Aviation of World War II
Spitfire Mk. XIV
Supermarine Spitfire Mk.XIV of 610 Squadron in January 1944
SUPERMARINE SPITFIRE (Griffon, fighter) - Two prototypes ordered early-1940 to allow development of version of the Supermarine Spitfire powered by the Rolls-Royce Griffon, offering some 50% more power than 1940-standard Merlin for little increase in frontal area.
Supermarine Spitfire IV: Initial designation for two Griffon-engined prototypes defined by Specification F.4/41, developed in parallel with Supermarine Spitfire III (see earlier entry) with similar airframe features, as Supermarine Type 337. First aircraft (DP845) flown November 27, 1941, with Griffon IIB, four-bladed propeller, retractable tailwheel, and standard-span wing with slotted flaps. Redesignated Supermarine Spitfire XX early-1942 and then modified to Mk XII prototype. Second prototype (DP851) flown on August 8, 1942, as Mk XX (which see). Production order for 750 Supermarine Spitfire IVs placed August 1941, later cancelled.
Supermarine Spitfire F Mk XII: Interim Griffon-engined fighter for low-altitude operations, put into production pending availability of Mk XIV. Mk XX (DP845) flown as Mk XII prototype on April 10, 1942, with Griffon IIB, Mk VC armament, broad-chord, pointed, rudder; also flown with reduced-span wings and fixed tailwheel. Production (Supermarine Type 366) of 100 by Supermarine, with 1,735 hp Griffon III or Griffon IV; a few early aircraft flown with full-span wing and fixed tailwheel; reduced-span wing, retractable tailwheel were later standardised. Deliveries began late-1942; in service February 1943, used by Nos 41 and 91 Sqns until September 1944.
Max speed, 397 mph (639 km/h) at 17,800ft (5,425 m). Gross weight, 7,415 lb (3,363 kg). Span, 32 ft 7 in (9.93 m). Length, 30ft 9 in (9.37m).
Supermarine Spitfire XIV: Second Griffon-engined production variant, combining 2,035 hp two-stage, two-speed Griffon 65 with features of Mk VIII airframe. Development (Supermarine Types 369 and 373) based on six Supermarine Spitfire VIIIs fitted with various Griffon 60-series engines, flown during 1943. Initial (Supermarine Type 379) production configuration, Supermarine Spitfire F Mk XIV, featured full-span wing with 'C'-type armament of two 20-mm cannon and four 0.303-in (7.7-mm) machine guns; retractable tailwheel; enlarged fin-and-rudder; extra leading-edge fuel tank and structural improvements. The Supermarine Spitfire F Mk XIVE had 'E'-wing armament of two 20-mm cannon (outer bays) and two 0.50-in (12.7 mm) machine guns (inner bays); later aircraft, without change of designation, used cut-down rear fuselage with 360-deg vision canopy, requiring further enlargement of rudder chord and height. Supermarine Spitfire FR Mk XIV and Supermarine Spitfire FR Mk XIVE were fighter-reconnaissance versions with oblique F.24 camera and extra fuel tank in rear fuselage; all had 360-deg vision canopy. Production of all four Mk XIV variants totalled 957, by Supermarine. Deliveries began October 1943 and service use January 1944, with No 610 Sqn. F and FR variants operational in Europe up to end of war, some in fighter-bomber role with underwing rockets and/or bombs. Introduction into Far East theatre too late for wartime use.
Supermarine Spitfire XVIII: Fully productionised Griffon-Supermarine Spitfire, similar in general to F Mk XIVE with cut-down rear fuselage and enlarged rudder. Also featured lengthened fuselage (33 ft 3'/4 in/10.14 m); stronger wing and u/c, and additional fuel in rear fuselage. Production totalled 200 Supermarine Spitfire F Mk XVIII and 100 Supermarine Spitfire FR Mk XVIII, the latter with one oblique and two vertical cameras in rear fuselage. No prototype; first production aircraft flown June 1945 and in service too late for wartime use.
Supermarine Spitfire XX: Redesignation of Supermarine Spitfire IV first prototype (which see). Second prototype (DP851) first flown August 8, 1942, with Griffon IIB and full-span wing, plus structural changes leading towards Supermarine Spitfire 21.
Supermarine Spitfire 21: Major redesign (Super-marine Type 356) of basic Supermarine Spitfire, launched in 1942 to take full advantage of two-speed, two-stage Griffon engine variants. Supermarine Spitfire XX (DP851) modified to serve as preliminary prototype, first flown October 4, 1942, with Griffon 61; five-blad-ed propeller; extended-span, pointed-tip wings (as on Supermarine Spitfire VII); broad-chord rudder and revised canopy. Full Mk 21 prototype (PP139) flown on July 24, 1943, with modified wing planform to incorporate larger ailerons; more fuel in wing, increased u/c track and longer mainwheel oleo legs, and four 20-mm cannon armament. Name Victor provisionally adopted, but dropped before first production Supermarine Spitfire F Mk 21 flown on March 15, 1944, externally similar to PP139. The extended 'high-altitude' wing-tips were not used on subsequent production aircraft, a few of which had Griffon 85 engines with contra-props. Deliveries began early-1945 to equip No 91 Sqn, operational by April 1945. Production total, 120 by CBAF.
Max speed, 450 mph (724 km/h) at 19,600ft (5,975 m). Initial climb, 4,850 ft/min (24.79 ml sec). Service ceiling, 43,000 ft (13,105 m). Range (clean), 580 mis (933 km). Empty weight, 7,160 lb (3,247 kg).
Gross weight, 11,290 lb (5,121 kg). Span, 36ft 11 in (11.26 m). Length, 32 ft 11 in (10.04 m). Wing area, 243.6 sq ft (22.63 m2).
Supermarine Spitfire F Mk 22: Similar to Mk 21 but with cut-down rear fuselage, 360-deg vision hood and enlarged vertical and horizontal tail surfaces. One prototype (with Mk 21 tail unit) and 287 production aircraft, deliveries starting March 194? too late for wartime service.
Supermarine Spitfire 23: Intended variant based on Mk 22 with improved 'laminar flow' wing. Prototype wing development (Supermarine Type 372) using Griffon-engined Supermarine Spitfire VIII QG204), first flown January 1944, and Mk 21 prototype (PP139). Production plans cancelled.
Supermarine Spitfire F Mk 24: Post-war development of Mk 22.