The Waris Sealion was a twin-engined flying boat used by the Inutoland Naval Forces' Coastal Defence Command as a patrol bomber and reconnaissance aircraft, and by the Inutoland Air Force as a patrol and transport aircraft in the wetland interior of Inutoland. In service from 1934 until the 1950s, it was the primary coastal patrol aircraft of Inutoland during the Second World War.
The Sealion was derived in part from the Waris Pelican civilian flying boat transport, and like that aircraft, featured a distinctive canard-wing design. The canard configuration was not nearly so unusual among Inutolander aircraft as it was in other nations' contemporary aircraft, but both the Pelican and the Sealion continue an Inutolander aviation engineering tradition which goes back to the Oequiyau No. 2 Bomber of the World War One period.
The main advantage of the flying boat configuration was the ability to take off and land wherever there was enough open water. This was a critical need for Inutoland, which not only had an extensive coastline to patrol, but also the vast, river-crossed, swampy interior of the country as well. Flying boat aircraft allowed for a level of operational flexibilty which conventional aircraft lacked.
With this in mind, in 1928 the Inutolander Weapons Procurement Agency put out a bid request for an advanced monoplane flying boat to be used as a patrol and reconnaissance bomber by both the INF Coastal Defence and IAF interior patrol divisions. Waris Aerospace, producers of the Pelican civil transport flying boat, won the contract, and developed the Sealion. The Sealion entered service in 1934, and continued to be used throughout the WW2 period.
Following the Sealion's retirement in 1949, many of the surviving aircraft were turned over to the Coastal Rangers for police and coastguard use, and not many examples remain. One of the last flying Waris Sealions can be found in the care of the Historical Aviation Society in Watumata.
The main frontal armament of the Sealion came in two forms. The first, a 37mm cannon, was intended as an attack weapon enabling the Sealion to engage torpedo boats, small launches, and even small corvettes, from the air or when on the surface. The second contained a pair of large-calibre (11.875mm) machine guns, which gave the Sealion far better defensive capabilities against fighters.
The rear turret contained a second pair of 11.875mm machine guns, though this was increased in the Sealion-C to four.
As far as offensive armament was concerned, the Sealion's primary armament was its bomb load. Though not as great as the Short Sunderland, the Waris Sealion's slightly longer range and increased manoeuvrability meant that the two aircraft were very comparable. The Sealion frequently carried around 500kg bombs internally, though could also carry mines (800kg) slung under the wings, or depth charges for submarine hunting.
A later variant, the Sealion-D, added a pair of 19mm cannon in the wing root of each canard, under the pilot's control.
The original engines of the Sealion were Utar 32J 12-cylinder radial engines. The Utar 32J was an excellent engine in many respects, giving superior performance and power. However, the 32J developed a reputation for being unreliable and very environmentally sensitive, neither of which traits was particularly desirable in a maritime warplane. In the second block of production Sealions, the Utar 32J was passed over in favour of an alternate engine.
The Teoruen R.22W "Argentavis" had the adventages of being extremely reliable and robust as well as being relatively fuel-efficient, though its performance was lacking compared to the Utar 32J. The R.22W (named after the Giant Teratorn of prehistoric South America) gave the Sealion a good operational range and made it extremely reliable. However, on the rare occasions that an engine did give out, the R.22W was notoriously difficult to field-repair, and this could ground planes while spares were being shipped.
The original Sealion's crew amenities were fairly basic. The eleven crew (two pilots, two machine gunners, two bombardiers, a bomb aimer, a radio operator and up to 3 other officers) had hammock-style sleeping arrangements (which is not uncommon in parts of rural Inutoland to this day), very spartan toilet facilities, and the obligatory water filtration and/or desalination gear of Inutolander long-range patrol vehicles.
The sparse accommodations were modified in the Sealion-C version to include a proper flushing toilet and a small washing facility, which greatly improved crew morale on the long patrols which had become necessary in the pre-War and wartime situation. These upgrades were continued on all subsequent models of the Sealion.
- Sealion-A: Prototype and first production model, with Utar 32J engines.
- Sealion-B: Replaced the Utar 32J engines with Teoruen R.22Ws.
- Sealion-C: Added two additional machine guns to the rear turret; various internal changes to improve crew comfort.
- Sealion-D: Added four 19mm cannon in canard wings. Improved hydraulic control system.
- Sealion-W: Replaced bomb bay and forward turret with an onboard early warning radar system; otherwise identical to Sealion-D.
|Aircraft of the Inutoland Air Force|
|W-20 Fer-de-Lance · TSR-19 Ghost · W-18 Hummingbird · TSR-17 Cladosictis · W-16 Tandu · W-15 Tamaris · TSR-14 Teratorn · W-13 Stormblade · TSR-9 Mastodon · TSR-7 Condor|
|TSR-21 Iluwatan · Cyclops AEWC · Roa-class Airship · TSR-9Y Stegomastodon · Landu-class Airship|
|Later Cold War aircraft:|
|W-15 Tamaris · TSR-12 White Spider · W-11 Bathawk · W-10 Chasmaporthetes · TSR-9 Mastodon · W-8 Aggressor · TSR-7 Condor · W-6 Stormfalcon|
|Early Cold War aircraft:|
|Soro Vulture · Tulani JetHammer · R-1 Serpent · T-2 Glaive · P-3 Battleaxe · SR-4 Vigilant|
|World War 2 aircraft:|
|Ramandu Cyclone · Tulani TwinHammer · Waris Sunhawk · Pauro Stingray · Tulani Trident|
|Soro Victory · Soro Valiant · Waris Sealion · Peerless-class Air Carrier|
|World War 1 aircraft:|
|Ramandu Linsang · Pauro Feathered Dragon · Soro Shadow · Oequiyau Spanker|
|Overlord-class · Majestic-class · Echelon-class|