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Supermarine Spiteful

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Intended to replace the Spitfire, the Spiteful never achieved operational status due to the development of the jet engine which was considered the way forward for aircraft. In total only nineteen examples of the Supermarine Spiteful were built.

Quick Facts
First flight
30th June 1944
Entered service
Total built

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

Although the Supermarine Spitfire was proving a major success in operational service, thanks to the type having great potential for development, the time had now arrived where the aircraft had been stretched to its limits design wise. As a result Supermarine produced a specially written Specification 470, which requested a Spitfire fitted with a laminar flow wing. It was hoped an increase in top speed by 55 mph could be achieved.

So on the 30th June 1944, with Jeffrey Quill at the controls, a Spitfire Mk XIV with a laminar flow wing flew for the first time. During testing it became clear that the new wing would not provide the increase in performance, which was both wanted and expected. Disaster then struck as the prototype crashed killing the pilot Frank Furlong on the 13th September 1944.

By now the Air Ministry had issued Specification F.1/43 to find the Spitfires successor, to which Supermarine submitted their Spiteful design. Featuring a brand new airframe, laminar flow wing, wide track-inward retracting landing gear, although the tail surfaces were almost identical to the Spitfire, and Rolls-Royce Griffon engines allowed the Spiteful to reach speeds of 475 mph. It would be on the 8th January 1945 when the first 'true' Supermarine Spiteful prototype would fly, and despite numerous modifications the trial flights confirmed two things. One, the laminar flow wing performed as expected and two, the performance of the Spiteful over the Spitfire was not as significant as hoped.

In total four different Spiteful Mks were expected to be produced. The Mk F.14 powered by a Griffon 65 engine with a five blade propeller, the Griffon 89 or 90 engined, with two three blade contra-rotating rotal propellers, Mk F.15. Although this Mk would be converted into a Supermarine Seafang prototype, which was the intended naval version of the Spiteful. And the Mk F.16, which was similar to the Mk F.14, but powered by a Griffon 101 engine, and thanks to its boost being 25lb it would, on one occasion, achieve a speed of 494 mph.

Despite an initial Spiteful production aircraft flying in June 1945 the days of the type were numbered as by this time the war in Europe was over and jet aircraft were starting to appear. In fact the Spitefuls wing and undercarriage would be used by Supermarine on their Attacker aircraft, which would go on to be the first front line jet aircraft used by the Fleet Air Arm. It did look like the type may enter service when sixty seven aircraft were ordered, but this was later cancelled with a Spiteful Mk F.21 ordered as part of a revised contract, although in the end only seventeen Mk F.14s would actually be built.

Production of the type began in March 1945 and ended twenty two months later on the 17th January 1947. Of the nineteen aircraft built one would provide the basis for the Seafang, three joined service test establishments, whilst another three were retained for development work by the manufacturer with the other twelve going into storage. If the type had gone into production as it was such a different aeroplane from its predecessor, the Spitfire, it would have been called the Supermarine Victor.

Also see Supermarine Seafang


Click on the aeroplane image to view a larger version.

Max Speed Range Service Ceiling Armament
Spiteful Mk F.14 475 mph 564 miles 42,000 ft four 20mm cannons
eight or twelve 60lb rocket projectiles or two 1,000lb bombs
Spiteful Mk F.15 One example built, which would become the Supermarine Seafang prototype.
Spiteful Mk F.16 Only one aircraft produced.
Spiteful Mk F.21 Cancelled order.


Sorry, we have no photos of this aircraft

On Display

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

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

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