Supermarine E.10/44 / 392 Attacker
The Superrnarme Attacker prototype had been built to a 1944 specification. The single-seat jet fighter flew for the first time on July 27, 1946. The machine was flown by Supermarine's test pilot, Mr Jeffrey Quill, from the A&AEE at Boscombe Down, where, as there is not at the firm's aerodrome at High Post, there is a runway.
The prototype, T5409, was seen at the SBAC show at Radlett the following month.
Named Attacker, the aircraft uses a Rolls-Royce RB.41 (later Nene) centrifugal flow turbojet, a new fuselage and tail mounted on the laminar flow wings of the Spiteful with radiators removed.
The undercarriage was also taken from the Spiteful. The wing retained the Spiteful's four cannon armament but the radiators for its Griffon piston engine were removed and replaced by fuel tanks.
The result was the Attacker F.Mk.1, a mediocre fighter whose main advantages were cheapness and easy handling at low level. This was put to use by adding bombs in the Attacker FB.Mk.1 version, and the Attacker FB.Mk.2 had powered ailerons and a stronger metal-framed canopy. The last of 145 of the three marks was delivered in 1953, also exported to Pakistan, and served until 1957.
Three prototypes were ordered in August 1944 but development was slower than anticipated due to delays in laminar flow wing research, with low speed handling problems proving difficult to solve. As the RAF had begun to lose interest in the aircraft, it was decided that the last two prototypes would be navalised.
The first prototype flew on 27 July 1946 and the second on 17 June 1947 (the name "Attacker" applied on the same day), this differing in having longer stroke undercarriage, smaller fin, enlarged tailplane, increased fuel capacity, arrester hook and an ejection seat. Folding wings would not appear until the production versions were built. By then, the RAF was no longer a prospective customer and the aircraft was ordered only tor the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm.
The first production Attacker F.1 flew on 5 May 1950 and operational service began in August 1951 with No 800 Squadron FAA. Subsequent versions were the FB.1 fighter-bomber with provision for underwing ordnance and the FB.2 which differed mainly in its Nene Mk.102 engine with a throttle acceleration control unit to prevent flameout if the throttle was opened quickly, such as when performing a go-around. The Attacker served with only two FAA front line squadrons and had been relegated to Volunteer Reserve units by 1954 and retired two years later.
The only export was to the Pakistan Air Force, which received 36 'denavalised' aircraft between 1951 and 1953 for operation from land. These lacked the folding wings and arrester gear of the Royal Navy's aircraft but were otherwise similar to the Attacker F.1.
Engine: 1 x Rolls-Royce "Nene 3", 22.24kN
Max take-off weight: 5339 kg / 11771 lb
Empty weight: 3826 kg / 8435 lb
Wingspan: 11.25 m / 37 ft 11 in
Length: 11.43 m / 38 ft 6 in
Height: 3.02 m / 10 ft 11 in
Max. speed: 950 km/h / 590 mph
Ceiling: 13700 m / 44950 ft
Range: 950 km / 590 miles
Armament: 4 x 20mm cannon
Attacker FB.Mk 2
Engine: one 2313-kg (5, 100-lb) thrust Rolls-Royce Nene Mk 102 turbojet
Maximum speed 950 km/h (590 mph) at sea level
Initial climb (light weight 5216 kg/1,500 lb) 1935 m (6,350 ft) per minute
Service ceiling (maximum weight) 11890 m (39,000 ft)
Range (with 1 137-litre/250-Imp gal belly tank) 1700 km (1,060 miles)
Empty weight 4495 kg (9,910 lb)
Maximum take-off 7938 kg (17,500 lb)
Span 11.26 m (36 ft 11 in)
Length 11.43 m (37 ft 6 in)
Height 3.03 m (9 ft 11 in)
Wing area 21 sq.m (226 sq ft)
Armament: four 20-mm Hispano Mk 5 cannon
Bombload: two 454-kg (1,000-lb) bombs or eight rockets