- Supermarine Spiteful
name = Spiteful
caption = The 494 mph Spiteful XVI, "RB518"
designer = Joe Smith
first flight =
status = Out of service
primary user =
Royal Air Force
more users =
number built =22
unit cost =
developed from =
variants with their own articles =
Supermarine Seafang Supermarine AttackerThe Supermarine Spiteful was a British Rolls-Royce Griffon-engined fighter aircraftdesigned by Supermarineto Air Ministryspecification F.1/43 during the Second World War as a successor to the Spitfire.
Design and development
In late 1942, Supermarine designers feared the drag characteristics of the Spitfire's wing at high Mach numbers (nearing the speed of sound) might become a limiting factor in increasing the aircraft's high-speed performance. To overcome this, it was decided to produce a new laminar-flow wing, much like that already used on the North American P-51 Mustang, for the Spitfire, mirroring the latest thought on high-speed
aerodynamics. At the same time, to make production easier, it was decided to design the wing with a simple straight-tapered planform, as opposed to the Spitfire's elliptical one. Another change, to improve the ground-handling, was replacing the Spitfire's narrow-track, outward-retracting undercarriagewith a wider-track, inward-retracting system.
The new wing was fitted to a modified Spitfire XIV "NN660", in order to make a direct comparison with the earlier elliptical wing, and was first flown on
30 June 1944by Jeffrey Quill. Although the new Spitfire's speed performance was comfortably in excess of an unmodified Spitfire XIV, the new wing displayed some undesirable behaviour at the stall which, although not unacceptable, did not come up to the high standards of Mitchell's earlier elliptical wing.
In the meantime, the opportunity had been taken to redesign the Spitfire's fuselage, to improve the pilot's view over the nose and to eliminate a slight directional instability by using a larger fin and rudder. This instability had been apparent since the introduction of the more powerful Griffon engine. The instability was exacerbated by the increase in propeller blade area due to the introduction of the four-bladed and subsequent five-bladed
Rotolairscrews for the next aircraft, "NN664" (for which Specification F.1/43 had been issued). The updated design incorporated the new fuselage (although lacking the enlarged fin/rudder) and, as it was now substantially different from a Spitfire, the aircraft was named Spiteful (although "Victor" had been originally proposed). [ [http://www.supermarine-spitfire.co.uk/the_spiteful.htm Spiteful] ]
Production and service use
The Spiteful was ordered into production as the Spiteful XIV (having no preceding Mark Nos of its own, the above stated numerals were carried over from the original Spitfire XIV conversion), and 150 of the aircraft were ordered. With the advent of jet propulsion, however, the future of high-performance fighters was clearly with the jet fighter, and so the order was later cancelled with only a handful of Spitefuls built. At the time however, there was some uncertainty over whether jet aircraft would be able to be operated from the
Royal Navy's aircraft carriersso it was decided to develop a naval version of the Spiteful, to specification N.5/45, Andrews and Morgan 1987, p. 266.] subsequently named Seafang.
The Seafang featured folding wingtips, a "sting"-type arrester hook and a Griffon 89 or 90 engine, fed from an extended
carburetorair intake driving a new Rotol six-bladed contra-rotatingpropeller. The first one produced was a converted Spiteful XV ("RB520") but with the successful operation of the de Havilland Sea Vampire from the carrier HMS "Ocean" in 1945, the need for the Seafang disappeared.
With the end of the Second World War, Supermarine entered into discussions with Société Nationale de Constructions Aéronautiques du Nord (SNCAN) about licence production of the Spiteful in
Francehowever, again the introduction of jet fighters overshadowed the piston-engined fighter and the talks came to nothing.
*Spiteful F Mk 14 - 19 built:Engine: Griffon 85 - 2,375 HP:Weight: 9,950 lb:Max Speed: 476 mph
*Spiteful F Mk 15 - 1 built - converted to Seafang prototype:Engine: Griffon 89 - 2,350 HP:Weight: 10,200 lb:Max Speed: 483 mph
*Spiteful F Mk 16 - 2 built - simple, three-speed Griffon conversions from Mark XIV's:Engine: Griffon 101 - 2,420 HP:Weight: 9,950 lb:Max Speed: 494 mph
*Seafang F.Mk 31 - 8 built:Engine: Griffon 61
*Seafang F.Mk 32 - 10 built:Engine: Giffon 89 - 2,350 HP
In late 1943 or early 1944, Joe Smith suggested Supermarine develop a simple jet fighter based around the Spiteful's wing, and use a new jet engine being proposed by Rolls-Royce (later the Nene). This proposal was accepted and a new specification, E.10/44, was issued by the Air Ministry for an experimental aircraft which was initially referred to as the "Jet Spiteful"; the prototype "TS409" first flew on
27 July 1946. The E.10/44 was not ordered by the RAF, as its performance was not substantially better than the Meteor and Vampire, but the Admiraltyexpressed an interest in the aircraft for use as a naval fighter and issued specification E.1/45 around it. The aircraft was subsequently named "Attacker" and had a successful (if short) career with the FAA and the PAF.
The enlarged fin/rudder of the Spiteful was also used on the Spitfire Mark 22 and 24s and Seafire Mark 46 and 47s and was usually referred to as the "Spiteful type" tail.
Royal Air Force
pecifications (Spiteful XIV)
plane or copter?=plane
jet or prop?=prop
length main=32 ft 11 in
length alt=10.03 m
span main=35 ft 0 in
span alt=10.67 m
height main=13 ft 5 in
height alt=4.08 m
area main=210 ft²
area alt=19.5 m²
empty weight main=7,350 lb
empty weight alt=3,334 kg
loaded weight main=
loaded weight alt=
max takeoff weight main=9,949 lb
max takeoff weight alt=4,513 kg
type of prop=V-12 engine
number of props=1
power main=2,375 hp
power alt=1,772 kW
max speed main=475 mph
max speed alt=760 km/h
range main=566 miles
range alt=908 km
ceiling main=42,000 ft
ceiling alt=12,800 m
climb rate main=3,880 ft/min
climb rate alt=14.7 m/s
* 4× 20 mm Hispano Mk V cannons
similar aircraft =
Hawker Sea Fury
Martin-Baker MB 5
Messerschmitt Me 309
see also =
* Andrews, C.F. and E.B. Morgan. "Supermarine Aircraft since 1914". London: Putnam, Second edition, 1987. ISBN 0-85177-800-3.
* Humphreys, Robert. "The Supermarine Spitfire, Part 2: Griffon-Powered (Modellers Datafile 5)". Bedford, UK: SAM Publications, 2001. ISBN 0-9533465-4-4.
* Morgan, Eric B. and Edward Shacklady. "Spitfire: The History". London: Key Publishing, 1992. ISBN 0-946219-10-9.
* Price, Alfred." The Spitfire Story". London: Silverdale Books, 1995. ISBN 1-85605-702-X.
* Quill, Jeffrey. "Spitfire: A Test Pilot's Story". London: Arrow Books, 1985. ISBN 0-09-937020-4.
* Robertson, Bruce. "Spitfire: The Story of a Famous Fighter". Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, UK: Model & Allied Publications Ltd., 1960. Third revised edition 1973. ISBN 0-900435-11-9.
* [http://www.vflintham.demon.co.uk/aircraft/spit/spiteful.htm Spiteful Marks]
* [http://www.supermarine-spitfire.co.uk/the_spiteful.htm Spiteful]
* [http://tanks45.tripod.com/Jets45/Histories/Supermarine-Attacker/Attacker.htm Spiteful & E.10/44]
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Look at other dictionaries:
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