The M.B.5 was the last prototype in a series of high-performance aircraft built by the Martin-Baker company in the mid 1940s. Despite achieving incredible performance, the M.B.5 arrived when piston engine aircraft were being increasingly replaced by jet fighters. Because of this, the M.B.5 never left the prototype stage—until now!
War Thunder British aviation fans can look forward to flying the M.B.5 in the forthcoming War Thunder 1.77 Advancing Storm update!
Founded in the 1930s, Martin-Baker was focused on designing all-metal, high-performance aircraft with the most advanced technology available—and then arming them to the teeth with as many weapons as possible.
By the early 1940s, Martin-Baker’s powerful MB-3 prototype—the M.B.5’s predecessor—took to the skies for the first time. It achieved good speed (668 km/h) and aerial agility while carrying an unprecedented primary armament of six 20mm cannons.
In September 1942, James Martin, the lead engineer and founder of Martin-Baker, continued developing the MB-3. But fighter requirements changed in 1943 and he abandoned the MB-3 design to work on the M.B.5. Although borrowing characteristics from the MB-3, the M.B.5 ended up being a completely different aircraft.
The M.B.5’s primary armament was reduced to four 20mm cannons. In addition, a new Rolls-Royce Griffon 83 engine powering 2 contra-rotating propellers was installed.
The M.B.5 prototype was finished in 1944 and conducted its maiden flight on 23 May 1944. After resolving some minor stability issues and more than 80 hours of test flights, the M.B.5 was finally submitted for official, final testing in 1946.
During testing the M.B.5 achieved a top speed of 740 km/h and received high praise from test pilots for its superb cockpit layout. Maintenance crews also liked the M.B.5 for its ease of maintenance.
But because the Second World War had ended and the British RAF had begun replacing its piston engine aircraft with jet fighters. As a result, the RAF wasn’t interested in the M.B.5 and the project was eventually shut down. Attempts to sell the M.B.5 abroad also failed.
Bad market timing and newer jet technology ultimately stopped the M.B.5 from ever leaving the prototype stage. In addition, Martin-Baker eventually stopped designing aircraft altogether, and instead developed and manufactured aircraft ejection seats. This ultimately worked out very well for them, and today, Martin-Baker is one of the biggest brands in the field of ejection seat development—an achievement that often overshadows their aircraft manufacturing history.
Only one M.B.5 ever took to the skies, but now British aviation fans will be able to fly one with the release of War Thunder’s update 1.77 Advancing Storm!
Are you tired of standard training engagements over Guam in your Griffon Spitfire ? Ever wanted to fly the P-51H but ignored the US research tree because you love British planes? The British M.B.5 is for you. It offers fans of British aviation a thrilling taste of flying a so-called “superprop”—and one that isn’t yet another Spitfire.
The highlight of the M.B.5 is its 2,340 horsepower V-12 Griffon 83 engine. Being a monster of a piston engine, it allows the M.B.5 to achieve a top speed of 460 mph (740 km/h) at medium-to-high altitudes. In addition, the M.B.5 possesses a significant climb rate without sacrificing much maneuverability.
The M.B.5’s four 20mm wing-mounted Mk.II Hispano cannons should feel familiar to British fighter pilots. If you are accustomed to the Mk.V Hispano cannons, note that you may need to spend more time targeting with the Mk.II’s to achieve a confirmed kill—but the Mk.II’s generous 800 rounds of ammunition should give you plenty of time to lock on to your target!
After countless hours honing your skills in the cockpits of Spitfires, Hurricanes, Tempests, and Mosquitos, you can finally add Britain’s most iconic and potent WW2 piston engine fighter aircraft to your list of mastered superprops. Take control of what the famous Cpt. Eric Brown considered to be “an outstanding aircraft” and dogfight with P-51H pilots for the title of ultimate superprop fighter!
The Martin-Baker M.B.5 will join Rank IV of the British aviation research tree with the upcoming War Thunder update 1.77 Advancing Storm.