Aviation of World War II

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Carrier-based fighter

Supermarine Seafire

By mid-1941, the British Admiralty was faced with the fact that there was no full-fledged fighter on the decks of British aircraft carriers - the Sea Hurricane had little chance against new modifications of the 109th Messer. However, transforming the Supermarine Spitfire into a full-fledged carrier-based fighter proved difficult. First, the Spitfire's design was much more extreme in strength and could not withstand landings at high vertical speeds. In addition, the chassis, unlike the Hurricane, had a narrow track, a low margin of safety and was not suitable for deck landings.

Operations at Humble redesigned in 1942 and the rest were modified at the Supermarine plant. About 140 Spitfires Mk V were redesigned and designated Sefire Mk IB *. An additional 48 new Mk IB Sifiers built Cunliffe-Owen Aircraft.

All Sefires Mk IB had a non-folding wing, clipped like on the Mk VB, and this type of wing was installed on all brands of converted Spitfires. Wing "B" was equipped with two 20-mm cannons and four 7.7-mm machine guns, while later appeared rare Mk ICs, which had four 20-mm guns, but the weight of heavy weapons and ammunition increased.

Following the Mk IB, they released 372 Sefire Mk IIС, similar to the previous brands, but using the C wing and installing catapult stops. This version was built in two versions: by Supermarine (262) as F.Mk IIC and by Westland as L.Mk IIC, later released a version for low altitudes. The LR.Mk IIС sub-variant carried the F.24 camera for reconnaissance.

The Seafire Mk IIC began delivery in June 1942, when 12 aircraft entered Squadron 807. They, along with the Seafires, which entered the 801st squadron in September, were relocated in February 1943 to the aircraft carrier Furious, which took part in the Allied offensive in North Africa in November 1942. By the end of 1942 six squadrons received "Seifiers", among them: 808th, 880th, 884th and 887th. During 1943, the 809th, 886th, 894th, 895th, 897th and 899th squadrons were re-equipped, while the 833th, 834th, 842th and 879th squadrons, operating from escort aircraft carriers, limited to six "Seafires" each.

The next variant, the Sefire Mk III, had a manually folded wing, fixed above the cannon mount and with tips folded down. This made it possible to use the aircraft carrier lift for the Seafires and made it more convenient to place them on the deck. The Sefire Mk III prototype was converted from the Mk IIC, and under the new brand it was put into production in 1943, a total of 1220 units were produced. from November 1943 to July 1945: 870 machines by Westland and 350 by Cunliff-Owen.

The Seafire Mk III was built in three versions: a fighter (F.Mk III), a low-altitude fighter (L. Mk III) and a low-altitude reconnaissance (LR. Mk III), the latter had vertical and panoramic aerial cameras, as on LR. Mk IIC, a 136-liter jettisonable outboard fuel tank under the fuselage increased the range from 748 to 1167 km.

A large number of Sifires took part in operations in the Mediterranean.

* - originally the marine Spitfire had the name Sea Spitfire, but this name did not catch on in favor of the more euphonious Seafire - Seafire.

Crew 1
Wing span, m 11.18 11.26
Wing area, m² 22.48 22.66
Length, m 9.14 10.46
Height, m 3.40 3.88
Engine Rolls Royce 1 PE Merlin 55 1 PE Griffon 88
Power, h.p. 1 x 1470 1 x 2350
Weight, kg:
Empty 2,449 3,938
Gross weight 3,221 5,730
Maximum speed, km/h 565 760
Service ceiling, m 10,300 13,135
Service range, kmм 748 (1167 с баками) 1,515
Armaments 2x20 mm cannons,
4x7.7 mm machine guns
4x20 mm cannons

Seafire Mk.47

With an increase in engine power with a narrow chassis track, the tendency for the aircraft to move to the right increased as a reaction of the uncompensated torque from the rotation of the propeller. The designers saw the solution to this issue in the installation of two propellers with opposite rotation.

At the beginning of 1947, the most powerful of all the Sefire was launched into a series called the Sefire Mk.47 (see photo at the top of the page). The engine "Griffon 88" with direct injection, with a capacity of 2350 hp, rotated two coaxial three-blade propellers of opposite rotation through a small planetary gearbox. The aircraft had a hydraulically folding wing, under the console of which fuel tanks could be suspended. The landing gear struts have been reinforced once again, and the shock absorber stroke has been increased. The landing gear had to be made convex, since the strut together with the wheel protruded somewhat beyond the contour of the thin-profile wing. The flaps deflected at a smaller angle than its predecessors, but had a larger area.

In June 1950, the Korean War broke out, and the aircraft carrier Triumph was immediately sent to the western coast of the Korean Peninsula. On board there were 12 "Seafires" Mk.47. On September 2, as replacements and replenishment, 14 more aircraft of this type were received from the Yunkorn air transport. The losses amounted to only 2 aircraft: one was shot down by an American "Superfortress" by mistake, and the other sank after the brake hook was not released during landing. Another 15 Sifires were written off due to serious landing accidents caused by a small track of the chassis. These vehicles either had serious damage to the wings, or broke the landing gear struts, or were bonded in the emergency barrier and broke the propellers. Six more Sifires were suspended from flights because of the curved tail booms. Thus, for eleven weeks of combat work, the fighter wing of an aircraft carrier, without suffering a single loss in a real battle, not gaining a single victory, not counting two sunken motorcycle jons, actually ceased to exist.

Photo Description
Drawing Seafire Mk.47

Drawing Seafire Mk.47.

'Seafire' Mk IIС, serial number MB240 "Seafire" Mk IIС, serial number MB240 , which flew in 880th Squadron from the aircraft carrier "Indomitable" (Indomitable) in March 1943. During the formation of "Group H" with British aircraft carriers "Formidable "(Formidable, Grozny)," Indomiteable "carried 28 Mk IIС from the 880th and 899th squadrons and 12 LMk IIС from the 807th squadron during Operation Husky (invasion of Sicily).
Seafire F.Mk III After conversion from the LMk IIС, serial number MA970 , it became the prototype F.Mk III, the main improvement was the installation of a folding wing (manually), providing a more compact placement on board aircraft carriers. A four-blade propeller was installed to better utilize the power of the Rolls-Royce Merlin 55 engine.
Sefire Mk IIC Sefire Mk IIC take off from the British aircraft carrier Indomiteble , during the operation in the Mediterranean, the launch vehicle was deflected to counteract the turning moment from the rotation of the Merlin engine explosives.


  • Carrier-based fighters of the Second World War/ Ivan Kudishin /
  • Encyclopedia of military engineering /Aerospace Publising/
  • British warplanes of World War II /under cor. Daniel March/