4.5 inch Skymarker Flare

Skymarker Flare

This British designed flare had a tubular body containing the candle unit and the Mk V parachute. The tail end of the body was closed by a closing dome and had four tail fins attached. The nose end of the body was closed by a diaphragm to which a bush was secured. The transit plug or the nose fuze was screwed into this bush.

The flare body was painted black overall with a 1/2 inch red band near the nose. The overall length of the flare was 33 inches with a maximum body diameter of 4.5 inches. The parachute diameter was 11 ft. The total weight of the flare was approximately 28 lbs and the candle burning time was 100 – 120 secs. The green flare had a candlepower of approximately 175,000 candlepower compared to the red flare of approximately 250,000 candlepower.

A flash hole in the diaphragm was covered by a paper disc and gave access to a “powder puff” consisting of a primed cambric bag containing gunpowder. The “powder puff” was secured to a perforated disc. Its purpose was, with the aid of the perforated disc, to eject the candle unit and parachute from the flare body and to ignite the flare candle.

The candle unit comprised a steel container closed at the top by a lid and at the bottom by a dished washer. In the container was a magnesium alloy candle body containing a small quantity of gunpowder, some priming composition, and a quantity of incendiary composition. The hole in the washer being closed by a primed cambric disc.

The candle unit was held in place in the flare body by a felt washer, felt strips and three wooden slats. The slats extended beyond the top of the candle unit and the closing dome and, when the flare functioned, they pushed off the closing dome to permit the candle unit and parachute to move out of the flare body. A shackle attached to the lid connected the candle unit to the suspension rope of the parachute.

A suspension band with two removable suspension lugs was secured to the flare body. When the fuzed flare was released “live” from the aircraft, the fuze was set in operation and the flare fell freely until the magazine charge exploded. The flash from the charge passed through the flash hole in the diaphragm igniting the powder puff. The gases thus formed exerted pressure on the underside of the perforated disc, forcing the candle unit towards the closing dome so that the wooden slats pushed off the dome. The candle unit and parachute were ejected from the flare body that fell away along with the expended fuze. The flash from the powder puff passed through the holes in the perforated disc to ignite the primed cambric disc and the gunpowder at the nose of the candle. The gunpowder ignited the priming composition, which in turn ignited the incendiary composition. As the incendiary composition burnt the magnesium alloy candle also burnt and pieces of the burning candle fell away giving the appearance of a vertical chain of white lights in the sky.