Profile
Supermarine
Seafire
The Supermarine Seafire was the navalized adaptation of the legendary Spitfire fighter for use on Royal Navy carriers. Its combat debut came during the Torch landings in North Africa and after that it was present in every other major invasion in Europe and the Far East in which British and Commonwealth naval forces participated. Incredibly enough, the Seafire's success did not end here: post-war variants saw action against rebels in Malaya in 1949, and also served in the Korean War, flying from the carrier HMS Triumph in 1950 until being retired two years later. Late-version Seafires were the last of the Spitfire family to ever be built, a fitting final chaper in what is without a doubt one of the greatest aviation legacies of all time and hands down the finest British-designed carrier fighter of the war but which nevertheless failed to completely reduce the Fleet Air Arm's dependence on US fighters such as the Hellcat and Corsair.

The first Seafire, actually a converted Spitfire Mk. V, flew for the first time on 7 January 1942 though the idea of a navalized Spitfire had been on the drawing board since 1940. Mk. IBs were Spitfire Mk. VB conversions, these were followed by the first new-build variant, the Mk. II just a few months later. The most important wartime variant was the Mk. III which was also developed in other roles like the clipped-wing LF.III and the camera-equipped FR.III. The first Griffon-engined version was the F.XV which did not see combat. Post-war versions were based on a Spitfire equivalent, these were the Mk.45 and 46 (based on the F.21 and F.22 respectively) and the last Seafire version (and the last in the entire Spitfire family), the fearsome Mk. 47 with two contra-rotating propellers. Based on the F.24, it saw action in Korea.

Seafire
Datafile
DesignSeafire Mk. IIISeafire Mk. 47
TypeFighterFighter
Year19431949
Crew11
Dimensions
Length9.21 m10.46 m
Height3.49 m3.89 m
Wing Span11.23 m11.23 m
Wing Area22.5 m²22.7 m²
Weight
Empty2,815 kg3,459 kg
Maximum3,465 kg5,783 kg
Wing Loading154.1 kg/m²255.1 kg/m²
Performance
Speed560 km/h726 km/h
Ceiling9,754 m13,137 m
Range1,167 km652 km
Powerplant
Engine1 x Merlin 32
Rolls-Royce
1,227 kW
1 x Griffon 87
Rolls-Royce
1,600 kW
Thrust/Weight0.530.56
Armament
Guns2 x 20-mm
Hispano Mk. II
4 x .303-in
Browning Mk. II
4 x 20-mm
Hispano Mk. V
Payload227 kg227 kg
Production
Built1,22090
Total2,408
Gallery