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Supermarine Seafang

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With the installation of a laminar flow wing it was intended for the Seafang to replace the Seafire. The performance of the aircraft wasn't as improved as hoped and the type was cancelled. In total eighteen Supermarine Seafang aircraft were built in two different variants.

Quick Facts
Supermarine Seafang side profile image
First flight
January 1946
Entered service
Non-operational
Total built
18

Front view
Sorry, no view photo available
Side view
Sorry, no view photo available
Rear view
Sorry, no view photo available

During development of their Spiteful aircraft it had been noted by Supermarine that the laminar flow wing that was intended for this aircraft could also be fitted to the Supermarine Seafire. The potential of the Spiteful for naval conversion had led to the design of the aircraft to have provision for folding wings.

So under Supermarine's own Specification 474 Joe Smith came up with a design known as the Type 382, which was to be a Griffon 61 powered Seafire Mk XV fitted with a laminar flow wing. By now the Fleet Air Arm was interested in the idea and Specification N.5/45 was issued requiring an aircraft featuring a laminar flow wing that could go further and faster than the Seafire F.47.

The decision was taken to produce an interim Seafang prototype, so with the addition of a 'sting-type' arrestor hook the sole Spiteful Mk F.15 built became the Seafang prototype. This made its maiden flight in January 1946, prior to this in March 1945 an order for one hundred and fifty Mk 31 Seafangs had been placed which were to be the same as the prototype. The idea was that these would be used whilst the Mk 32 was developed. The Seafang Mk F.31, meanwhile, had been sent to Farnborough on the 15th January 1946 where the Royal Aircraft Establishment was based.

June 1946 would see the first 'proper' Supermarine Seafang prototype fly when a Mk 32 powered by a 2,350-hp Griffon 89 engine and featuring folding wings and two three blade contra-rotating propellers, flew for the first time on the 18th with Mike Lithgow at the controls. Two months later the aircraft would be displayed to the Dutch Navy in the hope of securing an order, which it was unable to do. After undergoing trials during May 1947 on HMS Illustrious (87) it was clear the Seafang was an ideal aircraft to be used aboard a carrier.

The Admiralty however were still debating whether the Seafang was superior enough in performance over the Seafire F.47, the aircraft it was expected to supersede. In the end both aircraft were replaced by the Hawker Sea Fury and only eighteen Seafangs were built, with a number used at the range in Shoeburyness as targets.



Technical Details

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Top Speed Range Service Ceiling Armament
Seafang Mk F.31 Interim version used for testing.
Seafang Mk F.32 475 mph 593 miles 41,000 ft four 20mm cannons
and either two 1,000lb bombs or
four 300lb rocket projectiles
Seafang Mk 32 side profile image



Photos

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See This Aircraft

(C) = Cockpit only exhibit. (F) = Fuselage only exhibit. (R) = Remains of an aircraft.

Location
No known examples currently on public display in the UK.

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