42 & 80
  3. ^ a b Griffin, 1969, p.495
  4. ^ Lockheed CT-133 Silver Star (T-bird) 1955 accessdate: 21 January 2014
  5. ^ Pettipas, 1986, p.59
  6. ^
  7. ^ Griffin, 1969, p.12, 589,
  8. ^ Griffin, 1969, p.589
  9. ^ a b Griffin, 1969, p.13
  10. ^ Griffin, 1969, p.601-602
  11. ^ Walker, R.W.R. "Royal Canadian Navy – CS2F Tracker detailed list - part 1". Canadian Military Aircraft Serial Numbers. Retrieved 30 June 2015. 
  12. ^ "Grumman CS2F/CP 121 Tracker". Shearwater Aviation Museum. Retrieved 28 May 2015. 
  13. ^ Griffin, 1969, p.14
  14. ^
  15. ^ Walker, R.W.R. Sea Fury detailed list, 2004. accessdate: 21 January 2014.
  16. ^ Griffin, 1969, p.15
  17. ^ Griffin, 1969, p.602
  18. ^ a b c d Griffin, 1969, p.17
  19. ^ Walker, R.W.R. HUP detailed list, 2004. accessdate: 21 January 2014.
  20. ^ Pettipas, 1986, p.10 & 25
  21. ^ Griffin, 1969, p.602-603
  22. ^ Walker, R.W.R. "Royal Canadian Navy – HO4S detailed list". Canadian Military Aircraft Serial Numbers. Retrieved 30 June 2015. 
  23. ^ Murray, Robert. "Canada Aviation Museum Aircraft – Sikorsky HO4S-3 (S-55) Horse – Royal Canadian Navy (RCN)" (PDF). Canada Aviation Museum. Retrieved 30 June 2015. 
  24. ^ Griffin, 1969, p.17, 511 & 573


Posting War Ship Listings: Postwar Canadian Ship Listing 1945–Present

  • Griffin, John A. Canadian Military Aircraft Serials & Photographs 1920 - 1968. Ottawa: Queen's Printer, Publication No. 69-2, 1969.
  • Molson, Ken M. and Harold A. Taylor. Canadian Aircraft Since 1909. Stittsville, Ontario: Canada's Wings, Inc., 1982. ISBN 0-920002-11-0.
  • Walker, R.W.R. [url: Canadian Military Aircraft Serial Numbers], 2004. accessdate: 21 January 2014.
  • Howard, John. Royal Canadian Navy Aircraft Serial Numbers accessdate: 21 January 2014.
  • Pettipas, Leo. Canadian Naval Aviation 1945-1968. L. Pettipas/Canadian Naval Air Group, Winnipeg: 1986, ISBN 0-9692528-0-3
  • Pettipas, Leo. Aircraft of the RCN. L. Pettipas/Canadian Naval Air Group, Winnipeg: 1988, ISBN 978-0-9692528-3-2

External links

  • (Includes aircraft used by RCN)
  • Shearwater Aviation Museum - Aircraft History
  • Canadian military historical aircraft
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