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Supermarine Seafang


Naval Fighter Prototype Aircraft


United Kingdom | 1946



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



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 05/06/2021 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
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.

A pair of Seafang prototypes were ordered in March of 1945. A simplified version of the Seafang was born as the Seafang F.Mk XXXI (Type 382) in which the Spiteful aircraft was given arrestor gear and power was from a Rolls-Royce Griffon 61 engine of 2,375 horsepower driving a five-bladed propeller - the goal to provide an immediate solution as World War 2 still raged on. As this fighter came online, engineers would focus their efforts on a more polished version - the Seafang F.Mk XXXII (Type 396). This aircraft would showcase a Rolls-Royce Griffon 89 engine of 2,350 horsepower driving contra-rotating propellers.

A production order for some 150 of the interim Mk XXXI fighters was given in May - though the war in Europe had wound down to a close and just nine of this mark were completed before the order cancelled. Development on the Mk XXXII continued for a short time longer, however, and a first flight of a prototype was recorded during June of 1946. A deck landing was accomplished in May of 1947 aboard HMS Illustrious.

Two prototypes were all that would realized of the Seafang project for its wartime need was no longer there. Military aviation had also embraced the concept of jet-powered fighters as well which essentially marked the last days of prop-driven fighter types in frontline service. The Royal Navy eventually settled on such jets as the de Havilland "Vampire" and adopted the powerful Hawker "Sea Fury" as its last prop-driven carrier-based mount - leaving little in the way of a promising future for the Seafang and its related Spiteful development.

The Seafang F.Mk XXXII, with its Griffon 89 engine, managed a maximum speed of 475 miles per hour, a range out to 395 miles, a service ceiling up to 41,000 feet, and a rate-of-climb reaching 4,630 feet-per-minute. Proposed armament was 4 x 20mm Hispano Mk V cannons, two per wing element, and there would have been provisions for carrying 2 x 1,000lb bombs or 4 x 60lb rockets for ground-attack work.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Supermarine Seafang F.Mk 32 Naval Fighter Prototype Aircraft.
1 x Rolls Royce Griffon 89 V-12 liquid-cooled inline piston engine developing 2,350 horsepower driving 2 x Three-bladed propeller units at the nose in contra-rotating arrangement.
Propulsion
475 mph
765 kph | 413 kts
Max Speed
41,010 ft
12,500 m | 8 miles
Service Ceiling
395 miles
635 km | 343 nm
Operational Range
4,630 ft/min
1,411 m/min
Rate-of-Climb
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Structure
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Supermarine Seafang F.Mk 32 Naval Fighter Prototype Aircraft.
1
(MANNED)
Crew
34.1 ft
10.40 m
O/A Length
34.9 ft
(10.65 m)
O/A Width
12.5 ft
(3.82 m)
O/A Height
8,014 lb
(3,635 kg)
Empty Weight
10,472 lb
(4,750 kg)
MTOW
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
RANGE
ALT
SPEED
Armament
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Supermarine Seafang Naval Fighter Prototype Aircraft provided across 2 hardpoints.
STANDARD:
4 x 20mm Hispano Mk V cannons in wings (two guns to a wing member).

OPTIONAL:
4 x 3" (60lb) High Velocity Aerial Rockets.
2 x 1,000lb conventional drop bombs held under the wings.


X
X
Hardpoints Key:


Centerline
Wingroot(L)
Wingroot(R)
Wing
Wingtip
Internal
Not Used
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the Supermarine Seafang family line.
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.
Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Supermarine Seafang. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 11 Units

Contractor(s): Supermarine (Vickers) - UK
National flag of the United Kingdom

[ United Kingdom ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 500mph
Lo: 250mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (475mph).

Graph Average of 375 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
11
36183
44000
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
MACH Regime (Sonic)
Sub
Trans
Super
Hyper
HiHyper
ReEntry
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
Aviation Timeline
EarlyYrs
WWI
Interwar
WWII
ColdWar
Postwar
Modern
Future
1 / 1
Image of the Supermarine Seafang
Image from the Public Domain.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
AIR-TO-AIR COMBAT
MARITIME / NAVY
X-PLANE
Recognition
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Supermarine Seafang Naval Fighter Prototype Aircraft appears in the following collections:
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