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  • Supermarine Seafang Naval Fighter Prototype Aircraft

    The Supermarine Seafang was intended as a future Royal Navy carrier-based fighter in the mold of the classic Spitfire series.

     Updated: 5/17/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    In the course of the storied career of the fabulous Supermarine Spitfire of the British Royal Air Force (RAF), there came about an appropriate number of developments related to the classic fighter first seen during the "Battle of Britain" in the summer of 1940. Beyond the late-war speedy variants and steady gun platforms arose a branch of related fighters intended to ultimately succeed the war workhorse. This was first seen with the Supermarine "Spiteful", which failed as a potential successor with just nineteen examples completed, and the later Supermarine "Seafang", a navalized version of the Spiteful to follow in the steps of the wartime Supermarine Seafire, itself a navalized version of the land-based Spitfire.

    The original Spiteful was born from a 1942 initiative to bring about increased performance from the Spitfire airframe which peaked in diving tests in the 600 mile-per-hour range. It was decided to design an all-new wing to replace the original's iconic elliptical set and a straight, tapered laminar-flow approach was approved. The new wings were attached to existing Spitfire bodies for testing and this combination ultimately produced the altogether different "Spiteful".

    It was a Spiteful F.Mk 15 model, pulled from the F.Mk 14 stock, that was to serve as the basis for the Seafang carrier-based fighter. This aircraft was fitted with a Rolls-Royce Griffon 89 engine of 2,350 horsepower and given power-assisted folding wings to better serve in storage aboard the space-strapped British carriers of the day. An arrestor hook was added under the tail to snag deck wires upon landing. A pair of three-bladed contra-rotating propeller units were driven by the Rolls-Royce powerplant to provide the necessary speeds.

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    Supermarine Seafang F.Mk 32 Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1946
    Type: Naval Fighter Prototype Aircraft
    National Origin: United Kingdom
    Manufacturer(s): Supermarine (Vickers) - UK
    Production Total: 11

    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

    Operating Crew: 1
    Length: 34.12 feet (10.4 meters)
    Width: 34.94 feet (10.65 meters)
    Height: 12.53 feet (3.82 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 8,014 lb (3,635 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 10,472 lb (4,750 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

    Engine(s): 1 x Rolls Royce Griffon 89 V-12 liquid-cooled inline piston engine developing 2,350 horsepower.

    Maximum Speed: 475 mph (765 kph; 413 knots)
    Maximum Range: 395 miles (635 km)
    Service Ceiling: 41,010 feet (12,500 meters; 7.77 miles)
    Rate-of-Climb: 4,630 feet-per-minute (1,411 m/min)

    Armament / Mission Payload

    4 x 20mm Hispano Mk V cannons in wings

    4 x 3" (60lb) High Velocity Aerial Rockets
    2 x 1,000lb conventional drop bombs

    Global Operators / Customers

    United Kingdom

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

    Seafang F.Mk 31 - Prototype with RR Griffon 61 engine of 2,375 horsepower driving five-blade propeller; eight examples completed.

    Seafang F.Mk 32 - Prototype with RR Griffon 89 engine driving dual contra-rotating three-bladed propellers; folding wings for carrier storage; ten examples completed.