BRITISH AIRCRAFT 
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SUPERMARINE SPITFIRE

AR213 | AB910 | AR501 | BM597 | EP120| MH434
MK356 | MV293 | P7350 | P9374 |PL965 | PM631
PS853 | PS890 | PS915 | SX336 TA805 | TD248
TE184 | X4650

The Supermarine Spitfire was designed by Reginald J Mitchell, the Chief Designer at Supermarine Aviation Works, he revised the design until his untimely death in 1937 from cancer, aged just 42 years.

The Spitfire was the only Allied aircraft to be produced throughout the Second World War and was manufactured in more numbers than any other Aliied aircraft. The Mark V was the most extensively used variation of the Spitfire during WWII and was developed to rival the Messerschmitt Bf 109.

The unique elliptical wing design produced a thin cross-section which produced less drag than a conventional design, resulting in a higher top speed than several of its contemporary fighters.

The early Spitfire Mark I and II were armed with eight 0.303 Browning machining guns, four in each wing. The Spitfire Mark V was modified to accomodate two cannon and four machine guns with the later Spifire Mark Vc having wings designed to be capable of accomodating eight machine guns or two cannon and four machine guns or four cannon.

The original airframe of the Spitfire was designed to be powered by the Rolls Royce Merlin V12 engine with the early version producing 1030hp. Due to the robust design of the original airframe it was able to be modified to accomodate the increasingly more powerful Merlin and then later the Rolls Royce Griffon V12 engine which generated upto 2035hp.



Rolls Royce Merlin III (Play to hear sound)

The Spitfire was loved by its pilots as it was very easy to fly, responsive and could outurn many of its counterparts, this coupled with its inherent strength and speed made it a formidable opponent.

Altogether 27 different marks saw service up until 1947 and total Spitfire/Seafire production reached over 22,000. The Spitfire was used in several roles other than fighter including: - Interceptor, Photo Reconaissance, Fighter Bomber, Carrier based fighter and trainer.

Specifications & Variations
Spitfire Mk.I
Engine : Rolls Royce Merlin II/III
Power : 1,030-hp
Max. Speed : 362mph
Length : 29ft 11in.
Wing Span : 36ft 10in.
Height : 11ft 5in.
Armament : 8 x 0.303 Machine guns
Max. Weight : 5,800lb
Range : 395 miles
Number Built : 1,583
Entered Service : 1938.

Spitfire Mk.II
Castle Bromwich aircraft with small changes
and 1,175-hp Merlin XII engine,
Number Built : 750 IIA and 170 IIB

Spitfire Mk.III
Experimental prototype with 1,280-hp Merlin XX engine,
Number Built : 1

Spitfire Mk.IV
Griffon engined prototype,

Spitfire Mk.V
Strengthened fuselage for 1,440-hp Merlin 45 or 1,470-hp Merlin 50, drop tank and bomb provisions,
Armament : 8 x 0.303 Machine guns ,
2 x 20mm Cannon & 4 x 0.303 Machine guns
or 4 x 20mm Cannon,
Number Built : 94 Va, 3,923 Vb & 2,447 Vc.

Spitfire Mk.VI
High altitude intercepter with 1,415-hp Merlin 47, pressurized cockpit and pointed wings,
Number Built : 100.

Spitfire Mk.VII
High altitude intercepter with 2 stage Merlin 61, 64 or 71, pressurized cockpit, retractable tailwheel, often broad pointed rudder
Number Built : 140.

Spitfire Mk.VIII
Definitive fighter with 2 stage Merlin 61, 63, 66, or 70, unpressurized
Number Built : 1,658.

Spitfire Mk.IX
Engine : Rolls Royce Merlin III
Power : 1,565-hp
Max. Speed : 408mph
Length : 31ft 0.5in.
Wing Span : 36ft 10in.
Height : 11ft 8in.
Armament : 2 x 20mm Cannon &
4 x 0.303 Machine guns
Max. Weight : 7,500lb
Range : 434 miles
Number Built : 5,665
Entered Service : 1942.

Spitfire Mk.X
Pressurized version of PR.XI, Merlin 77
Number Built : 16.

Spitfire Mk.XI
Unarmed reconnaissance aircraft, Merlin 61, 63, or 70
Number Built : 471.

Spitfire Mk.XII
Low level intercepter, single stage Griffon II or IV : 1,735-hp,
Armament : 2 x 20mm Cannon &
4 x 0.303 Machine guns
Number Built : 100.

Spitfire Mk.XIII
Low level PR aircraft based on Mk.V but with Merlin 32 (3 blade prop), Four 0.303-in machine guns only
Number Built : 18.

Spitfire Mk.XIV
Engine : Rolls Royce Griffon 65/67
Power : 2,035-hp
Max. Speed : 439mph
Length : 32ft 8in.
Wing Span : 36ft 10in.
Height : 11ft 8.25in.
Armament : 2 x 20mm Cannon &
2 x 0.5 Machine guns
Max. Weight : 8,475lb
Range : 465 miles
Number Built : 957
Entered Service : 1944.

Spitfire Mk.XVI
Mk.IX with Packard Merlin 266, many with teardrop canopy
Armament : 4 x 20mm Cannon or
2 x 20mm Cannon & 2 x 0.5 Machine guns
Number Built : 1,054.

Spitfire Mk.XVIII
Definitive fighter with 2 stage Griffon, teardrop canopy, extra wing fuel, FR.XVIII (postwar FR.18) with rear fuselage reconnaissance camera,
Armament : 2 x 20mm Cannon &
2 x 0.5 Machine guns
Number Built : 300.

Spitfire Mk.XIX
Unarmed PR version, 2 stage Griffon, most pressurized
Number Built : 225.

Spitfire Mk.XX
Prototype rebuilt from Mk.IV and prototype Mk.XII
Number Built : 225.

Spitfire Mk.21
Re-designed airframe, mainly Griffon 61 or 64 driving five bladed propeller,
Armament : 4 x 20mm Cannon
Number Built : 122.

Spitfire Mk.22
Minor changes, some with 2,375-hp Griffon 85, and contraprop
Number Built : 278.

Spitfire Mk.24
Minor changes, Spiteful tail, short barrel Mk.V cannon
Number Built : 54.

Seafire Mk.Ib
Navalized Spitfire VB
Number Built : 166.

Seafire Mk.IIc
Catapult hooks and strengthened landing gear, Merlin 32 engine driving four blade propeller,
Number Built : 372.

Seafire Mk.III
Double folding wing, 1,585-hp Merlin 55M engine,
Number Built : 1,220.

Seafire Mk.XV
Single stage 1,850-hp Griffon VI and asymmetric radiators as Spitfire XII, Most with sting hook, Late production teardrop canopy,
Number Built : 390.

Seafire Mk.XVII or 17
As Seafire XV with teardrop canopy, often strengthened landing gear, Some (FR.17) with camera in place of rear tank,
Number Built : 232.

Seafire Mk.45
Same new airframe as Spitfire 21, Non folding wing, Griffon 61 (5 blade prop), or 85 (contraprop),
Number Built : 50.

Seafire Mk.46
As Seafire 45, teardrop canopy, FR.46 with rear fuselage camera, Late production Spiteful tail,
Number Built : 24.

Seafire Mk.47
Folding wing (most hydraulic), 2,375-hp Griffon 87 or 88 with contraprop and carburettor air inlet just below spinner, Increased fuel, Late production all FR type with camera,
Number Built : 140.
SUPERMARINE SPITFIRE
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Spitfire
©Nigel Key Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Ia - AR213 (Kemble 2010)

The AR213 is a flying example of a Mark I Spitfire, it was built in 1940 by Westland Aircraft and used as a trainer for Nos 53 and 57 Operational Training Units.

The AR213 was flown for a time by James 'Ginger' Lacey the most successful RAF pilot of the Battle of Britain and it also appeared in the film Battle of Britain. After an extensive restoration the aircraft is now on the flying circuit as a representation of a 1941 Mark I Spitfire.

Photographs © Nigel Key, Click thumbnail to enlarge.
Spitfire Mk.VIIIc - MT928 Spitfire Mk.VIIIc - MT928 Seafire Mk.XVII - SX336
Mk.VIIIc - MT928
Mk.VIIIc - MT928
Mk.XVII - SX336
Seafire Mk.XVII - SX336 Spitfire Mk.IX - PL344 Spitfire PR.XIX - PS890
Mk.XVII - SX336
Mk.IX - PL344
PR.XIX - PS890
Spitfire Mk.1a - AR213 Seafire Mk.XVII - SX336 Spitfire PR.XIX - PS853
Mk.1a - AR213
Mk.XVII - SX336
PR.XIX - PS853
Spitfire Mk.Vb - AB910 Spitfire PR.XIX - PS853 Spitfire PR.XI - PL965
Mk.Vb - AB910
PR.XIX - PS853
PR.XI - PL965
Spitfire Mk.Vb - AB910 Spitfire Mk.XVIe - TD248 Spitfire T.IX - IAC-161
Mk.Vb - AB910
Mk.XVIe - TD248
T.IX - IAC-161
Spitfire Mk.XVIe - TD248 Spitfire T.IX - IAC-161 Spitfire PR.XI - PL965
Mk.XVIe - TD248
T.IX - IAC-161
PR.XI - PL965

Spitfire Wings and Armament
The Spitfire had a series of modified wings which were able to house various combinations of armament Each wing variation was given a designation of either 'a' wing, 'b' wing, 'c' wing, 'd' wing, or 'e' wing , as shown below. The wing designation was combined with the mark number of the Spitfire, e.g. Spitfire Mark Ia.

'a' wing
The original design of the spitfire wing housed eight 0.303" Browning Machine Guns as the firepower was adequate for the light aircraft structures encountered early in the second World War, with most of the Spitfires in the Battle of Britain being 'a' wing aircraft. Each machine gun had 300 rounds.

'b' wing
As armour plate was added to German Bombers, two of the more powerfull 20mm Hispano Cannon were fitted to the Spitfire along with four 0.303" Browning Machine Guns. The Hispano Cannon was considerably larger than the original 0.303" Machine Guns and had to be fitted sideways with the barrel protruding from the leading edge. The modifications necessary were designated as the 'b' wing. Each Cannon had 60 rounds.

'c' wing
A further modification to the wing known as a 'Universal' wing was made that could house various options as necessary depending upon operational requirements: -
i) Eight 0.303" Browning Machine Guns,
ii) Four 20mm Hispano Cannon,
iii) Two 20mm Hispano Cannon and four 0.303 Browning Machine Guns. Each Cannon with 120 rounds
The 'c' wing could also carry two 250lb bombs under the wings or one 500lb bomb under the fuselage.

'd' wing
Due to the performance of the Spitfire it was also used for photo reconaissance and the 'd' wing was modified to to carry more fuel instead of guns for an increased range. Although the aircraft was unarmed due to its increased performance, due to lightness, its defense was speed.

'e' wing
The 'e' wing was developed to carry either: -
i) Four 20mm Hispano Cannon, or ii) Two 20mm Hispano Cannon and two 0.50" Browning Machine Guns.
The Cannon situated outboard rather than inboard on previous wings to make room for the 0.5" ammunition

Airworthy Spitfires based in the UK
AR213 - Mk.Ia      Information.
Built By: Westland.
Delivered: 1940
Collection: Peter Livanos, Sheringham Aviation,
Based: Booker, High Wycombe, Bucks, UK.
P9374 - Mk.Ia      Information.
Built By: Vickers Armstrong.
Delivered: 1940
Collection: Tom Kaplan & Simon Marsh
Based: Duxford.
X4650 - Mk.Ia      Information.
Built By: Castle Bromwich
Delivered: 1940
Collection: Dan & Tom Friedkin
Based: Biggin Hill.
P7350 - Mk.IIa      Information.
Built By: Castle Bromwich.
Delivered: August 1940
Collection: Battle of Britain Memorial Flight,
Based: RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire, UK.
AB910 - Mk.Vb      Information.
Built By: Castle Bromwich.
Delivered: August 1941
Collection: Battle of Britain Memorial Flight,
Based: RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire, UK.
AR501 - Mk.Vc      Information.
Built By: Westland.
Delivered: June 1942
Collection: Shuttleworth Collection,
Based: Old Warden, Bedfordshire, UK.
BM597 - Mk.Vb      Information.
Built By: Castle Bromwich.
Delivered: May 1942
Collection: Guy Black, The Historic Aircraft Collection of Jersey,
Based: IWM, Duxford, Cambridgeshire, UK.
EP120 - Mk.Vb      Information.
Built By: Castle Bromwich.
Delivered: June 1942
Collection:Stephen Grey, The Fighter Collection,
Based: IWM, Duxford, Cambridgeshire, UK.
MH434 - Mk.IXc      Information.
Built By: Castle Bromwich.
Delivered: August 1943
Collection: Ray Hanna, Old Flying Machine Co,
Based: IWM, Duxford, Cambridgeshire, UK.
MK356 - Mk.IX      Information.
Built By: Castle Bromwich.
Delivered: February 1944
Collection: Battle of Britain Memorial Flight,
Based: RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire, UK.
TA805 - Mk.IX      Information.
Built By: Castle Bromwich.
Delivered: December 1944
Collection: Peter Monk and Mike Simpson
Based: Biggin Hill, Kent
NH238 - Mk.IXe      Information.
Built By: Castle Bromwich.
Delivered: May 1944
Collection: David Arnold, Flying A Services,
Based: North Weald, Essex, UK.
PL965 - PR,XI      Information.
Built By: Aldermaston.
Delivered: October 1944
Collection: Hangar 11 Collection,
Based: North Weald, Essex
MV293 - Mk.XIVe      Information.
Built By: Vickers-Armstrong.
Delivered: February 1945
Collection: Stephen Grey, The Fighter Collection,
Based: IWM, Duxford, Cambridgeshire, UK.
TE184 - Mk.XVIe      Information.
Built By: Castle Bromwich.
Delivered: May 1945
Collection: Paul Andrews,
Based: Wycombe Air Park (Booker), UK.
TD248 - Mk.XVIe      Information.
Built By: Castle Bromwich.
Delivered: May 1945
Collection: Tom Blair, Spitfire Ltd,
Based: IWM, Duxford, Cambridgeshire, UK.
PS853 - PR.XIX      Information.
Built By: Southampton.
Delivered: January 1945
Collection: Rolls Royce Ltd,
Based: Filton, Bristol, Avon, UK.
PM631 - PR.XIX      Information.
Built By: Vickers-Armstrong.
Delivered: Late 1945
Collection: Battle of Britain Memorial Flight,
Based: RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire, UK.
PS915 - PR.XIX      Information.
Built By: Southampton.
Delivered: April 1945
Collection: Battle of Britain Memorial Flight,
Based: RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire, UK.

Airworthy Seafires based in the UK
SX336 - Mk.XVII      Information.
Built By: Westland Aircraft
Delivered: April 1946
Collection: Tim Manna, Kennet Aviation,
Based: North Weald, UK.

Related Links: -

Supermarine Spitfire Photo Gallery (www.militaryplanes.co.uk)

Airworthy Spitfires (Military Airshows in the UK)

Crashed Spitfires (Military Airshows in the UK)

Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (Military Airshows in the UK)

RAF B.B.M.F. (Oficial Battle of Britain Memorial Site)

Airshow Calendar (Military Airshows in the UK)

UK Airshow Photographs (Military Airshows in the UK)


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