Thirty-five SE.5a’s arrived in Australia in 1920 as part of a British 'Imperial Gift' to the newly formed RAAF, but because of financial stringency only twenty one were ever un-crated. These aircraft were delivered in khaki-green finish, but were later re-covered and aluminium doped.

In 1922, a flight of SE.5a's flew to Sydney (an event in those days!) and stole the show at one of the RAAF's first aerial pageants. In 1925, SE.5a's were taken on strength by Nos 1 and 3 Squadrons, forming the fighter flights of these composite squadrons. During their seven years of flying, ten of the twenty one SE.5a aircraft were lost due to crashes. The surviving fighters served with distinction, until withdrawn from service in 1928. Although the SE.5a disappeared in 1928 one example has survived in the collection of the Australian War Memorial.

General characteristics

Crew:                                                      1
Length:                                                   20 ft 11 in (6.38 m)
Wingspan:                                              26 ft 7 in (8.11 m)
Height:                                                    9 ft 6 in (2.89 m)
Wing area:                                              444 ft² (22.67 m²)
Max takeoff weight:                              1,988 lb (902 kg)
Powerplant:                                            1× Wolseley Viper V8 engine, 200 hp (150 kW)


Maximum speed:                                    138 mph (222 km/h)
Range:                                                    300 miles (483 km)
Service ceiling:                                       17,000 ft (5,185 m)


Guns:                                                      1x .303 in (7.7 mm) forward-firing Vickers machine gun
                                                               1x .303 in (7.7 mm) Lewis gun on Foster mount on upper wing

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