The Fairey Firefly was designed to replace the earlier Fairey Fulmar in the carrier bourne Fighter Reconnaissance role. The Fulmar was hindered by only having a 1030Hp Merlin engine and struggled to catch the faster enemy bombers. The Firefly had a 1730hp Griffon engine instead, giving it a much better performance. In addition, the Firefly was armed with 4 20mm cannons, giving it excellent firepower.
The Firefly entered service in 1943 and was improved further by fitting a more powerful 1990hp Griffon engine. Some were modified to carry the ASH (ship detection) radar and some were modified as night fighters with the AI (airborne interception) radar. The Mk IV and V featured a new nose and a 2100hp Griffon engine.
The very successful Firefly also served in many non combat roles, such as target tug, trainer and even in the Anti Submarine role.