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Supermarine Spiteful

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Considered as a replacement for the Spitfire, the Spiteful would never enter operational service with the Royal Air Force as with the advent of the jet engine this would be the way forward. In the end only nineteen examples of the Supermarine Spiteful were produced, although the wing and undercarriage would be used on the Attacker jet aircraft produced by Supermarine.

Quick Facts
Supermarine Spiteful side profile image
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, thanks to its potential for development, the time had now arrived where thoughts turned to a successor. So in November 1942 Supermarine produced a specially written Specification known as 470. This requested a Spitfire fitted with a laminar flow wing. It was hoped an increase in top speed by 55mph could be achieved as well as a faster rate of role compared to other operational fighters.

This new wing was designed and developed by Supermarine and the National Physical Laboratory. With the Air Ministry showing an interest during February 1943 Specification F.1/43 was issued for the aircraft. So Supermarine submitted their Spiteful design which featured contra-rotating propellers, a brand new airframe, laminar flow wing, wide track-inward facing landing gear and was powered by the Rolls-Royce Griffin engine which allowed the aircraft to reach speeds of 475 mph. Three prototypes would be ordered by the Air Ministry on the 6th February 1943.

The first prototype flew on the 30th June 1944, with Jeffrey Quill at the controls, this was a Spitfire Mk XIV with a laminar flow wing. Disaster then struck as the prototype crashed killing the pilot Frank Furlong on the 13th September 1944. The second prototype would fly on the 8th January 1945 and was the first 'true' Supermarine Spiteful. It became clear during testing that the laminar flow wing preformed as expected but despite numerous modifications and trial flights the performance 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 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. However, as the Second World War (1939 - 1945) drew to a close jet aircraft had started to appear over the battlefield and were considered the way forward and only one hundred and fifty were ordered.

Production of the type began in March 1945, with the first Spiteful production aircraft flying on the 2nd April 1945, and ended twenty two months later on the 17th January 1947 with only nineteen built. One was a F.Mk.15 with a Griffon 85 engine, which would provide the basis for the naval variant known as the Seafang, whilst the rest were F Mk.14s with a Griffon 65 engine with three joining service test establishments, whilst another three were retained for development work by the manufacturer with the other twelve going into storage.

Although it never entered service the Spitefuls wing and undercarriage would be used on the Supermarine Attacker which would go on to be the first frontline jet used by the Fleet Air Arm.

Technical Details

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Top Speed Range Service Ceiling Armament
Spiteful Mk F.14 475 mph 564 miles 42,000 ft four 20mm cannons
and either eight 60lb rocket projectiles or
twelve 60lb rocket projectiles or
two 1,000lb bombs
Spiteful Mk F.14 side profile image
Spiteful Mk F.15 One example built, which would become the Supermarine Seafang prototype.
Spiteful Mk F.16 One converted Mk F.14 powered by the Rolls-Royce Griffon 101 and then 121 engine.
Spiteful Mk F.21 Cancelled order.


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See This Aircraft

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

No known examples currently on public display in the UK.

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