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Supermarine Spitfire / Seafire

Spitfire XVI


When the Type 224 performance proved disappointing, R. J. Mitchell was given a free hand to design a new single-seat fighter unfettered by official specifications. By 1934 Supermarine was actively engaged in the design of an “experimental high-speed single-seat fighter”. Mitchell outlined the Type 300 tailored around the new Rolls-Royce P.V.12 (Merlin) engine and based on experience of high speed flight through the Scneider Trophy winning seaplanes rather than contemporary fighters. With drag-reducing retractable landing gear, the wings were of distinctive elliptical shape, but they housed eight machine-guns, all of them firing outside the propeller disc. Air Ministry Specification F.36/34 was drawn up around the Type 300 and a single prototype was ordered in December 1934. It was powered by a 738kW Rolls-Royce Merlin C and flew for the first time on 5 March 1936 at Eastleigh near Southampton.
Spitfire prototype K5054 in March 1936


The Spitfire prototype went to the A&AEE in July 1936, at which time it had a Merlin C driving a de Havilland fixed pitch two-bladed wooden propeller. The performance edge over the Hurricane was evident. Service pilots at the A&AEE reported that the prototype “simple and east to fly and [had] no vices”. It had well harminised controls and the report concluded that the Spitfire could be “flown without risk by the average fully trained service fighter pilot”. One of the qualities was the extremely docile behaviour at the stall, particularly under high G. The longitudinal stability was a matter of concern from the start, and called for constant development as later marks were introduced. Of concern were the high lateral stick forces at the upper end of the speed range, not overcome until modified ailerons were introduced in 1941.
In accordance with the provision of Expansion Plan F, the Air Ministry ordered 310 Spitfire Is on 3 June 1936 defining a standard of aircraft that was generally similar to the prototype.
The crowds at the 1936 RAF Display at Hendon had a first glimpse of the prototype Spitfire in the New Types Park.


Spitfire Prototype K5054


Structurally the Spitfire was a straightforward design with a light alloy monocoque fuselage and a single spar wing with stressed-skin covering and fabric-covered control surfaces. To preserve the clean nose-cowling lines originally conceived by Mitchell, the radiator was located beneath the starboard wing with the smaller oil cooler causing some asymmetry beneath the port wing, and the carburetor air intake under the center fuselage.
Powered by a 1030 hp Merlin II, the first production aircraft flew on 14 May 1938, at Eastleigh, where the final assembly line was fed by manufacturing centres at Woolston and Itchen, near Southampton.
Spitfire I
A DeHavilland two-blade wooden fixed-pitch propeller was employed by the prototype and the first Spitfire I's had the Airscrew Company's wooden fixed-pitch two-blade. Later a DeHavilland three-blade, two position propeller was adopted after trials on the first prototype. The new propeller gave a 5 mph increase in speed. In 1940 DeHavilland three-blade constant-speed propeller were substituted. Production Spitfires had a fixed tail wheel and triple ejector exhaust manifolds. The X80 HP Rolls-Royce Merlin II and later the Merlin III engine was installed.
Supermarine failed by some six months to meet the Plan F target completion by March 1939. The problem was that the Spitfire was not a simple aircraft to build, the wing leading-edge being especially difficult. As time went by, and in particular after the Supermarine works in Southamption had been heavily bombed in Septembe 1940, Spitfire production would be dispersed widely over southern England and would bring 65 different manufacturing units into play.
Deliveries of production Spitfire I's began in June 1938, two years after the first production contract had been placed. In those two years Supermarine laid out their Woolston factory for large-scale production and organized one of the largest subcontract schemes ever envisaged in Britain. Until that time, as it was becoming increasingly obvious that there was no limit to the likely demand for the Spitfire. It was also obvious that one factory alone was not going to be able to meet the demand even with sub-contracting. Large scale plans were laid during 1937 for the construction by the Nuffield Group of a large new shadow factory at Castle Bromwich near Birmingham for Spitfire production. On April 12,1938 a contract was placed for 1,000 Spitfires to be built at this new factory, of which the actual construction had not then even begun. In the following year, on April 29 further contracts were placed with Supermarine for 200 Spitfires and on August 9 for 450.
It was not until July 1938 that the first Spitfire Mk I reached No. 19 Squadron at Duxford. Only five had been delivered by the time of the Munich crisis in September of that year.
The first Spitfires off the assembly line had the Merlin II engine driving a two-blade fixed pitch wooden airscrew. With the 78th production aircraft, the wooden two-blade prop was replaced by a de Havilland Hamilton to-pitch three-blade metal prop, which, although incurring a weight penalty and having only marginal effect on level speed, gave a significant increase in the climb. No bullet-proof windscreen or armour was initially fitted, and although standard armament was envisaged as eight wing-mounted 0.303in Browning guns each with 300 rouds of ammunition, a shortage of these weapons led to the installation of only fout guns each in early machines. Later, the introduction of a bullet-proof external windscreen wasv to be followed by provision of a 6mm armour plate behind the pilot’s head. After pilots on the first squadron had complained that they banged their heads on the flat roof of the cockpit canopy, a “humped” canopy was introduced.
In August 1938 No.19 Sqn RAF Duxford received two early production Spitfires and began a 400-hour intensive flying trial. Two more squadrons received Spitfires in 193 and, by September 1939, another four regular units were flying the Spitfire, and four AAF squadrons were equipped or equipping.
Spitfire I K9787 May 1938 flown by Jeffrey Quill


The Spitfire I benefited from the installation of a variable pitch constant speed propeller and to allow, a switch was made to the Merlin III from the 175th aircraft. An effort was made between June and August 1940 to ensure that all the Spitfiree Is then in service were fitted with the DH constant speed unit and this became standard on the later production Spitfire Is.
Evaluation of a Bf 109E-3 captured in France revealed that the 109 was superior in a number of respects to the Spitfire I when originally fitted with the two-position propeller. The 109 was marginally faster at most altitudes, and it could out-climb the Spitfire up to 20,000 ft / 6070 m, above which the Spitfire had the edge. Both suffered some aileron heaviness at high speed. The Spitfire possessed superior manoeuvrability at all altitudes due to the lower wing loading, its turning circle appreciably smaller, yet the injected 109 engine gave an advantage over the carburetted Merlin.
During 1939, single examples of the Spitfire I and the Hurricane I had each been fitted with a pair of 20mm cannon, with 60 rounds per gun. The Hurricane, with Oerlikon guns, was credited with destruction of a Dornier 17 on 13 August 1940, while undergoing evaluation with No.151 Squadron, but the large-scale application of cannon armament to the Hurricane had to await the production of the Mk.iiC, with four of the 20mm cannon apiece. The Hispano guns fitted in the Spitfire proved prone to stoppages but, after trials with the prototype installation, a batch of 30 Mk.Is were similarly fitted and, with four 0.303in Brownings later added to the wing armament, were delivered from June 1940 for use by No.19 Squadron. They were the only cannon-armed fighters operated by the RAF during the Battle of Britain. These Spitfires were designated Mk.IBs, and those with the original eight-gun armament then became, retrospectively, Mk.1A.
When Britain went to war on September 3,1939 a total of 2,160 Spitfires were already on order.

The Spitfire I weighed 5,280 lb. had a wing loading of 24 lb/s. ft. and a fuel capacity of 85 Imperial gallons. Its maximum speed was 362 mph its maximum diving speed was 450 mph its initial climb rate was 2,500 ft./min. and it took 9.4 minutes to climb to 20,000 feet. Its combat range was 395 miles and its roll rate was 140 deg./sec. Standard armament in what was subsequently to become known as the A wing was eight 0.303-in. Browning machine-guns with 300 rounds of ammunition. The speed of the Spitfire I was marginally higher than that of its principal opponent the Luftwaffes Messerschmitt Bf 109E and it was infinitely more maneuverable than the German fighter although the Bf 109E could out climb and out dive the British fighter and its shell-firing cannon had a longer range than the Spitfire's machine-guns.

By the outbreak of war on 3 September 1939, the RAF had received 306 aircraft, 187 were distributed to operational squadrons, 36 had been written off and the balance went to the training units. The RAF had nine operational Spitfire squadrons, 1/3rd of Fighter Command Squadrons, and on 16 October 1939 a Spitfire of No. 603 Squadron claimed the first German aircraft to be destroyed over the UK in World War II, a Heinkel He 111. By August 1940, shortly before the Battle of Britain reached its climax, RAF Fighter Command could call upon 19 Spitfire Mk I squadrons.

The 1,175 hp Merlin XII was adopted as the standard power plant in the Type 329 Spitfire II with a Rotol three-blade propeller and 73 lb of amour protection, but this variant was otherwise similar to the Spitfire I, retaining the eight-gun armament. Deliveries commenced in 1940, the Spitfire II having followed the Mark I on the production lines and becoming the first major production variant to be delivered from Castle Bromwich. Whereas the Spitfire IA had its armour added in service, the IIA left the factory with armour installed.


Spitfire II


The production difficulties with early Spitfires were shown by comparative figures for mid-1940, when the rate was still averaging only 80 a month compared with 236 a month for the Hurricane. It would be early 1942 before the monthly output of Spitfires exceeded that of Hurricanes, and the slow build-up of production in 1938/39 combined with losses suffered by Fighter Command during the fighting over France meant there were few in August 1940.
The first two squadrons converted to fly Spitfire IIs in September 1940.
Castle Bromwich Mk.IIA


Although outnumbered by Hurricanes by three to two throughout the summer of 1940, the Spitfires of Fighter Comand inflicted more than half the total losses suffered by the Luftwaffe. The Spitfire squadrons alone lost 118 fighters in combat during August, a further 55 being damaged. Adding to those lost or damaged in accidents or by enemy bombing, 237 Spitfires were deleted from the inventory during that month alone, and the total output of the factories engaged in Spitfire production amounted to only 163 machines. Attrition in September was more serious, 156 being manufactured and 281 being lost to strength, of which 130 were destroyrd and 80 damaged in combat. In the week ending September 13, the reserves were only 47 Spitfires ready for delivery in storage units.
By December 1940 Spitfire Mk IIs were carrying out 'Rhubarb' sweeps over occupied Europe.


During 1940 the Spitfire MkI and MkII barely maintained superiority over the Messerschmitt Bf109E so the Air Staff turned their attention to the question of a replacement. Their preferred successor was the MkIII, fitted with a Merlin XX engine and incorporating a new wing design.

Realising it would take time to tool up for a new production aircraft and because of problems with the Merlin XX, the Air Ministry asked Rolls-Royce, as an interim measure, to install the Merlin 45 engine in the Spitfire Mk I airframe. Between 1941 and 1943 over 6500 of this Type 349 MkV version were produced. The spitfire Mk III never did go into production but some of the new design features intended for it were incorporated into the MkV. 


During late 1941 or the first half of 1942 experiments with Supermarine Spitfire aircraft using catapults from CAM-ships were under taken at Farnborough. Intended to replace the Hurricane
The experiments went successfully it turned out that the Spitfire was simply not required.

The Spitfire MkV was one of the most successful 'stop-gaps' ever introduced into Royal Air Force Service. Over one hundred and forty RAF squadrons operated the type. It served on all battlefronts and was supplied to nine other countries including the Soviet Union and the United States.


Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Vb

By 1944 only five squadrons remained in service. Even so, two Spitfire MkV squadrons provided gunfire direction on 6 June 1944 for naval units off the D-Day beached of Normandy.

The first squadron to fly the Spitfire V was the No. 92 and in March 1942, fifteen Spitfire VBs which had been shipped to Malta on H.M.S. Eagle, became the first Spitfires to serve outside Europe. Spitfires of this Mark were later to serve in the Western Desert and the Pacific by early 1943 and Burma areas.

In the normal course of development, means were sought to increase the altitude performance of the Spitfire which was inferior to that of the Messerschmitt Bf 109E . This called for two principal modifications, the introduction of a pressurized cabin and the use of an engine suitably rated for higher altitude. The first version of the Spitfire so equipped was the Mark VI derived directly from the Mark VB as a result of work on pressure cabins at the Royal Aircraft Establishment and Supermarine during 1940-41. At the R.A.E., R7120 was fitted with a Merlin 47 (the high rated version of the Merlin 45) with a four-blade Rotol propeller with Jablo blades and a pressure cabin. The same engine was employed by the 100 Spitfire VI (Type 350) fighters built by Supermarine the first two of these AB176 and X4942 serving as prototypes. The production Spitfire VI also had an increase in wing area to improve controllability at high altitudes the wing being of pointed planform with a span of 40 ft. 2 in. The pressure cabin was contained between the bulkheads fore and aft of the cockpit and a special non-sliding hood was fitted to simplify the sealing problem. A Marshall blower provided a cabin differential of 2 lb./s. in. reducing apparent altitude from 40,000 feet to 28,000 feet. In other respects including armament the Spitfire VI was similar to the Mark VB.

The Spitfire VII high-altitude fighter evolved from Supermarine Spitfire VC with pressurized cockpit, sliding hood, increased fuel capacity, retractable tail wheel, two-stage, two-speed 1,565 hp Merlin 61 or 1,710 hp Merlin 64 (in Supermarine Spitfire F Mk VII) or 1,475 hp high-altitude Merlin 71 (Supermarine Spitfire HF Mk VII). Extended wing-tips usually fitted and, later aircraft, broad-chord rudder with extended tip. Prototype conversions of Mk VCs flown second half of 1942; 140 produced by Supermarine, first deliveries September 1942 and operations began same month. One Mk VII to USAAF at Wright Field in April 1943.

The Spitfire VII (Type 351) was a more extensive re-design for high-altitude work and was the first of the Spitfire series intended to make use of the two speed Merlin 60 series of engines. These two-stage engines were coupled with a re-designed cooling system which showed itself in the enlarged air intake under the port wing matching that to starboard. The wing outline remained similar to that of the Spitfire VI but the ailerons were reduced in span. The chord and area of the rudder were increased and the elevator horn balance was extended. Structural changes were made to the fuselage to take the increased engine loads and a double-glaze sliding hood was fitted to the cockpit. The retractable tail wheel first developed for the Spitfire III was applied in production for the first time on the Mark VII and the universal C -type wing was employed. Maximum speed jumped by 44 m.p.h. to 408 m.p.h. and normal loaded weight climbed to 7,875 lb.

1652 Spitfire Mk VIII variants were built.

Spitfire VIII

The Mk.IX had been a quick lash-up of the MK.V to get the 60s series of Merlins into action in 1942. There were a number of minor strengthening modifications enroute, but it was still basically the same Spitfire as the Mk.I. The Mk.IX entered production in 1942. Despite a weight of 3.5 tonnes, the speed had jumped to 650km/h (405mph). About 5600 were built with British built Merlins and a further 1053 were fitted with American Packard V-1650 (Merlin 266) engines when these became available in 1943. Those Spitfires were known as LF Mk.XVI, largely for allocation to squadrons of the 2nd Tactical Air Force in 1944, with a 12 volt systems.

Spifire F.IX
A total of 5665 Mk.IX were built in three main variants; Pr.IX photoreconnaissance conversion, Pr.X (77 built, unarmed but pressurised versions with the Merlin 77), and Pr.XI conversions. Sub-variants were he LF.IX and HF.IX with clipped and extended wings for the low- and high-altitude roles respectively, and E-suffixed versions with two 0.5in / 12.7mm machine guns in place of the four of smaller calibre.


Spitfire IXe

The Mk.XVI (basically a Mk.9 with a Packard Merlin) was the final Merlin powered Spitfire, all later models were powered by the RR Griffon. The Packard Merlin 266 supercharger gear was electro-hydraulically operated rather then electro-pneumatically as with the RR Merlin 66 fitted to the Mk.IX.


Spitfire 16


Pilots who converted from the Merlin to the Griffon-engined Spitfires soon discovered that, because the Griffon engine's propeller rotated in the opposite direction to that of the Merlin, the fighter swung to the right on take-off rather than to the left. This tendency was even more marked with the more powerful 60 and 80 series Griffon engines, with their five-bladed propellers. As a result, pilots had to learn to apply left (port) trim on take-off, instead of the right (starboard) trim they were used to applying. On take-off, the throttle had to be opened slowly, as the pronounced swing to the right could lead to "crabbing" and severe tyre wear.


Some test Spitfire XIVs, 21s, and 24s were fitted with contra-rotating propellers, which eliminated the torque effect. Early problems with the complex gearbox that was required for contra-rotating propellers prevented them from ever becoming operational in Spitfires, but they were used on later aircraft including the Seafire FR. Mk 46 and F and FR.47, which were fitted with Griffon 87s driving contra-rotating propellers as standard equipment. The Griffon 57 and 57A series, driving contra-rotating propellers, was used in the Avro Shackleton maritime patrol aircraft.


The prefix LF signified 32 ft 7 in (9.88m) clipped wings (shorter than the usual F by 1.35m). The LF clipped wing variant was faster and more agile at low level for the ground attack role.

A degree of multi-role capability was to result from the development of low-altitude clipped wings (prefix LF), and high-altitude increased-span wings (HF), the standard wing being identified as F, and with variations of armament within these wings comprising eight machine-guns (suffix A), two cannon and four machine-guns (B), four cannon (C) and two cannon, two 12.7mm machine-guns and up to 454kg of bombs (E).

Spitfire LF Mk XVIE; The "E" status indicated the armament, two 20mm Hispano cannon and two 0.5 Browning machine guns.

In November 1939 Supermarine allocated Type 337 for a feasibility study of a Griffon engined Spitfire.

The FR.XIV was a redesigned and strengthened airframe for the 2050 Griffon 65 or 66 with a five blade prop, broad tail and tear drop canopy.

The Spitfire XIX reconnaissance version became the fastest of all the wartime Spitfires with a speed of nearly 748 km/h (460 mph).

The Mk.21 featured a stronger wing to carry two cannon in each wing, and a new, strengthened, fuselage and tail unit. The Mk.21 first flew in 1943 and entered production in 1944.

The last major production Spitfire was the F22. The F24 differed only in the smallest of details and some F24s were converted from F22 airframes. The Spitfire F24 was the ultimate development of the type, but the advent of the jet fighter meant that only small numbers were built and even fewer went into Royal Air Force service. Only seventy F24s were completed and most went into store although No.80 Squadron was fully equipped with the type.

These examples of the Spitfire incorporated all the modifications and improvements developed on earlier marks. The F24s had a tear-drop canopy for greater visibility and enlarged tail surfaces for better control. Like many of the later marks the F24 was fitted with the more powerful Griffon engine which provided a 160kph (100mph) greater top speed than the early Spitfires and almost twice the rate of climb. The weight of firepower from its cannon had tripled over the types' original fit of eight machineguns.

With the war nearly over only 350 Mk.21s, 22s and 24s were built of the 3000 or so ordered. The last Spitfire was built in 1947.

Spitfire Tr.IX


The Seafire (abbreviated from the original name ‘Sea Spitfire’) gave the Royal Navy (RN) a carrier-based air superiority fighter aircraft in WW2. As a direct development of the Spitfire, it suffered from a short range, but its fast climb and agility made it an effective fleet defence fighter and Seafire squadrons served in the Mediterranean, on D-Day and against the Japanese in the Pacific.


Interest in the idea of a carrier-borne Spitfire first surfaced in the late 1930s and Supermarine’s Chief Designer, Joseph Smith, had an ‘A-frame’ arrestor hook fitted on a Spitfire. This flew on 16 October 1939 as the type Type 338. Supermarine proposed a Spitfire design to the Fleet Air Arm (FAA) with the arrestor hook and with wings that swivelled and folded back, and in February 1940 the Admiralty requested the production of fifty of these but the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, intervened and the order was and cancelled.


Churchill regarded the production of Fulmars vital and the greater need for land Spitfires, the diversion of resources to a new navalised variant would reduce Spitfire’s production numbers.


The first Sea Spitfires were simply existing examples (Mk.Vb) with some naval equipment added (hook and catapult spools, as well as Naval instruments and radios) but without major modifications such as folding wings. However when the Seafire began operations, it was quickly found that the fuselage of these modified Spitfires was too weak for carrier operations. Reinforcing strips were riveted around hatch openings and along the main fuselage longerons to alleviate these issues. This was the Seafire Mk Ib, becoming the first of several Seafire variants to reach the FAA. Catapult and deck trails began early in 1942, and in the spring, contracts were placed to convert 116 Spitfire Mk.Vb into Seafire Mk.Ib examples. The Seafire IIc followed this. Although of similar configuration, it was purposely re-designed for naval use. To follow was the Mk.III, which was also the first to use (manually) folding wings, and this became the final version to see WW2 service. The Seafire L.III was based on the Spitfire Mk.VC.


Because of the small size of the carriers, and the harder landing-on techniques, it was found that approaches were difficult, visibility was limited, landing gear collapses were commonplace, and the arrester hooks had a tendency to miss and bounce back into the fuselage with the inevitable resultant collision with the deck park or barrier. As a low-level fleet defence interceptor, the Seafire was supreme, but its fragility was its Achilles heal. More were lost to landing gear failures in hard landings than to enemy action.


First entering service with No 807 Squadron in mid-1942 and going to sea on board HMS Furious.


After initial placement on the Russian convoy routes, the FAA’s Seafires saw the majority of their action in the Pacific campaigns. Due to their good high altitude performance (and lack of ordnance-carrying capability) the Seafires were allocated the Combat Air Patrol (CAP) defensive duties. Flying over the fleet, they were heavily involved in countering the Kamikaze attacks during the Iwo Jima landings and beyond.


Seafire XV

A total of 20,334 Spitfires and 2,556 related new-build Seafire naval fighters were built. It also had the distinction of remaining in production throughout the entire war and was operational post-war, the last mission flown by a photo-reconnaissance Spitfire PR.Mk 19 of No. 81 Squadron in Malaya on 1 April 1954.


Work on a more powerful Seafire with a Rolls Royce Griffon began during WW2, but the Mk.XV didn’t arrive in time to take part, but it was followed by a series of Griffon powered versions and these filled the gap before the arrival of Hawker’s Sea Fury. With a bubble canopy and upgraded undercarriage, the Seafire XVII was an improved version of the XV. 


Then the Seafire Mk.45 was the first version to be powered by a Griffon 60 series engine, but was a retrograde step in having fixed wings and it suffered from directional instability caused by engine torque.
Built by Vickers Armstrong at Castle Bromwich under contract B981687/39, the F Mk.46 Seafire started life as a part of the seventh order for 300 Spitfire Mk.Vc’s in March 1942. However, this contract was cancelled in 1943 but then later re-established as an order for 120 Spitfire Mk.21’s. This order was then further extended to inculde 94 Seafire F Mk.45’s and Mk.46’s.
To solve the torque problems, contra-rotating propellers were introduced on the Mk.46, but curiously, folding wings were not incorporated, and so it never saw front-line service. Seen as a “semi-navalised” variant of the Spitfire Mk.22, the Mk.46 Seafire was fitted with the bubble style canopy and the cut-down rear fuselage, which was seen earlier on the Mk.XVIII Seafire, but this new aircraft lacked the curved windscreen of the earlier aircraft. The previous Mk.45 Seafire was euipped to carry 120 gallons (454 litres) of fuel; added to this the Mk.46 was fitted with a 33 gallons (125 litres) fuel tank in the rear fuselage, also it could also will fitted with two 22½ gallon (84 litre) drop tanks under each wing. The power for the Mk.46 came from a Griffon 87 engine which was connected to a six-bladed Rotol contra-rotating propeller.  The double propeller system successfully counted the engine torque seen in the earlier Griffon engines. Also the Mk.46 was to be fitted with the enlarged tail section from the Spiteful airframe.
Seafire Mk.46
So with the combination of the contra-rotating propeller system and the new tail, this gave the aircraft greater stability, making it much easier to fly. The Mk.46 was fitted with a 24 volt electrical system, unlike the Mk.45 which was just 12 volts. The both the Fighter and the Fighter-Reconnaissance variants of the Mk.46 were fully tropicalised and provision was made for deck landings with a “string” type arrester hook. However, it was planned that this variant would be only used from shore bases.
The prototype, TM383, was in fact a Mk.21 Spitfire airframe modified by Cunliffe-Owen and first flew on the 8th September 1944. This aircraft was scheduled as the third prototype for the Mk.45, but was withdrawn from that contract for use on the Mk.46 trials. By January 1945 was well into its prototype trials. It was stated that during one of the trails “Dived in formation with LA436 (a Mk.45) at 495 knots LA436 was going steeper and accelerating but vibration on TM383 became such that it was eased out of the dive”.
The FR Mk.46 only differed by having the provisions for a pair of F.24 aerial cameras to be fitted in the rear fuselage, one in the vertical and the other in oblique positions. To stop mud and dirt covering the vertical camera port during take-off, a “mud-flap” was fitted over the port and was jettisoned by the pilot once airborne. Both aircraft variants were also fitted with a cine-camera mounted in the leading edge of the starboard wing.
The Mk.46 was armed with 4 x 20mm Mk.II cannons and with its strengthened wings it could carry either 8 x 25lb or 60lb head rocket projectiles and mounted uder the fuselage it could carry 1 x 250lb or 500lb bomb.
Only 24 Seafire Mk.46’s were to be finally produced and they carried the serial numbers LA541 to LA564. Entering into service in 1948, the Mk.46 was seen as an interim aircraft and as such it was not to see front fline service and was only used in the training role by Nos. 736, 738, 767, 771, 777, 778, 781 and 787 Naval Air Squadrons. Later a number of these aircraft were also to see service with various trials organisations. One airframe LA544 was used on anti-spin trials in 1946 and as such was fitted with an anti-spin parachute and fin guard.
Before the Mk.46 was retired from service in 1951, the last of the F Mk.46’s were operated by No. 1832 RNVR Squadron.
The final version, the Mk.47, with the addition of folding wings, was actually suitable for carrier operations and saw combat in Malaya and in the early campaigns of the Korean War. Eventually over 2,000 Seafires were produced, 1,200 RR Merlin powered and 800 RR Griffon powered.


Seafire F Mk. 47


The last Seafire were finally withdrawn from first-line duties in 1952.




Seafire versions:
Seafire Mk.Ib
166 Spitfire Mk.Vb basic conversions with hooks; 118 Cunliffe-Owen aircraft had catapult spools. None had folding wings. Rolls-Royce Merlin 45 or 46; two Hispano cannon and two .303in Browning machine guns.
Seafire F.Mk IIc
First purpose-built version of the Seafire, produced alongside the Ib still had fixed wings, but catapult spools and slinging lugs.
Seafire L.(F).Mk IIc
Low altitude fighter version with ‘cropped’ supercharger Merlin 32, four blade airscrew. Spitfire Mk Vc conversion.
Seafire F.R. Mk IIc
Could be ftted with two F.24 cameras.
Seafire F.Mk III
Seafire L(F).Mk III
Seafire F.R. Mk III
All folding wing equipped equivalents to Mk IIc variants.
Seafire Mk III
(Hybrid) Westland-built model with normal non-folding wings; Merlin 55; redesignated as L(F).Mk IIc.
Seafire Mk XV
Fuselage of the Spitfire V (Seafire III), wing-root fuel tanks from the Spitfire IX, enlarged fin, rudder & retractable tail wheel from Spitfire VIII and the Griffon engine installation of the Spitfire XII, plus Seafire III folding wings.
Seafire Mk.XVII / FR.XVII
Improved Seafire XV, with bubble canopy and cut-down rear fuselage adopted for last 30 Seafire XVs combined with a better undercarriage and stronger wings. The new rear-fuselage was also able to carry an extra fuel tank, which could be replaced with two cameras to produce the FR.XVII.
Seafire Mk.45
Interim model, lacking folding wings and with an older fuselage design than the Seafire XVII powered by Griffon 60 series and five-blade propeller. Based on Spitfire 21, with high back, new planform (non-folding) wings, armed with four 20mm cannon. The wings also carried four leading edge fuel tanks. Found to be unsuitable for carrier use.
Seafire Mk.46
Based on the Spitfire 22, and so had the bubble canopy and cut-down rear fuselage also seen on the Seafire XVII. It was powered by a Griffon 87 engine that drove two three-bladed contra-rotating propellers.
Seafire F.Mk.47
The final version of the Spitfire line. Navalised Spitfire Mk 24 with wing-folding (manual, later hydraulic) dual three-bladed contra-rotating airscrew and increased fuel capacity. Provision for Rocket Assisted Take Off Gear (RATOG). It could carry 287 gals of fuel, a range of about 1,000 miles. Another type ‘best’ achieved by this variant was top speeds of 452 mph. Ninety built, most converted to Fighter Reconnaissance (FR).


Church Spitfire
Harris Spitfire
Isaacs Spitfire
Jurca MJ-10 Baby Spitfire
Jurca MJ-100 Baby Spitfire
Supermarine Aircraft Spitfire Mk.25 (75%)
Supermarine Aircraft Spitfire Mk.26 (80% & 90%)

Specifications –

Type 300 Prototype:
Engine: 1030 hp Merlin II / 738kW Rolls-Royce Merlin C
Propeller: de Havilland fixed pitch two-bladed wooden
Weight: 5322 lb / 2418 kg
Speed at 16,800ft/5120m: 349 mph / 561 kg
Speed at 30,000ft/9145m: 324 mph / 521 kph
Time to 30,000ft/9145m: 17 min
Time to 18,000ft/5485m: 5 min 42 sec
Service ceiling: 35.000 ft / 10,670 m
Spitfire I
Engine: Rolls-Royce Merlin Mk II, 1016 hp
Prop: Airscrew Company wooden fixed-pitch two-blade.
Length: 29.921 ft / 9.12 m
Height: 11.417 ft / 3.48 m
Wingspan: 36.811 ft / 11.22 m
Wing area 242 sq. ft
Weight empty: 4,810 lb. (2,180 kg)
Max take off weight: 5325.1 lb / 2415.0 kg
Wing loading: 24 lb/sq.ft
Fuel capacity: 85 Imperial gallons
Maximum speed: 355 mph (570 kph) at 19,000 ft
Maximum diving speed: 450 mph
Initial climb rate: 2,500 ft./min
Max ROC: 2420 fpm / 737 m/m
Time to 20,000 ft: 9.4 min
Range: 575 miles (920 km)
Combat range: 395 miles
Service ceiling: 33990 ft / 10360 m
Roll rate: 140 deg./sec
Standard armament: eight 0.303-in. Browning machine-guns / 300 rounds
Crew: 1
Spitfire I
Prop: DH 2 position
Empty weight: 4517 lb / 2049 kg
Normal loaded weight: 5844 lb / 2651 kg
Max speed; 346 mph / 557 kph
Cruise: 304 mph / 489 kph at 15,000 ft / 4570 m
Time to 15,000 ft / 4570 m: 6.85 min
Service ceiling; 30,500 ft / 9300 m
T/O to 59 ft / 15 m: 1605 ft / 489 m
Normal range + res: 415 mi / 668 km
Econ cruise: 600 mi / 965 km at 175 mph / 282 kph
Type 329 Spitfire II
Engine: 1,175 hp Merlin XII
Propeller: Rotol three-blade
Spitfire IIA
Engine: Merlin XII, 1175 hp
Prop: Rotol constant speed
Max speed: 357 mph / 574 kph at 17,000 ft / 5190 m
Time to 20.000 ft / 6070m: 7 min
Max ROC; 2620 fpm / 798 m/min


Type 349 Spitfire V
Engine: Merlin 45
Loaded weight: 6,417 lb
Maximum speed: 369 mph

Spitfire VA
Engine: 1 x Rolls-Royce Merlin 45, 1102kW / 1478 hp
Wingspan: 11.23 m / 37 ft 10 in
Length: 9.12 m / 30 ft 11 in
Height: 3.02 m / 10 ft 11 in
Wing area: 22.48 sq.m / 241.97 sq ft
Max take-off weight: 2911 kg / 6418 lb
Empty weight: 2267 kg / 4998 lb
Max. speed: 594 km/h / 369 mph at 5945 m
Ceiling: 11125 m / 36500 ft
Range w/max.fuel: 1827 km / 1135 miles
Armament: 8 x 7.7mm machine-guns

Spitfire VB
Speed: 369 mph at 19,750 ft
Max range: 1135 miles
Armament: 2 x 20mm .303in Cannon, 4 x mg
Seats: 1

Spitfire LF.VB
Powerplant: 1 x Rolls-Royce Merlin 40M, 50M or 55M,1096kW (1,470 hp)
Span: 9.80m (32ft 2in)
Length: 9.11 m (29ft 11 in)
Normal T/O weight: 3016 kg (6650 lb)
Max speed: 357 mph @ 6000 ft
Operational range: 470 miles
Armament: 2 x 20-mm cannon and 4 x 7.7-mm (0.303-in) mg
Wingspan: 32 ft 7 in (9.88m)

Type 350 Spitfire VI
Engines: 1 x Rolls-Royce Merlin 47, 1415 hp
Wing span: 40 ft 2 in (12.224 m)
Length: 29 ft 11 in (9.12m)
Max TO wt: 6797 lb (3083 kg)
Max level speed: 364 mph (586 kph).
Cabin differential: 2 lb/

Type 351 Spitfire VII
Engine: 1,565 hp Merlin 61
Wingspan 17.3 m (40 ft. 2 in.)
Length 9 m (29 ft. 11 in.)
Height 3.58 m (11 ft. 5 in.)
Gross weight 3,575 kg (7,875 lb.)
Maximum speed: 408 m.p.h

Spitfire HF VII
Engine: 1,475 hp Merlin 71

Spitfire F VII
Engine: 1,710 hp Merlin 64
Wingspan: 8.53m

Spitfire Mk VIII
Engine: Rolls-Royce Merlin 70, 1710 horsepower (1275.66 kW)
Propeller: Rotol Constant Speed 10'9" diameter (3.22m)
Engine driven propeller governor hydraulically controls four wooden blades.
Fuel: Aviation Gasoline 100 Octane
Fuselage Tank Capacity: 90 Imperial Gallons / 409 Litres / 108 U.S. Gallons
Wing Tank Capacity (2): 30 Imperial Gallons / 136 Litres / 36 U.S.Gallons
Wingspan: 36' 10"  / 11.23 m
Length: 31' 3.5" / 9.54 m
Wing Area: 242 sq. ft / 22.50 sq. m
Height: 12' 7.75” / 3.85 m
Empty weight: 5,805 lb / 2,633 kg
Maximum Takeoff weight: 8,021 lb / 3,638 kg
Maximum Speed: 361 knots / 416 mph / 669 km/h
Cruise Speed: 220 knots / 253 mph / 407 km/h
Armament: Two 20mm Hispano Cannons, Four .303 in. Browning Machine Guns.
Bombload: one 500 lb (227 kg) or two 250 lb (114 kg)

Spitfire IX
Engine: Rolls Royce Merlin 70
Wing span: 11.3 m
Length: 9.5 m
Weight: 3300 kg
Armament: 2 x 20 mm cannon, 4 x .303 mg
Max speed: 650 kph / 405mph
Range: 700 km

Spitfire LF.IXB
Wingspan: 32 ft 7 in (9.88m)

Spitfire F.IX
Engine: RR Merlin 63
Wingspan: 8.53m


Spitfire F.IX
Engine: Rolls-Royce Merlin 63. 1650 hp / 1230 kW
Wingspan: 36 ft 10 in / 11.22 m
Wing area: 242.0 sq.ft / 22.48 sq.m
Length: 31 ft 0 in / 9.46 m
Height: 12 ft 7.75 in / 3.85 m
Empty weight: 5610 lb / 3545 kg
MTOW: 9500 lb / 4309 kg
Max speed: 408 mph / 655 kph at 25,000 ft / 7620 m
Initial ROC: 3950 fpm / 1204 m/min
Service ceiling: 43,000 ft / 12,105 ft
Range: 980 miles / 1576 km
Armament: 2 x 20mm cannon / 4 x 0.303 in mg
Bombload: 1000 lb / 454 kg
Seats: 1

Spitfire IXe
Armament: two 20mm Hispano cannon, two 0.5 Browning machine-guns
Bombload: 454kg

Spitfire Tr.IX
Seats: 2

Spitfire XII
Engine: Rolls-Royee Griffon, 2050 hp

Spitfire XIV
Engine: RR Griffon 65, 2022 hp
Length: 29.068 ft / 8.86 m
Wingspan: 36.844 ft / 11.23 m
Wing area: 244.02 sq.ft / 22.67 sq.m
Max take off weight: 10281.9 lb / 4663.0 kg
Weight empty: 6701.0 lb / 3039.0 kg
Max speed: 448 mph (721 km/h) at 26,000 ft (7,925 m)
Max. speed: 389 kt / 721 km/h
Cruising speed: 315 kt / 583 km/h
Service ceiling: 42995 ft / 13105 m
Wing loading: 42.23 lb/sq.ft / 206.0 kg/sq.m
Crew: 1
Armament: 2x 20mm MG, 2x cal.50 MG (12,7mm), 227kg Bomb.

Spitfire FR.XIVe

Engine: Griffon 65 or 66, 2050 hp
Prop: 5 blade
Armament: two 20mm Hispano cannon, two 0.5 Browning machine-guns
Bombload: 454kg

Spitfire F.XV

Spitfire XVI
Engine: Packard V-1650 (Merlin 266), two speed, two-stage supercharger, 1700 hp (1245kW)
Propeller: Rotol Constant Speed 10'9" diameter (3.22m) four wooden blades
Fuel: Aviation Gasoline 100 Octane
Wingspan: 36' 10" / 9.93 m
Length: 31' 4" / 9.55 m
Wing Area: 242 sq. ft / 22.50 sq. m
Height: 12' 7 1/2" / 3.85 m
Fuselage Tank Capacity: 48 Imperial Gallons / 218 Litres / 57 U.S. Gallons
Wing Tank Capacity (2): 37 Imperial Gallons / 168 Litres / 44 U.S.Gallons
Empty weight: 5,985 lb / 2,715 kg
Maximum Takeoff weight: 8,700 lb / 3,946 kg
Maximum Speed: 361 knots / 416 mph / 669 km/h
Cruise Speed: 220 knots / 253 mph / 407 km/h
Armament: Two 20mm Hispano Cannon
Bombload: one 500 lb (227 kg) or two 250 lb (114 kg)

Spitfire LF XVI
Engine: Packard V-1650 (Merlin 266)
12 volt systems

Spitfire LF XVIe
Armament: two 20mm Hispano cannon, two 0.5 Browning machine-guns
Bombload: 454kg

Spitfire PR.XIX
Speed: 748 km/h (460 mph)

Spitfire 21

Spitfire 22
Engine: Rolls-Royce Griffon, 2,375 hp

Spitfire F22

Spitfire F.24
Engine: 2350 hp Rolls-Royce Griffon
Maximum speed: 450 mph

Seafire XV
Engine: RR Griffon, 1850 hp

Seafire L.III
Engine: Rolls Royce Merlin 55, 1450 hp
Length: 29.987 ft / 9.14 m
Height: 11.155 ft / 3.4 m
Wingspan: 36.68 ft / 11.18 m
Wing area: 241.975 sq.ft / 22.48 sq.m
Max take off weight: 7102.3 lb / 3221.0 kg
Weight empty: 5400.0 lb / 2449.0 kg
Max. speed: 306 kt / 566 km/h
Cruising speed: 190 kt / 351 km/h
Service ceiling: 33793 ft / 10300 m
Cruising altitude: 20013 ft / 6100 m
Wing loading: 29.32 lb/sq.ft / 143.0 kg/sq.m
Maximum range: 630 nm / 1167 km
Range: 404 nm / 748 km
Crew: 1
Armament: 2x 20mm MG, 4x cal.303 MG (7,7mm)
Bombload: 227kg

Seafire F Mk.46 and FR Mk.46 Supermarine Type 388
Engine: Two-stage two-speed Supercharged Griffon 87, 1,540 hp
Wing Span: 36 ft 11 in
Length: 33 ft 3 in (tail up), 34 ft 6 in (to tip of arrestor hook)
Height: 11 ft 6 in (Tail up), 12 ft 6 in (tail down)
Max Speed: 435 mph at 24,000 ft
Max altitude: 40,700 ft
Armament: Four Hispano 20mm Mk.II Cannons
Bomb Load: One 250lb/500lb bomb under fuselage, eight (four each wing) rocket projectiles.

Crew: 1

Supermarine Spitfire




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