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Supermarine Type 508 (RAF)

Jet-Powered Day Fighter / Interceptor Proposal [ 1951 ]

The Supermarine Type 508 was revised from its navalized form to become a Day Fighter proposal for the British Royal Air Force.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 10/26/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

Supermarine was the third aero-concern to offer its proposal - the Type 508 - to the British Air Ministry's F.43/46 (Operational Requirement 228) seeking to satisfy a Day Fighter requirement for the Royal Air Force (RAF). The Type 508 followed the Gloster P.234 and the Hawker P.1054 / P.1061 proposals (both detailed elsewhere on the Military Factory) of which none were formally selected outright. The Hawker designs, however, went down an evolutionary road to begat the "P.1067" which, in turn, became the classic swept-wing, jet-powered Hawker Hunter jet-powered fighter of the early Cold War period for Britain and led a healthy and long operational service life from there.

For Supermarine's part in the project, the company simply worked off of its naval-minded Type 508 which flew for the first time, in prototype form, on August 8th, 1951. The original, relatively oversized fighter aircraft had side-mounted intakes, straight mainplanes, and "V-type" tail unit with outward-canted planes. Planned armament was 4 x 30mm Aden automatic cannons and power would come from a pair of Rolls-Royce Avon RA.3 turbojet engines of 6,500lb thrust each.

At any rate, the Type 508 in its navalized form never materialized beyond prototypes but was resurrected for the RAF requirement. One of the primary requirements of the new fighter would be carrying a massive, still in-development, 4.5" automatic cannon in the fuselage with seven proximity-based rounds afforded to it. The Rolls-Royce AJ.65 or the competing Metrovick F.9 turbojets were the preliminary powerplant and this would appear in paired form for maximum power and performance at the expense of fuel burn. Maximum speed of the resulting aircraft would be in the 580 miles-per-hour range with an operating ceiling of around 45,000 feet.

Unlike the original straight-wing-only Type 508 aircraft, the revised version being offered was displayed in both a straight-wing and swept-wing forms to satisfy the Air Ministry on both fronts. The straight-winged model would be a fail-safe design against the more advanced, though still untested, swept-wing model. As such, the straight-wing design could, at some future time, be converted to swept-wing form as technology and research allowed. Similarly, the intended 4.5" autocannon could someday be revised to a 4 x 30mm cannon battery as needed by the service.

Like its navalized Type 508, the revised Type 508 was not furthered.©MilitaryFactory.com
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Service Year

United Kingdom national flag graphic
United Kingdom

Development Ended.


National flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom (cancelled)
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Air-to-Air Combat, Fighter
General ability to actively engage other aircraft of similar form and function, typically through guns, missiles, and/or aerial rockets.
Ability to intercept inbound aerial threats by way of high-performance, typically speed and rate-of-climb.
X-Plane (Developmental, Prototype, Technology Demonstrator)
Aircraft developed for the role of prototyping, technology demonstration, or research / data collection.

Incorporates two or more engines, enhancing survivability and / or performance.
Mainplanes, or leading edges, features swept-back lines for enhanced high-speed performance and handling.
Can accelerate to higher speeds than average aircraft of its time.
Can reach and operate at higher altitudes than average aircraft of its time.
Assisted process of allowing its pilot and / or crew to eject in the event of an airborne emergency.
Supports pressurization required at higher operating altitudes for crew survival.
Features partially- or wholly-enclosed crew workspaces.
Features retracting / retractable undercarriage to preserve aerodynamic efficiency.

46.4 ft
(14.15 m)
40.0 ft
(12.20 m)
17,251 lb
(7,825 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Supermarine Type 508 (Revised) production variant)
monoplane / mid-mounted / straight
Design utilizes a single primary wing mainplane; this represent the most popular mainplane arrangement.
Mainplanes are mounted along the midway point of the sides of the fuselage.
The planform involves use of basic, straight mainplane members.
(Structural descriptors pertain to the Supermarine Type 508 (Revised) production variant)
Installed: 2 x Rolls-Royce AJ.65 OR Metrovick F.9 turbojet engine developing 6,500lb of thrust each unit.
Max Speed
662 mph
(1,065 kph | 575 kts)
Cruise Speed
429 mph
(690 kph | 373 kts)
Max. Speed Diff
+233 mph
(+375 kph | 202 kts)
44,997 ft
(13,715 m | 9 mi)

♦ MACH Regime (Sonic)
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030

(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the Supermarine Type 508 (Revised) production variant. Performance specifications showcased above are subject to environmental factors as well as aircraft configuration. Estimates are made when Real Data not available. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database or View aircraft by powerplant type)
1 x 4.5" internal automatic cannon (initial) OR 4 x 30mm Aden automatic cannons (perhaps to come later).

Supported Types

Graphical image of an aircraft automatic cannon

(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
Hardpoint Mountings: 0

Type 508 (RAF) - Revised air force form drawn up in straight-wing and swept-wing proposals (neither selected).

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