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Supermarine Spiteful

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The Spiteful was considered as a replacement for the Spitfire, but never entered operational service with the Royal Air Force due to the development of the jet engine. 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 a major success, the time had 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 1943 Specification F.1/43 was issued for the aircraft. Supermarine submitted their Spiteful design which featured 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, and this arrived at the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment in June 1945. The third prototype featured a revised air intake and this was sent to the A&AEE on the 1st February 1946.

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 and in the end only seventeen Spiteful F.14s were built. Powered by the 2,375-hp Rolls-Royce Griffon 69 engine the aircraft had a top speed of 483 mph, range of 564 miles and a service ceiling of 42,000 ft. Armament was four 20mm cannons and either 2,000lb bombs or rocket projectiles, with the first Spiteful F.14 production aircraft flying on the 2nd April 1945. No. 6 Maintenance Unit based at RAF Brize Norton received the majority of Spitefuls, with the 11th November 1946 seeing them take delivery of their first example and the last one arriving on the 13th March 1947.

Of the seventeen production aircraft built, one would be converted to the Spiteful F.15, featuring contra-rotating propellers, which would provide the basis for the naval variant known as the Seafang. Another Spiteful would be fitted with the 2,420-hp Rolls-Royce Griffon 101 engine and was known as the Spiteful F.16. During 1947 this would achieve a speed of 494 mph in level flight, thanks to its boost being 25lb.

Although it never entered service, the Spiteful would make a few public appearances including at the 1945 RAE Farnborough 'At Home' event and the aircraft's 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.

Production of the type began in March 1945 and ended twenty two months later on the 17th January 1947 with only nineteen built.

Technical Details

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Top Speed Range Service Ceiling Armament
Spiteful F.14 483 mph 564 miles 42,000 ft four 20mm cannons
and either 2,000lb bombs or
rocket projectiles
Spiteful Mk F.14 side profile image
Spiteful F.15 One example built, which would become the Supermarine Seafang prototype.
Spiteful F.16 One converted Spiteful F.14 powered by the 2,420-hp Rolls-Royce Griffon 101 engine.


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See This Aircraft

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No known examples currently on public display in the UK.

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