Aircraft, Airport, Aircraft Specification

The Supermarine Spitfire

The Supermarine Spitfire

Spitfire WW2 British Fighter Aircraft

The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single seat fighter aircraft that was used by the Royal Air Force and other allied countries during and after the Second World War. The Spitfire was built in many variants, using several wing configurations.

Supermarine Spitfire LF Mk XIIs – 41 Squadron – April 1944

The Supermarine Spitfire was produced in greater numbers than any other British aircraft; it was also the only British fighter to be in continuous production throughout the war. The Spitfire continues to be a popular aircraft, with approximately 53 Spitfires being airworthy, while many more are static exhibits in aviation museums all over the world.

Supermarine Spitfire HF.VIIIc 5501 – display at Saxonwold, Johannesburg. South Africa.

Spitfire high-performance interceptor

R.J. Mitchell, chief designer, designed the short-range high-performance interceptor aircraft at the Super Marine Aviation Center, operating as Vickers Armstrong from 1928. In accordance with its role as an interceptor, Mitchell designed the Spitfire’s distinctive elliptical wing to have the thinnest possible cross-section; this thin wing enabled the Spitfire to have a higher top speed than several contemporary fighters, including the Hawker Hurricane. Mitchell continued to refine the design until his death from cancer in 1937, where upon his colleague Joseph Smith took over as chief designer, overseeing the development of the Spitfire through its multitude of variants.

Spitfire HF Mk VII. shape of the ellipse altered by the extended “pointed” wing tips

Even though there were more Hawker Hurricane shouldering a greater proportion of the burden during the Battle of Britain July October 1940, against the Luftwaffe, the spitfire units higher performance and victory to loss ratio were performing much better than the flying Hurricane and the public perceived the Spitfire as the RAF number one aircraft fighter.

Backbone of the RAF fighter Command

After the Battle of Britain, the Spitfire superseded the Hurricane to become the backbone of the RAF Fighter Command, and saw action in the European, Mediterranean, Pacific and the South-East Asian theatres. Much love by its pilots, the Spitfire served in several roles, including interceptor, photo-reconnaissance, fighter-bomber and trainer, it continued to serve in these roles until the 1950s. The HMS Seafire was a carrier based adaptation of the Spitfire which served in the Fleet Air Arm from 1942 through to the mid-1950s.

Spitfires and Wildcats aboard Wasp on 19 April 1942

Although the original airframe was designed to be powered by a Rolls Royce Griffon engines producing up to 2,340 hp (1,745 kW); the Merlin engine producing 1,030 hp (768 kW), was strong and adaptable enough to power the Spitfire. As a consequence of this the Spitfire’s performance and capabilities improved, sometimes dramatically, over the course of its life making the Supermarine Spitfire one of the most popular fighter aircraft during the second world war.

Spitfire Squadron British Fighter Documentary
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