Supermarine Spitfire

SpitfireSpitfiresSupermarine SpitfiresSpitfire VbSupermarine Spitfire ISpitfire Mk.IXSpitfire VSpitfire Mark VSpitfire Mk VSupermarine Spitfire V
The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft used by the Royal Air Force and other Allied countries before, during, and after World War II. Many variants of the Spitfire were built, using several wing configurations, and it was produced in greater numbers than any other British aircraft.wikipedia
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List of surviving Supermarine Spitfires

60 remain airworthyburiedCBAF 711
The Spitfire continues to be popular among enthusiasts; nearly 60 remain airworthy, and many more are static exhibits in aviation museums throughout the world.
The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft used by the Royal Air Force along with many other Allied countries throughout the Second World War and afterwards into the 1950s as both a front line fighter and also in secondary roles.

Fighter aircraft

fighterfightersjet fighter
The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft used by the Royal Air Force and other Allied countries before, during, and after World War II.
The letters used to designate a fighter differ in various countries – in the English-speaking world, "F" is now used to indicate a fighter (e.g. Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II or Supermarine Spitfire F.22), though when the pursuit designation was used in the US, they were "P" types (e.g. Curtiss P-40 Warhawk).

Supermarine

Supermarine Aviation WorksPemberton-Billing LimitedPemberton-Billing Ltd
The Spitfire was designed as a short-range, high-performance interceptor aircraft by R. J. Mitchell, chief designer at Supermarine Aviation Works, which operated as a subsidiary of Vickers-Armstrong from 1928.
Supermarine was a British aircraft manufacturer that produced the Spitfire fighter plane, and a range of seaplanes and flying boats.

Hawker Hurricane

HurricaneHurricanesHawker Hurricanes
Mitchell pushed the Spitfire's distinctive elliptical wing with cutting-edge sunken rivets (designed by Beverley Shenstone) to have the thinnest possible cross-section, helping give the aircraft a higher top speed than several contemporary fighters, including the Hawker Hurricane.
It was overshadowed in the public consciousness by the Supermarine Spitfire's role during Battle of Britain in 1940, but the Hurricane inflicted 60 percent of the losses sustained by the Luftwaffe in the engagement, and fought in all the major theatres of the Second World War.

Supermarine Spitfire variants: specifications, performance and armament

F Mk IIcits multitude of variantsSpitfire VIIIs
Mitchell continued to refine the design until his death in 1937, whereupon his colleague Joseph Smith took over as chief designer, overseeing the Spitfire's development through its multitude of variants.
The British Supermarine Spitfire was one of the most popular fighter aircraft of the Second World War.

Interceptor aircraft

interceptorinterceptorsfighter-interceptor
The Spitfire was designed as a short-range, high-performance interceptor aircraft by R. J. Mitchell, chief designer at Supermarine Aviation Works, which operated as a subsidiary of Vickers-Armstrong from 1928.
Daytime interceptors have been used in a defensive role since the World War I era, but are perhaps best known from several major actions during World War II, notably the Battle of Britain where the Supermarine Spitfire and Hawker Hurricane developed a good reputation.

Supermarine Seafire

SeafireSeafiresSeafire IIIs
The Seafire was a carrier-based adaptation of the Spitfire that served in the Fleet Air Arm from 1942 through to the mid-1950s.
The Supermarine Seafire was a naval version of the Supermarine Spitfire adapted for operation from aircraft carriers.

Messerschmitt Bf 109 variants

Bf 109EMesserschmitt Bf 109EMesserschmitt Bf 109
During the battle, Spitfires were generally tasked with engaging Luftwaffe fighters—mainly Messerschmitt Bf 109E-series aircraft, which were a close match for them.
However, possibly due to the introduction of the Hurricane and Spitfire, each with eight 7.7 mm (.303 in) machine guns, experiments were carried out with a third machine gun firing through the propeller shaft.

R. J. Mitchell

Reginald MitchellReginald J. MitchellReginald Joseph Mitchell
The Spitfire was designed as a short-range, high-performance interceptor aircraft by R. J. Mitchell, chief designer at Supermarine Aviation Works, which operated as a subsidiary of Vickers-Armstrong from 1928.
He is best remembered for his racing seaplanes, which culminated in the Supermarine S.6B, and the iconic Second World War fighter, the Supermarine Spitfire.

Beverley Shenstone

B. S. ShenstoneBeverley S. ShenstoneBeverley Strahan Shenstone
Mitchell pushed the Spitfire's distinctive elliptical wing with cutting-edge sunken rivets (designed by Beverley Shenstone) to have the thinnest possible cross-section, helping give the aircraft a higher top speed than several contemporary fighters, including the Hawker Hurricane.
Beverley Strahan Shenstone MASc, HonFRAes, FAIAA, AFIAS, FCAISI, HonOSTIV (10 June 1906 to 9 November 1979) was a Canadian aerodynamicist often credited with developing the aerodynamics of the Supermarine Spitfire elliptical wing.

Rolls-Royce Merlin

MerlinRolls Royce MerlinMerlin engine
Although the original airframe was designed to be powered by a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine producing 1,030 hp (768 kW), it was strong enough and adaptable enough to use increasingly powerful Merlins and, in later marks, Rolls-Royce Griffon engines producing up to 2,340 hp (1,745 kW).
The first operational aircraft to enter service using the Merlin were the Fairey Battle, Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire.

Supermarine Spitfire prototype K5054

K5054Supermarine Spitfire prototypethe prototype (''K5054'')
On 5 March 1936, the prototype (K5054) took off on its first flight from Eastleigh Aerodrome (later Southampton Airport).
The Supermarine Spitfire was developed in the mid-1930s as a short-range, high-performance interceptor aircraft by chief designer R. J. Mitchell.

Southampton

Southampton, EnglandSouthampton, HampshireCity of Southampton
On 5 March 1936, the prototype (K5054) took off on its first flight from Eastleigh Aerodrome (later Southampton Airport).
Southampton is noted for its association with the, the Spitfire, as one of the departure points for D-Day, and more recently as the home port of some of the largest cruise ships in the world.

Schneider Trophy

Schneider Cup1925 Schneider Trophy1929 Schneider Trophy
The Type 224 was a big disappointment to Mitchell and his design team, who immediately embarked on a series of "cleaned-up" designs, using their experience with the Schneider Trophy seaplanes as a starting point.
The streamlined shape and the low drag, liquid-cooled engine pioneered by Schneider Trophy designs are obvious in the British Supermarine Spitfire, the American North American P-51 Mustang, and the Italian Macchi C.202 Folgore.

Gloster Gladiator

Gloster Sea GladiatorGladiatorGloster Gladiators
Of the seven designs tendered to F7/30, the Gloster Gladiator biplane was accepted for service.
At the same time, the development of monoplane fighters such as the Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire cast doubt over the future viability of the requirement altogether.

Elliptical wing

ellipticalelliptical lift distributionelliptical plan
Mitchell pushed the Spitfire's distinctive elliptical wing with cutting-edge sunken rivets (designed by Beverley Shenstone) to have the thinnest possible cross-section, helping give the aircraft a higher top speed than several contemporary fighters, including the Hawker Hurricane.
It failed to win its race but its designer, Reginald Mitchell, would later return to a near-elliptical planform for the Supermarine Spitfire, which first flew in 1936.

Joseph Summers

Mutt SummersJoseph "Mutt" SummersCaptain Joseph "Mutt" Summers
At the controls was Captain Joseph "Mutt" Summers, chief test pilot for Vickers, who is quoted as saying "Don't touch anything" on landing.
During his career, Summers flew many first flights on prototype aircraft, (a record of 54 by a test pilot), from the Supermarine Spitfire, to the Vickers Valiant.

Jeffrey Quill

commando raidQuill, J.Quill, Jeffrey
After the fourth flight, a new engine was fitted, and Summers left the test flying to his assistants, Jeffrey Quill and George Pickering.
He was also the second man to fly the Supermarine Spitfire after Vickers Aviation's chief test pilot, Joseph "Mutt" Summers.

RAF Fighter Command

Fighter CommandFighterFighter squadron
After the Battle of Britain, the Spitfire superseded the Hurricane to become the backbone of RAF Fighter Command, and saw action in the European, Mediterranean, Pacific, and South-East Asian theatres.
Over the next few years, the Command expanded greatly and replaced its obsolete biplane squadrons — generally outfitted with Bristol Bulldog, Gloster Gauntlet and Hawker Fury biplane fighters leading up to, and through the period of its founding — with two of the most famous aircraft ever to fly with the RAF, the Hawker Hurricane and the Supermarine Spitfire.

Rolls-Royce Griffon

GriffonGriffon 61Griffon engine
Although the original airframe was designed to be powered by a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine producing 1,030 hp (768 kW), it was strong enough and adaptable enough to use increasingly powerful Merlins and, in later marks, Rolls-Royce Griffon engines producing up to 2,340 hp (1,745 kW).
Although the Griffon was designed for naval aircraft, on 8 November 1939 N E Rowe of the Air Ministry suggested fitting the Griffon in a Spitfire.

Joseph Smith (aircraft designer)

Joseph SmithJoe Smith
Mitchell continued to refine the design until his death in 1937, whereupon his colleague Joseph Smith took over as chief designer, overseeing the Spitfire's development through its multitude of variants.
Joseph ("Joe") Smith CBE (25 May 1897 – 20 February 1956) was an English aircraft designer who took over as Chief Designer for Supermarine upon the death of R. J. Mitchell and led the team responsible for the subsequent development of the Supermarine Spitfire.

Ralph Sorley

Ralph Squire SorleyR S Sorley
In April 1935, the armament was changed from two .303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers machine guns in each wing to four .303 in (7.7 mm) Brownings, following a recommendation by Squadron Leader Ralph Sorley of the Operational Requirements section at the Air Ministry.
Sorley was instrumental in the specification of the armament of both the Supermarine Spitfire and the Hawker Hurricane, he founded the Empire Test Pilots' School, foresaw the need for air-to-air missiles in the post-Second World War world and, having left the RAF to join De Havilland, provided the RAF with such a weapon system.

M1919 Browning machine gun

.30 cal (7.62 mm)Browning M1919Browning machine guns
In April 1935, the armament was changed from two .303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers machine guns in each wing to four .303 in (7.7 mm) Brownings, following a recommendation by Squadron Leader Ralph Sorley of the Operational Requirements section at the Air Ministry.
The same basic weapon was also chambered for the British .303 round, and was used as a basic fighter aircraft gun in fighters such as the Supermarine Spitfire until the widespread introduction of the larger caliber Hispano-Suiza HS.404 cannon, and throughout the war in bombers.

British shadow factories

shadow factoryshadow factoriesShadow factory plan
In 1936, this informal request for major manufacturing facilities was replaced by a formal scheme, known as the shadow factory plan, to boost British aircraft production capacity under the leadership of Herbert Austin.
He also handed the delivery of the key new factory in Castle Bromwich, that was contracted to deliver 1,000 new Supermarine Spitfires to the RAF by the end of 1940, to Lord Nuffield, though in May 1940 the responsibility had to be taken from Nuffield and given to Vickers.

Castle Bromwich Assembly

Castle Bromwich Aircraft FactoryCastle Bromwichaircraft factory
In 1938, construction began on the Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory (CBAF), next to the aerodrome, and the installation of the most modern machine tools then available began two months after work started on the site.
Developed and managed by the Nuffield Organisation, owners of Morris Motors, they were briefed to manufacture Supermarine Spitfire fighters and later Avro Lancaster bombers.